At Bloxham we recognise the considerable value derived from placing a child outside their natural comfort zone to help build resilience, self-awareness, tenacity and teamwork. We use outdoor education to support this style of learning and development.
All Bloxham pupils take part in outdoor engagement activities at some stage in their school career and we offer a wide variety of outdoor learning opportunities.
Pupils are expected to participate in two expeditions in Third Form, and there are opportunities for climbing, kayaking, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Expeditions to wild areas of the UK, Europe and further field.
There is a dedicated five metre climbing wall in the Dewey Sports Centre which is used for broader curriculum teaching sessions, with regular trips out to local commercial walls using our dedicated school climbing instructors. The swimming pool has a fleet of kayaks to learn water skills in safety, and we also have a fleet of stand up paddle boards and sailing boats which are used for clubs and training during the warmer times of the year.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
The longstanding and prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is popular at Bloxham. Our students join the 275,000 young people who take part in the Award each year to broaden their horizons. Bloxham successfully runs groups for Bronze and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards with challenging expeditions to North Devon, the Brecons and the Lake District.
There are three separate Duke of Edinburgh Awards which can be achieved: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each has a different starting age (Bronze, age 14+, Third Form; Silver, age 15+, Fourth Form; Gold, age 16+, Sixth Form) and period of participation. For both awards there are four sections:
- Service – to encourage service to individuals and the community
- Skills – to encourage the discovery and development of personal interests and social and practical skills
- Physical recreation – to encourage participation and improvement in physical activity
- Expeditions – to encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery
With over 160 students participating in the scheme, Bloxham is one of the largest school providers in Oxfordshire and we are very proud of the students who get presented with their Gold Awards at a royal ceremony each year.
Combined Cadet Force
The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is a national organisation which exists primarily in schools to give its members exposure to military activities, adventure and leadership training, within the safety of a formal and controlled environment.
Within this context Bloxham CCF aims to develop a young person’s leadership skills, promote team spirit and qualities of responsibility, resourcefulness, self-reliance and a sense of service to the school.
CCF at Bloxham attracts three quarters of the Third Form, who are the first year group eligible to join. A good number go on to try one of the many activity choices available to the Fourth Form and above, thus developing their leadership qualities and skills further.
Those who show commitment, enthusiasm and skill soon progress through the ranks, enjoying the kind of responsibility that is not routinely known to pupils. They command sections, teach lessons and on camp or on exercise lead by example, as they guide and teach the junior cadets how to administer and look after themselves and foster their team/section spirit. With responsibility of rank, they mature and become very useful members of the Contingent and indeed, the school.
As well as opportunities for curricular climbing, kayaking, sailing and bush craft activities, Bloxham offers exciting overseas trips including climbing in the Swiss Alps, the Second Form French Alps trip and skiing in Italy.
These activities are all specifically designed to challenge pupils to build upon their strengths, recognise their limitations and develop their potential. Placing students in a different context from one in which they normally find themselves is a powerful learning tool.
The learning that comes from outdoor education is not just acquisition of new knowledge, skills and information but a deeper level of personal understanding that becomes embodied within individuals.