Posted: Thu 20th Oct 2016

Every Visitor Has A Storey To Tell At Outdoor Education Centre /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

Each year, hundreds of Cardiff’s children and young people get to experience the thrill that comes from conquering the life-changing outdoor experiences on offer at Storey Arms. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Last month the outdoor educational centre, set in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, welcomed Year 7 pupils from Eastern High for the second year running. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Planned with Eastern High’s English and Physical Education departments, the school’s Storey Arms visits have been tailored to help develop the children’s creative writing skills, using the whole outdoor experience to inspire descriptive writing. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Following the success of their 2015 visit, Headteacher Armando Di Finizio and his staff had no hesitation in doubling the length of the pupil’s stay this time round. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Commenting on the school’s burgeoning links with Storey Arms, Mr Di Finizio said: “Last year we were testing the waters a little bit to see how the children took to Storey Arms’ outdoor challenges. After the resounding success of the school’s 2015 visit, arranging a longer stay this year was the obvious next step. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The children benefit from their Storey Arms experience enormously. The physical challenge, the weather, natural beauty and team work all make for some outstanding creative writing. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Plus, last year we saw the positives continue when the children returned to school. Attainment levels in English improved across Year 7 and we saw a really positive energy and appetite for learning amongst the children after visiting Storey Arms.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

During this year’s trip the children from Eastern High once again reached the summit of Pen-y-Fan, south Wales’ highest peak. They also pitted their wits and stamina against the elements during the Night Walk exercise, which requires considerable team work and determination. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Andrew Meek, Head of Centre at Storey Arms described the experience: “Seeing the children’s smiling faces after they completed the Night Walk was priceless. The imaginative way they described the experience was amazing and I saw a noticeable increase in their self-esteem. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“A residential stay at Storey Arms offers its own challenges. Not only do the children and young people need to look after themselves away from home, but they need to help their friends and play a part in the domestic life of the centre. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Storey Arms has been welcoming Cardiff’s pupils since 1971. In my time at the centre I have seen hundreds come through the doors, and to this day I still enjoy seeing the positive effect a stay at the centre has on the city’s children and young people.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cabinet Member for Skills, Safety and Engagement, Cllr Dan De’Ath said: “Storey Arms has played an important role in the lives of successive generations of Cardiff pupils who have visited the outdoor education centre over the past 45 years. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“As well as improving health and wellbeing, outdoor learning is beneficial in terms of improving self-confidence, team working and social interaction. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“These are all extremely valuable life skills that prove useful for the children and young people, not only for their time in school, but also for when the time comes for them to go on to further education, training and employment.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On day two, the intrepid Eastern High visitors took on the Adventure Gorge Walk. They were put through their paces by the centre’s fully trained instructors, climbing waterfalls, crossing rock faces and plunging into mountain pools – a great way to put their new levels of self-confidence and team work into practice. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Their visit was jointly funded by the Friends of Storey Arms, St Mellons Rotary Club, fundraising events held by Eastern High and Willmott Dixon, the contractors building the new Eastern High in Trowbridge. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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