Learning in the outdoors, being exposed to risk, appreciating the natural world and working in teams are some of the most effective ways to develop character traits such as resilience, courage, resourcefulness, creativity and self-confidence.
Our pupils enjoy an extensive outdoor education programme which is experiential and reflective.
Stuart Elks Director of Outdoor Learning
We have a thriving optional Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award scheme. Pupils can enrol on the DofE Award at any of the three levels: Bronze, Silver or Gold. They achieve a DofE Award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections. They’ll find themselves doing activities such as helping people in the community, getting fitter, developing skills and going on an expedition. We offer Bronze in Year 9, Silver in Year 10 and Gold in Lower Sixth. Over 100 pupils sign up for the scheme each year with an incredible rate of success.
Our co-curricular activity options include: camp craft, natural navigation, teamwork, orienteering, expedition first aid, marksmanship, problem solving and decision making. We organise camping trips, rock climbing, hill walking, archery, bushcraft, adventurous activity residentials and expeditions to far flung parts of the globe, such as skiing in the Alps and trekking to Everest Base Camp and Machu Picchu.
A former Royal Marine, our Director of Outdoor Learning, Stuart Elks has a degree in Outdoor Education and is a qualified teacher. When not running Shrewsbury Boarding House, he can be found running in the Mendip Hills with his spaniel and searching for a good surf break on the North Devon Coast with his wife Hannah.
Glyn Lancey is the CCF School Staff Instructor and Training Officer. He holds numerous qualifications in both Cadets and the DofE Award.
Stuart and Glyn are supported by a passionate team of teachers who are qualified to instruct rock climbing, mountaineering, canoeing, caving, sailing and skiing.
Our pupils are able to walk north from the school into the beautiful limestone Mendip Hills or to the sprawling Somerset levels. We benefit greatly from having two richly diverse environments on our doorstep. Our extensive programme includes abseiling at Split Rock Quarry and rock climbing at Fairy Cave Quarry. Our climbing wall is reset biannually and used every day for Games options. Bushcraft skills are taught in the woods surrounding our private secondary school site whilst archery is taught on site. Every pupil has the opportunity to try caving and make the most of this rich tradition here in Somerset.
Our Royal Air Force cadets take to the skies at Boscombe Down in Dorset most Wednesdays. Our Royal Navy cadets learn to sail at Cheddar Reservoir as well as scuba dive in our swimming pool. Our Army cadets use the brand new Army Cadet Force shooting range in Wells and Yoxter Combined Cadet Force training area to develop their marksmanship skills each week.
We are one of only 257 schools in the UK with a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) contingent, which is a unique educational partnership. Through enjoyable military-themed and adventurous activities, our cadets have the opportunity to take responsibility and develop skills, such as leadership, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance.
Our CCF is an optional activity, and alternative opportunities are available for those who would prefer not to take part. The CCF is not part of the UK Armed Forces. While adult volunteers and cadets do wear uniform, they do not incur any liability for service or compulsory training in the Armed Forces as a result of being a CCF member.
The Combined Cadet Force at Wells currently has 130 pupils, and they can join either the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Army or Royal Marines Band sections which all offer fantastic opportunities whether it be gliding, sailing, scuba diving or fieldcraft to name but a few.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE Award) is optional and entirely voluntary. Pupils can enter the DofE Award at three levels: Bronze, Silver or Gold. They achieve a DofE Award by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections. They’ll find themselves doing activities such as helping people in the community, getting fitter, developing skills and going on an expedition.
We offer Bronze in Year 9, Silver in Year 10 and Gold in Lower Sixth. The majority of participants enter at Bronze in Year 9, but a smaller number do enter at Silver or Gold (for details on the Gold award, please see our Sixth Form page).
Bronze Award applicants must complete one expedition to achieve their award. We offer two opportunities to complete a Bronze Expedition each year; these are the two weekends (Sat/Sun) before the Glastonbury Festival in June (Trinity term).
Silver Award applicants must complete a Practice Expedition and a Qualifying Expedition. The Practice Expedition happens on the first exeat of the year in September (Fri/Sat/Sun). The Qualifying Expedition happens on the first weekend of the Easter holidays (Fri/Sat/Sun).