One of the first changes that Neil was keen to make when he took up the reigns at CPS was to introduce residential trips to all year groups.  In a previous life, he and I (Mrs Brooks) ran an educational residential centre in Dorset.  We both saw first-hand how transformational such trips can be, teaching children of all ages valuable life skills such as the importance of team work, resilience, communication skills and coping with being pushed out of their comfort zones (albeit with thorough Risk Assessments in place!).

Just before Michaelmas half term in 2019, Form 1 set off to High Ashurst, in Dorking, Form 2 headed to Cobnor, down in Chichester and Form 3 experienced the Downe Centre in Bigin Hill.  All returned from their respective trips muddy, exhausted and full of tales of adventure and fun.

Form 4 were due to enjoy their first residential trip too, to PGL at Marchants Hill in March 2020.  Then Covid hit and all educational residential centres across the UK were closed for over 16 months.  This meant that Form 5 have missed out on their Humanities trip to York for 2 years now and the 2020 cohort of leavers were unable to enjoy their traditional rite of passage to Cornwall for the Leavers Trip.

Covid restrictions began lifting cautiously in Michaelmas 2020 but overnight educational residential stays were still not permitted. Forms 1-4, however were able to spend a day at High Ashurst and PGL Marchants Hill to enjoy some of the exciting outdoor activities both centres have on offer – climbing, abseiling and ‘the giant swing’ being some of the many highlights.

A heart-breaking consequence of the financial impact of the Pandemic was that the residential centre in Cornwall that CPS pupils had visited for 19 years was forced to close.  The 2021 Leavers were therefore the first-year group to head to Swanage for their Leavers Trip.  A great week ‘glamping’ in beautiful Purbeck was had by all and coasteering replaced surfing as the new extreme experience.

It is so exciting to be able to run residential trips again this academic year.  Forms 1 and 2 returned to High Ashurst and Cobnor respectively before Michaelmas half term.  At the same time, the Form 3 children headed to Bruton in Somerset to the absolutely idyllic Mill on the Brue, to enjoy all that this family run centre have to offer.  Finally Form 4 will get to have 2 nights away at PGL Marchants Hill this term and York beckons our Form 5s once again in May for their Humanities trip.