Year 7 at Ghyll Head

As per Withington tradition, new Third Form students visited Ghyll Head Outdoor Education Centre for a three-day residential trip in September. The aim of the trip is for girls to get to know each other, form new friendships and work together in teams. They also get to know their Form Tutors, Shadow Form Tutors and Sixth Form Peer Supporters. The setting of the enchanting old house in the beautiful Lake District is an added bonus!

The centre is set in large woodlands, with a short walk to a breathtaking view of Lake Windermere. The Third Form travelled in two groups (Herford and Scott together, followed by Lejeune and Simon), and both groups enjoyed an evening walk to the viewpoint. The surrounding area also provided the setting for some of our other activities. The gardens and grounds of the house allowed girls to take part in team-building challenges on arrival, including a competitive orienteering challenge, climbing wall, a low ropes course and the zip wire. These activities saw some girls overcoming fears and it was wonderful to see girls supporting and encouraging each other. The zip wire remains one of the most popular activities at Ghyll Head, and flying down it certainly gets the heart racing! In addition, our outdoor challenges included Ghyll scrambling and canoeing.

Sixth Form Peer Supporters join the Third Form on these trips, and they organised one of the night’s activities. The first group were treated to a fantastic Drama Improvisation challenge, and the end results were very entertaining! The second group led the nightline, in which the girls negotiated the path through the pitch-dark woodland in small groups, guided by a rope to show them the way through the trees!

It is also part of the routine of Ghyll Head that students take responsibility for some of the duties, and so the groups took it in turns to clean up after meal times, or set the tables for the next meal. As a treat for their hard work, the Peer Supporters make the girls toast and hot chocolate before bedtime.

Every one of these new starters in the Withington Senior School rose exceptionally well to the challenges that the various activities posed, and it was brilliant to see the girls step outside their comfort zone and try new things. We are extremely grateful to the Sixth Form Peer Supporters, who helped to make the trips unforgettable for the Third Form. We are equally thankful to our team of Third Form Tutors and Shadows, who also threw themselves into the activities and challenges with as much excitement as the girls!

We hope that this trip will give the girls lasting memories and friendships, and that Ghyll Head 2018 helped the girls to feel settled with their new peers.

Mrs J Johnston, Head of Third Form  and Miss D Bruce, Assistant Head of Third Form