Queen Margaret Academy – “Do we need to go home?”

4-nights, November 2018, 17 people

The Supported Learning Centre, Queen Margaret Academy from Ayr, Scotland is a department linked to a mainstream school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties, typically ADHD and autism. In their group this time there were 3 staff and 14 pupils.

Betty, Carol and Jacqui, staff at the Supported Learning Centre, told us about their visit at the Lake District Calvert Trust (LDCT).

LDCT: You have visited us 9 or 10 times before; why do you keep coming back to the Lake District Calvert Trust?

Queen Margaret Academy: You can’t compare it to anything else. There’s a lady [with another group] who’s never been on a residential before and I told her that she’s started at the top. We occasionally take the younger ones to a place more locally for a shorter stay but it cannot compare to here at all.

LDCT: What were your aims and where they achieved?

Queen Margaret Academy: The usual things; improving social skills and staying away from home. They are gaining independence, even in the personal care and personal organisation – that’s a huge thing.

These aims were absolutely achieved – but some of them are ongoing.

LDCT: What activities have you done and which were the most fun and/or challenging?

Queen Margaret Academy: We did a night walk when we first got here,and canoeing, rock & rope, horse riding and archery, ghyll scrambling; we visited Goldscope mine, did cycling and were swimming in the pool. We really appreciate the range of activities you offer – over the years we bring different groups; we’ve got a very physical and able group this year – and it’s all tailored and personalized to us.

Every activity is challenging. One may think we’re going to the stables and get on a horse, but doing that for the first time, two pupils couldn’t raise the courage to do it so it’s very personal for each child.

LDCT: Have any individuals particularly stood out?

Queen Margaret Academy: Yes, there is a boy in my group who is usually very stubborn in class. But being here he has been very helpful – he has helped young ones at ghyll scrambling – we were very impressed by him. It has ended in fact that we’d call him the ‘mini-instructor’!

Individually they’ve all stood out in their own way because everybody has had personal challenges.

LDCT: How has the bursary funding helped?

Queen Margaret Academy: Without it we couldn’t afford to come. The bursary funding allows the overall cost of the trip to be affordable for the pupils that are coming. That’s also why we come this time of year because it is off-peak.

LDCT: Are there any stand out features about the Lake District Calvert Trust?

Queen Margaret Academy: We’ve said it before – everyone’s very approachable – it’s quite a family atmosphere. Anything we ask for is no bother – in fact sometimes we don’t approach you – the Calvert Trust staff approach us, if they feel there is anything that we need. It is very professional and friendly.

LDCT: Was there anything else about your stay that you enjoyed?

Queen Margaret Academy: You have obviously spent a lot of money in the last few years here which have made a difference – there is a [relatively] new pool, a few new safety features and a lot of visual things around the Centre.

LDCT: Do you have any advice for those looking to book a course at the Calvert Trust?

Queen Margaret Academy: Do it – definitely!

The staff at Queen Mary Academy wrapped up by telling us that while they were packing up to leave, one pupil asked “Do we need to go home?” Great feedback, which we appreciate, but of course the sooner Queen Margaret Academy go home the sooner we can welcome them back!


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