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Bushcraft Day Inspires Year 7

Writing a History of Skipton’s Aireville School was a labour of love for former teacher John Tomlinson. In the book John tells how the school started its education journey at its current site in April 1958 and how over the years it has changed, developed, and adapted to meet the needs of a changing community, changing demographic, and a changing need for the school site.

Mr Tomlinson said he had wanted to write a history of the school for some time, as it had played a large part in his life. Another former teacher, David Eager, who taught history at the school, had produced a leaflet some years ago, but he felt it was time to ‘expand on David’s work’. Through the process of writing the book, Mr Tomlinson talked to many former headteachers, past colleagues, and former students. The work involved collating photos, trawling archives of documents, and reading through many Craven Herald archives from over the years. The book explored how national and local events have moulded the school and its development, how the site and its buildings have changed, as well as the staff and pupils, the many changes in education over the years.

All copies of the book have now sold out and Mr Tomlinson has very generously donated £500 from the sales. Principal Richard McManus commented how appreciative the school were with the very generous donation, which was going to be used to enhance students' experience. After a challenging year for many pupils, it was decided that the money would be used to help support the youngest students in the school. The year group missed out on a traditional transition and due to the many restrictions placed on schools due to Covid19, the money helped them take part in a Bushcraft day.

The day provided students with the opportunity to supplement their standard curriculum with opportunities to learn bushcraft, wilderness, and survival skills, such as fire lighting, shelter building, outdoor cooking, and afforded them the opportunity for pupils to develop their hard and soft skills. Students also developed their confidence, team-working, and leadership skills. On the day, the students had the opportunity to take advantage of the extensive grounds, an opportunity to enjoy the glorious weather, and complete the many activities offered to them. Students commented how enjoyable the day was, the chance to make and meet new people in their year group and work together to complete all the challenges set.

Reviewing the day, Richard McManus commented, in addition to having an amazing time with their friends, learning to work in teams, and building new skills, the students have recognised how they can contribute to the well-being of others by acquiring important and lifelong life-saving skills

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