This term saw the start of the Downside Junior Explorers Club – just one of the many outdoor adventure activities on our Summer Term 2021 Co-curriculum Programme.

This First and Second Form Club is an opportunity for younger pupils to dip their toes into a wide variety of adventurous and outdoor learning opportunities, from survival skills to leadership training. 

The Downside Junior Explorers programme helps to develop confidence, initiative, self-confidence, teamwork and courage. As well as having fun, the benefit to pupils from outdoor activities such as these are known to have a positive effect on young people’s academic performance.

At the beginning of term the Club discussed what activities they would like to experience. Suggestions included navigation, first aid training, leadership skills, plant identification skills, and to plan and prepare for an overnight survival trip. There was also much enthusiasm over safe fire-building – marshmallows a must!

The Club has chosen and cleared a safe woodland site on the School campus for their future meetings where they are building shelters and conducting Club activities. 

Mr Pollard, Head of Outdoor Education and Asst House Master, Powell House
Mr Pollard is a qualified Mount Leader, Canoe Coach, Sailing Instructor and Power Boat Instructor. He is well-known for his love of the great outdoors. He takes pupils canoeing and sailing on weekends, and runs a variety of outdoor adventure opportunities at Downside including mountain biking and shooting. Mr Pollard coordinates the 160-pupil Duke of Edinburgh scheme and is the School’s Ten Tors team manager. He is also CPO in the School’s CCF (Combined Cadet Force) and a former Royal Navy CCF Area Instructor.

Mr Clarke, Teacher of Art
When he’s not busy in the Art Department or with co-curricular clubs, Mr Clarke is training as a Forest School leader. He has always loved being surrounded by the natural world. ‘For me being in a natural environment sparks creative ideas and one feels a sense of uninhibited freedom. Creative interaction with nature helps us to feel a stronger connection to the natural world.’ He is also a staff member of the School’s CCF.