July 13, 2023

A HIGHER EDUCATION: A REVIEW OF SCHOOL CLIMBING SESSIONS IN 2022-23

The 2022-23 academic year has been our busiest yet for hosting school groups at Clip ‘n Climb Cambridge. At the start of the year, we launched two multi-week climbing courses for schools. Here is a short review of those courses and three mini-case studies from local schools:

The courses cater for a diverse range of students and the outcomes were particularly positive for SEND, SEMH and nurture groups, students with behavioural issues and students in receipt of the pupil premium.

We also saw an increase in the sessions we have run where the students have been identified as ‘Non Sporty’ in terms of their interest and exposure to traditional school sports. The Clip ‘n Climb sessions helped these students to see that physical activity can be fun and rewarding

There are two main courses to choose from:

NICAS Clip

National Indoor Climbing Award Schemes (NICAS) are a nationally recognised introduction to climbing and provide a gateway to learning more and developing a love for the sport. The NICAS Clip course is perfect if you are looking for an engaging and inclusive new sport to introduce specific groups of Year 5 and above students to.

Discovery Course

This course is perfect for climbers up to Year 4 and SEND students as it can be customised to individual groups and is focused on confidence building.

The main benefits schools highlight from the courses are confidence building, achieving goals, resilience, improved communication and teamwork.

Case Study 1: Gretton School – Climbing for students with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome

Gretton School welcomes both day and residential (boarding) students, between the ages of 5 – 19, who have a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Session Details

Climbing for students between 8 and 12 years, over a six week period.

Feedback from Ryan Moclair, Form Tutor:

Why did you choose us as an activity?

A lot of the students were gaining sensory input from climbing in the school and we wondered if we could use Clip n Climb as somewhere where they can get their sensory feedback!

How did you feel the visit linked in with your curriculum?

All children built social skills such as patience and listening when they have to wait for walls to be free and also listen to the safety talk at the start of the day.

What do you feel the sessions achieved?

I felt they all improved drastically at climbing throughout their stay. This gave them a sense of accomplishment which is something a lot of our children struggle with as they have quite low self-esteem.

What was the feedback from the students?

Not one child thought it was boring. All children engaged thoroughly throughout and all wanted to go again! When booking the children there was an idea that if there were a few children that enjoyed it more than others then we would make a ‘Climbing Club’ for a smaller, keener, group. We couldn’t in the end as every child enjoyed themselves so much!

Case Study 2 – Harbour School – Climbing for students with an EHCP

The Harbour School welcomes boys from 5-16 years who have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) for social, emotional and mental health needs.

Session Details

Climbing for students between 8 and 12 years, over a six week period.

Feedback from Danielle Johnson, Teacher:

What were the ages of the students climbing?

Year 4 to year 6. Between 8 years and 11 years old.

What kind of group were they?

Primary nurture group from a specialist SEMH SEND school. All boys. Complex social/emotional needs.

Why did you choose us as an activity?

To re-engage them in practical learning activities. To build confidence and self-esteem for our trickier to engage boys. To further their resilience and persistence towards learning new skills.

How did you feel the visit linked in with your curriculum?

Their social skills and turn taking, linked to their EHCP targets were consistently practised throughout the sessions. Tolerating advice from less familiar adults and receiving praise, linked to their SEMH needs increased throughout.

What do you feel the sessions achieved?

Enjoyment in learning new skills and being able to see their own progress weekly was amazing. The boys’ confidence in trying more than once and accepting failure as a way to improve increased steadily. They engaged more each week and began to support and challenge each other in a positive way.

What was the feedback from the students?

They loved the sessions and seeing how much they improved.

Case Study 3 – St Laurence Catholic Primary School – Confidence building climbing

St Laurence Catholic Primary School is a mainstream, state school in Cambridge.

Session Details

Six week programme of climbing for a group of students in Year 3 and 4, ages 7-9, with either low levels of confidence, children eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant, or children with SEND needs.

Feedback from Tom Fitt, Class Teacher:

Why did you choose us as an activity?

Engaging activity helping to encourage children to get active. Working outside their comfort zone too.

How did you feel the visit linked in with your curriculum?

The visits helped to provide a wider curriculum that we simply wouldn’t have been able to offer in school.

What do you feel the sessions achieved?

Building confidence and ability to child. Developed children’s resilience and motivation too.

What was the feedback from the students?

The children really loved the sessions, they always looked forward to them every week.

Teacher quote after a session

Friday was such a fantastic experience for our children! They were all buzzing on the way back to school.

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