Norfolk Lakes 2019

Norfolk Lakes 2019

News from Y5/Y6

Friday morning

Bye bye Norfolk Lakes!

Morning all. We have now packed, leaving only 5 odd black socks and one towel unclaimed. Prizes for the following: last minute packer – Olivia; ability to leave one shoe whilst having the other packed sticking out – Oscar; ability to identify other people’s socks- Jayden; ability to forget what clothes he owns – Harry D; most organised packers – Sam, Jayden and Harry L (who even packed his PJs last night and slept in today’s clothes); most strewn possessions – Olivia; the one who said ‘ah, that’s mine’ the most – Evie; the most punctual packer – Ollie; the bag that needed a teacher to zip up due to its bulging state – Scarlett.

We have now started the morning activities – Caving for both, with Climbing and Problem Solving as the other two. See you later this afternoon. Hoping for a 3pm return.

We have definitely worn everyone out…

Thursday afternoon

So, this morning Group 11 had rifles. The instructor was the same as the one who had tipped Henry and Gyllis into the water at the end of Canoeing after Henry kept standing up in his canoe. The banter between the instructors and children is great, and they have a good rapport with the children.

Olivia won the girls’ competition and Henry and Sawyer won the boys’ with Gyllis, Henry and Sawyer winning the team round.

Both teams completed the Orienteering which was fun and really good for wearing the children out completely. Eva, Bethan, Leah and Evie won a round, Oliver, Isaac and Harry D won another, running constantly until they were all red in the cheeks. Group 11 weren’t so enamoured. It took a while to motivate them so Ms S bribed them with a biscuit and a cup of tea for the winners, but unfortunately supplies have not been replenished so they are still waiting. They had to find the answer to riddles or questions and get the correct stamps collected. One question was, ‘Where do eggs come from?’ and because the girls couldn’t work out the answer, Gyllis informed them that it was ‘ovary’, which fitted the grid so the girls stamped that (the answer was in fact ‘birds’). So, a little bit of biology there…

Lunch was pizza or fajitas or chicken with chips, salad or ravioli. The sun broke through ready for an afternoon on the lakes.

First was ‘giant stand-up paddle boarding’ (GSUP). There was a ‘dry board’, a ‘medium’ wet board, and a ‘drenched’ board. Children chose which board they wanted to go on and with the three instructors, floated up the lake, transferring Oliver on the way to the drenched board. This manoeuvre was deemed as ‘more complicated than Brexit,’ by Sam. The first game involved putting parts of body in the water but soon it turned into a dismount competition, with back flips, silly-salmon launches, dives and front flips into the water – once again Mr Woodward exceeded expectations with a ballet display. Next came a race around the lake. Ms S. looked on for photo purposes and chuckled at the sound of screaming and giggling and accompanying chortling from the adults. The hour and a half whizzed past and then next came raft building. To keep the children warm, the instructors made them exercise and run around a bit before they had to work out how to put together barrels for a raft. Group 10 were fab. Until group 11 knew this, they weren’t working well as a team at all. Then the idea of competition jump-started them. Both teams managed a paddle around the lake but Group 11 lost several members, leaving the more sensible ones on board to keep dry and bring it home. Both teachers marvelled at the resilience of some children who never stopped working hard despite the cold. Other children jumped into the water at the end, despite being very unsure at the beginning.

Now we have Video and Low Ropes. The children are really tiring and we have had a few squabbles but they have worked through them and they move on well. In fact, I am really impressed with how well they’ve coped with the independence and self-organisation. One more night, and it’s basically over. The children will be ready, I think – will you be ready for their suitcases though…?


Morning all. Another good night’s sleep. Some of the children were disturbed by the new children who were on their first night, so we had to remind them that they were also very excited on theirs! Children are wearing out gradually and this lot preferred to tell each other stories then ‘go out there,’ in the misty damp…


Today has been very varied and full (like Mr Woodward’s tummy).

Both groups completed the obstacle course which was a mixture of challenge, teamwork and laughs. The instructors varied the task in-hand by asking the children to be a little silly, for example, to be a pirate, or dance on balancing logs, or sound like Tarzan when swinging on the rope. Jayden had the most sassiest of moves whilst walking the tyres and Ollie’s rendition of Pirates of the Caribbean was convincing. This was very funny.

Group 11 also completed the low ropes which had a similar theme of team work and challenge, whilst Group 10 completed the climbing wall – Henry and Harry-Lloyd managed to reach the very top but others found it a little too scary. They all gave their best efforts.

This afternoon the whole group – including teachers – were out on the water in the canoes. We were very lucky that the wind was low enough that we could paddle around the whole lake (which is a lot bigger than the pictures show), playing various games, including cat and mouse and torpedo which was very competitive. Oliver drew the short straw this time and landed with Mr W but they proved to be a winning force. At times, the children disagreed or argued about something (direction, who’s paddling when / how) but had no choice to work through these by the simple fact that they were on a boat together on a lake. It was good to see them work through it.

Towards the end, the canoes were put together to form ‘rafts’ and the children worked together to paddle against the breeze back again – co-operation at its best. We spent 2 1/2 hours out there and we’ve caught the sun, which shone off the water. The wildlife surrounding us was wonderful – coots, ducks, herons, swans, moorhens – they even have a great crested grebe chick in the bull rushes.Mr W has declared that he prefers canoeing to the sailing, and quite a few children agreed with him.

We returned back to the block to find that another school had arrived which has ruffled a few feathers as we have had the entire side to ourselves. Another example of how the children are having to learn to deal with new situations. The boys quickly got down to a game of football. The girls tentatively waved at each other and became all giggly.
Supper was roast chicken or gammon, with veg and Yorkshire pudding.

Tonight one group had the video session and dressed up in all sorts of peculiar gear (Sam loved the very colourful wig), so they could play being a Rastafarian (Oscar), a dodgy unicorn-dog thing (Thomas), and other wonderful things in order to create a short film in a chosen genre. They were videoed and then watched themselves and laughed a lot. The other group had Rifles which requires a steady hand and some strength. Harry D gained the most points but all hit the target more than once.

Our evening meeting was quick and easy – the children are well established into their routine and our settling in well into bedtime. They have lost all of that nervous energy they arrived with and are at ease with the whole set-up. Some letters arrived from parents so that was a hit. Here’s to our final full day!

Morning TV watching in Ms S’s room- You’ve Been Framed. Some of the noisier boys are still asleep, but great sleeps all round (they were woken up for breakfast)!

Tuesday evening

Well, we’ve done our first complete day. We had curry or stew for dinner which divided the children somewhat. Some children haven’t eaten quite as much as they would have liked to, but could resort to fruit if they were still hungry. Breakfast is a fry-up every morning, with cereal and toast, so they’ll soon make up for it.

The Egg Heads was popular – never have I watched it with so much excitement in the room. There was cheering and chanting and with the win, a huge celebration ensued that included dancing.

Our evening activity was games in the main hall which was a lot of fun. After much running around and laughter, us teachers felt sleeping lions should calm the children down, so with the children lying on their backs with their eyes open, the task was to make them move/laugh. I think we all appreciated Mr Woodward’s ballet and it caught a few out. Another memory provided by our newest member of staff.

The children are definitely a lot tireder now but they’ve had a great day.

Tuesday afternoon

Hello all. I am writing this in a teacher’s apartment with the children watching Egg Heads…Eva’s grandad is on it along with other Shotley villagers from Shotley Open Spaces and not doing too badly…

We spent a wonderful morning on the largest lake – the sun even came out – sailing ‘fun’ boats in threes. Just before we boarded, Sawyers tooth fell out so that was kept safe. Harry D drew the short straw and shared a boat with Mr Woodward and Ms Sterling. This meant it was the heaviest boat but it had the advantage of some sailing experience. However, the wind was only just strong enough to sail in, and with no centre board or hardly a keel, manoeuvrability was limited which led to some very funny situations (not exactly crashes but there was quite a lot of shoving and pushing).The instructors then added balls to catch as treasure and things got competitive. Soon people were on the bows reaching for the ball, some even sliding in (Thomas and Katie) and Mr Woodward got stuck on the bow, clinging on to the mast for support as he realised his predicament. Everyone sailed around the lake for over 2 hours, overcoming any fears they had (Evie wasn’t at ALL sure), and got quite wet and ultimately cold. Still, didn’t stop Sam, Oscar and Harry Lloyd collecting as many of the balls during the next game of dodgeball where the aim was to hit the sail of another boat with a ball. Several boats were rescued, including the teachers, from the trees (Mr Woodward still can’t believe Ms Sterling can sail). Eventually, we all came ashore and packed up the sails, with cold feet, shivering and pining for the hot showers. Lunch was welcome – soup, sausage rolls, pasties and filled rolls, but it was a good morning.

Fencing for Group 11 resulted in an overall winner – Issy. She was very good on the attack, beating the boys in the group. They learned about parrying, and when to say touché!

Group 10 did their session of volleyball – but it does feel like that fatigue is starting to settle in!

Both groups completed the blind trail. This involved wearing blacked-out goggles and as a team, tell each other what is coming up in order to progress towards and around the course. Teamwork whilst listening : teachers approved of this one! Mr Woodward felt his group’s communication could improve after being told that ‘there’s a tunnel’ by Edward when in fact he was already halfway through it. Ms Sterling was amused with several attempts that Henry needed to walk straight after walking into walls of a tunnel several times, each time telling us all, ‘that’s not a rope… ‘ – helpful. It was a worthwhile activity as all children could see how our senses compensate, and how communicating clearly is helpful. And they enjoyed it.

Tuesday morning

Morning everyone.

We have had a good nights sleep overall…

The girls managed 9.30pm to 6ish – Ms Sterling has had a good 7 hours sleep, and the Year 6 boys managed 10pm – 5am, but the Year 5 boys fared less well with things going quiet at about midnight. However, this is still a record in my experience.

This morning, we all have sailing for 2 sessions. But first, we are due a cooked breakfast, cereal and toast which the children cannot wait for!

Weather is looking good, and the views are amazing. We are settled right beside a SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Importance) and we hope to spy a range of wildlife on the lakes today.

More updates tonight.


Hello everyone!

We arrived after a smooth journey and immediately the children were whisked off on a tour, given half an hour and were taken straight into their first activities. Both groups have had archery today, whilst Group 11 had volleyball, and Group 10 had team challenges with problem solving. What’s nice is many of the staff from last time are here, and the instructors are great with the children.

Dinner was yummy (Henry gave it 5/5) and many children chose cumberland sausage with mash, veg and gravy.

The rooms have quickly filled with stuff everywhere – new one for me are fairy lights in one of the girls’ dorms but others are already very messy! Much time was spent running around the block, in and out, or out playing football.

We’ve had a team pow wow about the day so far: lots of smiles and cheerful faces. Surprisingly, many have said that they cannot wait to go to sleep. There was no encouragement needed to get ready for bed – let’s see if they can actually go to sleep.

Opposite are a few photos so far – there will be more to come tomorrow so apologies if I haven’t got your child in so far.

Night night all.