College shows kids the great outdoors

Otley College furthered its reputation as a sports specialist recently with a packed programme of activities during their annual Outdoor Education Week.

Stuart Watson

Otley College furthered its reputation as a sports specialist recently with a packed programme of activities during their annual Outdoor Education Week.

Pupils from around 15 primary and high schools visited the college over the course of the week to take part in sessions such as archery, climbing and a mini-Olympics event.

Youngsters also learnt some survival skills in the colleges wooded area that is managed by countryside management learners and undertook team building and problem solving tasks.

All activities were run by students on Outdoor Education national and first diploma courses at the college.

Sports teacher at the college Lynsey Wilson said: “Learning outside the classroom should be at the heart of every school's curriculum and ethos.

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“Not everyone excels in the classroom, sometimes you need to go out into other learning environments for people to progress.

“Educational visits can help bring learning to life by deepening young people's understanding of new subjects and improving their personal development. This week is becoming a popular date in our annual college calendar.”

Although Otley College is best known for its agricultural courses, it is fast becoming known for its growing number of sports courses and improving facilities.

The college is currently midway through a major sports investment programme that will see a variety of new facilities, including cricket pitches and pavilion, a gym, rugby and football fields, changing room facilities and an outdoor education training circuit.

The outdoor education programme is the only one of its kind in the region, allowing students to experience rock climbing, canoeing, windsurfing, paintballing and sailing.

Last years students on the Outdoor Education courses went on a trip to France where they canoed through parts of the Ardeche, while this June, staff and students will row across Scotland's Loch Ness and back.

Wilson said: “The courses we offer form the initial steps that you take before going on to a further or higher education sports related course.

“These could be the first steps you take before going on to become a personal trainer or sports coach.

“We are now hoping to go out to as many schools in the local area as possible and tell them what is on offer here.”

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