Hilston Park Day 3

Well it was a very late night, last night! Group 2 turned out to be a lot more rowdy than group 1, and anyone would have thought that they had raided Cadbury’s World on the way here, judging from the amount of chocolates and sweets they had brought with them! One or two pupils started spreading ghost and horror stories in the evening, but Mr Ryan, Mrs Lewis and I, did a pretty good job of convincing all the children that the only monster they’d be meeting this week would be Mrs Hollings!

The boys’ side of the house eventually went quiet at around midnight, however the girls took a little longer to settle down! Most of us slept like a log – all except for Mrs Hollings’ and Mrs Lewis who had left their window open with the light on, so their room had become infested with masses of flies and bugs! Mrs Lewis was too tired to worry about sharing her bed with the tiny critters, but Mrs Hollings decided to relocate…to the landing, where she finally managed to get some much needed sleep! Apparently, there was a storm during the night, but none of us even noticed!

Once again, Mr Ryan and I were looking forward to waking the boys up early as payback for keeping us up so late, but to our surprise, it was the other way around! At 5:55am, they woke us up!! As you can imagine, the two of us were delighted to see them all up so early, with so much energy…not!!!

The girls eventually joined us and we began the day in the dining room, ready to make our packed lunches. This group seemed to be far better at making rolls than the last group! Ham, cheese, pickle and salad were the fillings on offer today, along with a packet of crisps, a carton of orange juice and a Kit Kat.

Then it was time for breakfast. Once again, a selection of cereals, toast and jams were on offer, followed by sausages, scrambled eggs and baked beans. Most of the children were absolutely thrilled with the cooked breakfast, whilst others practically fell asleep on their plate!

After breakfast, we had a quick tidy of the dining room and our bedrooms, ready for Room Inspection! Again, we passed with flying colours and the staff commented how amazing we were at tidying, compared to many other schools who visit.

Next was activity time! The groups rotated between their remaining two activities and had a great time. My group did archery and the boy’s team won every challenge! William was the star-archer today, and shot two balloons without even looking at them! He assures me it was skill, but I think I’d put it down to ‘beginner’s luck’! Nevertheless, he was excellent and got to keep the target sheet! The boys won overall and were chuffed with their efforts! Rick, the instructor, was great with the children and they thoroughly enjoyed playing games with him whilst they waited for their turn. Mrs Lewis’ group did the high-ropes course and Mrs Hollings’ group did the climbing and crate-stack activity.

At lunch, we ate our packed lunches on the lawn and luckily, the sun came out, despite rain being forecast. The children had a quick photo-shoot on the lawn and enjoyed pulling gymnastic and ‘modelling’ poses, for the camera.

Then it was a shuffle-around for our final activity session. My group ended with the climbing wall, Mrs Lewis’ group ended with the Archery and Mrs Hollings’ group ended with the High-ropes.

There was just enough time to visit the tuck-shop, have a debrief and a group photo, before the coach arrived at 4:10pm, to take us home.

The children were asked, by the instructors, what their favourite part of the trip was. The answer from most was “Every single bit!”

Believe it or not, it’s hard work taking 90 excited 11-year-olds away on a residential trip. Being enthusiastic all the time, keeping on top of discipline, making sure everyone’s safe, looking after those who are missing home, playing and joining in with all of the activities, is tough when when you’re running on only a couple of hours of sleep… but seeing the smiles on their faces, hearing them laugh and joke, seeing them overcome their fears on the activities and build relationships with each other, hanging out with them, most definitely makes it all worthwhile! Big ‘Thanks’ to Mrs Hollings for organising the trip, and to all the staff who were involved!

We arrived back at the school at 5pm and all the children were welcomed back by their parents. It was definitely a bittersweet feeling – great to hand the children back to their parents, but also as we pulled up to the school gates, it suddenly dawned on me that this would be the last time we would dismiss the children as pupils of St. Julian’s Primary School. As we said our goodbyes and posed for a  final few photographs, Mrs Lewis and I had lumps in our throats and genuinely had to fight back the tears (obviously I blamed the hay-fever!) 

I think I speak on behalf of all of the staff, in saying…It’s been an absolute joy and a privilege seeing your children come through the school and watching them grow. There have been times when many of them have added to the number of grey hairs on our heads and have increased our blood-pressure!!! but we’ve truly loved teaching them, this year and will miss them greatly.

Thank you to all the parents for all of the kind cards and presents, but most of all, thank you for lending us your precious children each day, for the past eight years. On behalf of all the staff at St. Julian’s Primary School, have a great Summer!

See our Photos, here

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