Adventurer opens school project

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A WORLD-famous adventurer paid an inspirational visit to a Wigan school and officially opened their new Adventure Learning Progress Area (ALPS).

The Norley school invited mountaineer and explorer Leo Holding to launch the new site after they communicated with him online during his expedition to Queen Maud Land in Eastern Antarctica.

Leo joins in with creating a bivvy

Leo joins in with creating a bivvy

Headteacher Tim Sherriff, said: “We are delighted that Leo Houlding could join us for the official launch of the area.

“The pupils interacted with him via blogging online over Christmas which turned out to be very successful.

“Here at the school, the youngsters mirrored his expedition in the Antarctic and tried sledging and climbing in synthetic snow and also camped out in a tent on one of the coldest nights of the year with food and water essentials. It was very realistic.

“It was an honour then to have him here in person. The experience with him inspired us to drive the curriculum forward into our newly acquired ALPS space.”

Mr Sherriff said that outdoor and physical learning are key elements of what makes Westfield distinctive. The school already has impressive indoor facilities such as indoor climbing walls which is now being matched by the ALPS.

This 650m sq area has been transformed from unused council land into an adventure learning zone, with everything from spider’s webs and climbing apparatus to develop physical skills to a woodland facility.

This allows children to learn everything from building shelters to cooking food over camp fires, all under the expert eye of the school’s head of outdoor and adventurous activities, Nigel Williams.

Mr Sherriff said: “The area will create lots more opportunities for learning and has lots of educational value. We believe children learn best through memorable, fun and experimental adventures.”

The outdoor area was also inspired by a past pupil.

Mr Sherriff added: “We recently heard about a pupil who left us about five years ago who was an outstanding climber, and now he’s got a place at college and is becoming a climbing instructor. We gave him the opportunity to take part in activities and has continued developing that skill and will now pursue it as a career.”