Blackland Farm - Year 6 Residential trip
All the necessary printable documents are attached at the bottom of this page.
Blackland Farm - A Life Experience
We would like all the Year 6 children to attend the ever popular Year 6 residential school trip. This trip, during the last year of primary school, is an extremely valuable life experience. The children thoroughly enjoy their time and come away with memories that will stay with them forever. The children learn a tremendous amount about themselves; they will develop confidence, determination, self-esteem, trust and collaborative skills. For some, it will be the first time away from home without other family members. Year 6 is an ideal time for this type of school visit as the children are supported by friends and staff that they have known for some time.
The Site and Accommodation
‘Blackland Farm’ is actually an outward bound activity centre and large campsite, which is a location used by the Guide Association. It is situated two miles south of East Grinstead, in West Sussex and hence is an ideal location, not too far away from Sevenoaks, but far enough to feel ‘away from home’.
The trip usually runs for four days with three nights sleeping in indoor accommodation in dormitories on location at Blackland Farm. The children sleep in bunk-beds and supply their own duvets or sleeping bags. All the girls share one dormitory with an adjacent room for female members of staff and the boys sleep in another dormitory, in a separate building, also with adjacent rooms for male staff. Both buildings also house ‘bathrooms’ with several toilets and showers.
All meals are eaten together in the larger building within the accommodation. They are provided by a local school meals service, so are produced by qualified staff and are hot, nutritious and enjoyable. A ‘packed-lunch’ style meal is provided at midday, except for the first day of each course (when the children need to bring their own food for lunchtime). If the weather is cool, soup and bread are made available. Pupils have access to drinks all day and may bring snacks from home or purchase some on site from the tuck shop.
This outward bound course is run by the ‘Trekking Company’. The Trekking Company is run by two ex-teachers and is now one of the largest providers of Outdoor and Adventurous Activities for schools in the southeast. The company is a fully licensed provider under the Outdoor Activity Centres (Young Persons’ Safety) Act 1995 and the staff are fully qualified with National Governing Body Awards. The company website will give further information about the organisation, the activities, accommodation, staff and the courses run. You are also able to see a wide range of photos in their gallery and video clips of some of the activities available.
Outward Bound Activities
The children are divided into groups of 10 – 12 for the activities. Qualified staff from the company run and man the activities and are also supported by two members of staff from school. Within reason, the activities will take place in all weathers. Below are some of the activities available. The children are always encouraged to have a go at an activity but are never forced to participate in something with which they are not comfortable.
Some of the activities include: orienteering; canoeing, rock scrambling; archery, swimming; various highwire activities; indoor wall climbing, 'All Aboard', 'Leap of Faith', tree-climb, and wide games.
Outline of a Day’s Events
• The children usually wake up between 7.00 and 8.00 in the morning (later towards the latter part of the week)
• Breakfast and washing up between 8.30 and 9.30am
• Activity One (in groups): 10.00 -12pm
• Packed lunch (as a year group) back in the accommodation and washing up 12.00 - 1pm
• Activity Two (in groups): 1.00 - 3.00pm
• Activity Three (in groups): 4.00 - 6.00pm
• Activity Four (as a year group): 6.00 - 7.00pm (usually swimming)
• Dinner and washing up (as a year group) at approximately 7.20pm
• Activity Five (as year group/ half the year group) 8.30-10.30pm
In between activities, the children can enjoy the use of the large field and play area next to the accommodation. Games of cricket and frisbee with the staff are also very popular. Look out for umpire Wenham’s electronic score board!
Organising the Activity Groups
Before the trip takes place, Year 6 teachers ask the children to write down a list of friends with whom they would like to be with during the activity sessions at Blackland Farm. Children are free to choose from both classes and write names in preferential order. Teachers ensure that every child is with at least one ‘best friend’ and usually can accommodate several others too. As can be appreciated, trying to work out even sized, ‘fair’ groups is not always easy. Two members of Sevenoaks Primary School staff are allocated to each group and when doing so, we usually take into consideration the different mix of children that are attending.
By clicking on the documents below, all the necessary information relating to clothing, linen and medication (if necessary) is available. The key point to note is that the British weather is changeable and so a range of outdoor wear is important. Aiming for layers of clothing is a good idea so that the children feel comfortable whatever the weather. Everything including slippers, trainers and towels need to be labelled as we invariably have a massive amount of lost property when we get back to school. Old clothes are the most suitable as they are likely to become very dirty, and may have to be thrown away!
An Unforgettable Event
Hopefully this page has given you an insight into what happens at Blackland Farm. If you are one of the lucky ones, looking forward to the trip this year, you are in for a real treat!
Should anyone need further convincing, I would suggest visiting our photo gallery, the Trekco website or simply speak to the hundreds of children from the last six years who have had the pleasure of coming away with us to the magical Blackland Farm!