23rd June 22
The Village is a pivotal moment for our Year 8 students – a time where they are given more responsibility and agency than the typical school day allows. Living in huts they’ve built themselves, cooking their meals over open fires and managing issues as a group is an experience they never forget. The aims of The Village are: to provide conditions for creativity; enable students to explore independent learning and come to a better understanding of themselves as learners; build a community and develop a sense of personal responsibility within it; learn something about the democratic process in practice; build personal resilience and generally become more self sufficient.
We spoke to a couple of students to find out why The Village matters to them. First up, Ella:
“The Village is like nothing I’ve ever done before. When you go camping normally, you just put a tent up. But we actually made our how hut, we’re making all our own food, it’s really independent which I like. Everything we do, we’re doing for ourselves, we’re independent and it gives us the power to say yes or no to things and to make decisions for ourselves.
Being at school, there’s a lot of that that you don’t get to do because everything is timetabled and stuff. So this is an opportunity to do something completely opposite to what we normally do.
The challenges have been getting used to a different environment but I feel more connected to things like food and shelter because I feel like I’ve worked for it, I’ve earned it. To make food we have to make a fire from scratch and put the grill on it and cook our food, it’s different.
The other thing which can be challenging is getting along with people, we’re all under stress so things can flare up but you just have to get past it and look at the bigger picture.
Each hut has a representative who goes to a meeting once a day to raise any issues and give suggestions. These are then discussed in a whole camp meeting in the amphitheatre. I like it because you can feel you can put something forward and be heard.”
Harry: “We built our own hut and they are actually much more comfortable than I thought they would be to sleep in, I actually slept in until 8.30am today. We’ve been cooking our food and last night we cooked chicken tikka masala for the one-pot challenge. So far we haven’t poisoned ourselves! I’ve really enjoyed cooking for myself and living in something I’ve built. It’s great to just be able to choose what you want to do.”
Oscar: “My favourite thing about The Village is having the freedom to choose what you do. I just I’m not a big fan of being on a set schedule but there is always something to do if you want to. You can choose martial arts or the forge or slacklining or just chilling – you can just look around and there is stuff to do.”