Views From Our Study – Summer Term

Welcome to the summer term and to the warmer weather we’re enjoying – what a difference a month makes! We hope you enjoyed the Easter break.

You have hopefully read the letter from Mrs Boulter about all the exciting upcoming initiatives we have been developing:
• The introduction of timetabled ‘Learning to Learn’ lessons in year 7.
• Study skills workshops run by external visitors for years 8 through to sixth form.
• ‘How to Revise’ PSHE lessons for years 8 through 10.
• A new GCSE option, ‘Active Learning’, from 2018 onwards.
• Study Skills club for years 9 through 10.

We would also like to issue a warm welcome to Miss Lay and Mrs Thornton. Miss Lay is joining the English department for the summer term and Mrs Thornton will be covering Mrs Gilbertson’s maternity leave in the classics department.

Although there isn’t much to report from our first week back, as staff and students settle back in to the rhythm of things, we have an extensive ski trip report from Miss Minto in the P.E. department!

Ski Trip 2018

As a change from the normal routine of skiing in America over the Easter break, we decided that this year we would give Canada a try. And so, 40 students and 5 staff headed to Marmot Basin resort, Jasper, in the Canadian Rockies to experience some of the most stunning scenery in the World. Marmot Basin is a UNESCO protected mountain so the views from the top of the lifts were absolutely beautiful. It was the perfect resort for the diverse range of abilities of students (and staff!) on the trip.

There was a green run off every lift meaning that the beginner group could still access the entire mountain once they’d got their bearings. Meanwhile those in the advanced group were able to test out the double diamond gravity defying runs into the large snow bowls. The tree routes between the pistes proved to be a source of endless entertainment.

Ski Trip 2018 - 1

Ski Trip 2018 - 2

Ski Trip 2018 - 14

Ski Trip 2018 - 40

Ski Trip 2018 - 42

To add an element of extended learning on the trip we visited the Marmot Learning Centre to learn about the species at risk around the mountain. It was fascinating to discover the damage that the pine beetle was causing to the forests around the ski resort. We also learnt about the endangered Caribou population and how it’s predator, the Wolf, was enjoying a fruitful time on the mountain. Some of us were able to hold a Caribou horn, they’re very heavy, but then again you would expect that given that a Caribou stands at approximately 1.5m! Of course, our visit to the centre wouldn’t have been complete without discussing the local bear population. While the majority of the bears live away from the slopes once the snow starts to clear there is a female grizzly who roams the slopes – thankfully she was still hibernating while we were there!

The ski instructors were as enthusiastic as ever. It was unusual to have two English instructors as part of this year’s bunch. Emily and Henry took care of the beginner and lower intermediate groups. Cam took the beginner plus group, Glyn took the advanced group and Zac, the ladies favourite, took the upper intermediate group. Zac is a freestyle skier and proudly showed off his gnarly skills to entertain the girls.

After a busy day on the slopes we ventured out for some après-ski activities including trips to the town, swimming and jacuzzi sessions at the hotel pool, a Canyon Ice-Walk, a trip to the Jasper Arena to watch an Ice-Hockey tournament and an awards night. The Ice Walk was great fun; we saw some amazing frozen waterfalls and were able to climb, slide (and eat) the frozen features. Our guides were really informative and taught us about the limestone sediment that makes the river a turquoise colour, the Aspen tree that grows back stronger when it breaks and pointed out bear claw marks on trees where our friendly locals had once roamed. The Ice-Hockey tournament was fantastic. We sat with some of the parents of those playing and got a quick insight into the rules and supported their son’s teams. The tournament was for those born in 2006 but you wouldn’t have known that they were only 12 given the quick paced, fierce and aggressive matches that took place. We were all amazed at their ability and took great pride in supporting the North Sask. Selects as they took on the Grande Prairie Storm. The Selects won 9-4 and relished in our support and cheering.

After our busy skiing ventures, we headed to Edmonton, a four hour drive away, to visit the WEM (West Edmonton Mall). This is no ordinary mall. It was huge. It had a theme park, water park and countless shops inside it. Thankfully we were well prepared with our maps so could work out which shops we wanted to visit, otherwise we would’ve been walking around for days! The waterpark was excellent, it had rides and activities for all, from the wave machine to the jacuzzi pool and for the more daring among us, the extreme gravity slide which you stand on a step with your arms and legs crossed, then the floor disappears and you fly down into a loop-the-loop at some ridiculous speed. Not for the faint hearted! After our shopping fest on the final day we headed to the airport with far too many new items but knowing that we’d had a brilliant trip.

We only have 11 months until the next trip – we can’t wait!

Further information on the 2019 trip will be published in due course. Where will we go next year?!

A full gallery of images is available here.

We’re looking forward to an exciting term, jam-packed with events. Follow our school calendar to see what we have planned!

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