Students enjoy a breath of fresh air

GREAT OUTDOORS: Children from The Durham Free School enjoying a residential trip.

GREAT OUTDOORS: Children from The Durham Free School enjoying a residential trip.

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YOUNGSTERS from a Durham school escaped to the country for a residential field trip.

Children from The Durham Free School headed off to the Yorkshire Dales for an annual school trip.

It was wonderful for the children to get out into the great outdoors and experience a very different environment to the one they’re used to.

Deputy headteacher Julie Normanton

They spent two nights at Grinton Lodge youth hostel, which was the first time away from home for several children.

As well as a host of team building exercises, including taking part in a talent show and a fashion show with clothes made out of newspaper, the Year 7 pupils completed two walks in and around Reeth.

They also went swimming and did building functions fieldwork in Richmond.

The trip incorporated aspects of the curriculum including geography, history, art, communications and leadership, as well as the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

One of the youngsters, Jamie Hurton, 11, said: “I’d never been there before. It was really cool and old and there were lots of hills and stone walls.

“We climbed some of the hills on walks. It was a really good trip.”

Back in Durham, Year 8 students also enjoyed three days of activities including a trip to Beamish Museum, a World War Two project day and a science, technology and engineering day building robots.

Deputy headteacher at the Gilesgate school and trip leader, Julie Normanton, said: “It was wonderful for the children to get out into the great outdoors and experience a very different environment to the one they’re used to.

“They ate and slept very well and gained much from the activities that we and the youth hostel organised for them.

“Many of them had some understanding of what was going on to save the school, they’re a strong group of young people and the field trip experience supported that, as well as being a valuable educational exercise.”

The Durham Free School has been in a wrangle over plans to pull its funding and last week it was announced it will close at Easter.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said she does not believe that the trust running the school has shown enough evidence that it can bring about improvements following a highly critical Ofsted report.

Staff and parents from the school have been fighting the planned closure and have sought legal advice.