Kingswood investment helping to deliver strong character education

A trusted provider of curriculum-mapped, out of classroom learning to UK and overseas schools, Kingswood has announced plans to expand its network of award-winning outdoor activity centres designed to develop important life skills.

Made possible through significant investment from Bridgepoint Development Capital, the move will allow half of UK schools to be able to access a Kingswood centre within a one-hour drive; as well as the investment being used to:

  • Increase availability when customers want it most;
  • Support and expand Kingswood values and ethos;
  • Broaden the range of educational activities available across all centres.

Colomendy Centre, North Wales

Commenting on the Kingswood’s expansion plans, John Bentley, CEO said: “We are always looking for new ways to develop and innovate and are supported by an advisory group including experts from other educational institutions and industry bodies. Our purpose is to enhance the lives of young people through experiences that inspire.

“By partnering with teachers and group leaders – from planning through to review – we help to define and target their learning objectives to maximise the impact and value of their experience, develop self-esteem, take personal responsibility, cooperate with and respect the needs of others. We also help extend their personal horizons through greater appreciation and understanding of the world and the people around them; understand the need for sustainable relationships between people and their environment and enhance practical problem solving and teamwork skills. This investment from Bridgepoint will enable Kingswood to extend its services to a significantly wider audience.”

Further supporting the work of Kingswood, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission published the Social Mobility Index, which compares the chances of a child from a disadvantaged background in each of the 324 local authority areas of England doing well at school and getting a good job.  It examines a range of measures of the educational outcomes achieved by these young people, and the local job and housing markets, to shed light on which are the best and worst places in England in terms of the opportunities for young people from poorer backgrounds to succeed.

Key findings were:

  • Many of the richest areas in England are doing worse for their disadvantaged children than places that are much poorer;
  • London and its commuter belt is pulling away from the rest of the country;
  • Coastal areas and industrial towns are becoming real social mobility ‘coldspots’;
  • England’s major cities are failing to be the places of opportunity that they should be.

Kingswood, Staffordshire, 2013

One educational institution in particular, the Ormiston Sudbury Academy (OSA) in Suffolk greatly benefited from the services provided within Kingswood’s ‘Realise Your Potential’ (RYP) personal development course at Grosvenor Hall in Kent. RYP aims to improve student performance, attainment and wellbeing by creating self-awareness and giving students the understanding, tools and necessary practical experience to manage stress, pressure and challenges. Focusing on anxiety control and positive thinking, the intensive but fun five-day programme of physical and mental challenges gives students the chance to practice techniques and understand how to apply them to the typical classroom routine. 

Every course begins with a 48-question psychometric assessment (MTQ-48) which measures the four components of resilient behaviour: control, commitment, challenge and confidence. The assessment outcomes help indicate the traits that will be focused on throughout the programme with activities and challenges designed to encourage self-awareness. A second assessment, conducted at the end of the programme, measures the progress made during the residential and the overall impact of the course, clearly demonstrating to teachers the positive outcome the course can have on students to cater to heavily evidence-based teaching strategies. 

A favourite activity among students is Jacob’s Ladder – a high-rope activity involving small teams of climbers pulling together to help each other. It is a very focused task where collaborative work is required – it’s impossible to complete the activity unless teamwork is implemented to solve problems and overcome challenges along the way. 

Colomendy Centre, North Wales

OSA’s director of inclusion, Kelly Jacques explains the impact the course made on the Academy’s students: “The single most beneficial aspect of the course was that it allowed our students to spend time away from school in a safe and managed way. Some of the students I took have never spent time away from home – this, for some, was very much needed and allowed students to take risks!

“Being away from home also taught the students that if they cause a ‘difficult situation’ socially they had to deal with it, as they couldn’t just ‘go home’ after school – they had to live, sleep and eat with the group. This was a great lesson in understanding how you can affect other people’s emotions. I would absolutely recommend this course to other schools. I already have recommended Kingswood as a company to organise a residential with. The instructors are fabulous, as are all the facilities – this makes me feel safe bringing other people’s children to these venues.” 

In 2016, Kingswood has worked with more than 190,000 people and provided 1.2 million activities to 4,225 schools, uniformed and youth groups across the UK as well as abroad. In addition, Kingswood has a phase one residential component of the National Citizen Service, a programme created to build valuable life and work skills and is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England. To date, Kingswood has aided 50,000 young people participate in the programme. 
To find out more about Kingswood, click here

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