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Ardeche Challenge

Penkford School's latest extreme classroom challenge scores top marks with Ray Mears.


A group of Penkford pupils have just returned from an Extreme Classroom Challenge in the Ardeche region of France. Pupils kayaked down the Ardeche River gorge and camped out in a Ray Mears’ style adventure.

“This was our most difficult Extreme Classroom Challenge yet” said Phil Worgan, lead for Outdoor Education at Penkford. “Ray Mears himself is following in our footsteps with his programme ‘Wild France’, transmitted on Monday, 18 July on ITV at 8pm when he canoes down the Ardeche River following the route used by Penkford pupils. Pupils have visited Everest Base Camp, cycled around Mont Blanc and now they have faced the rapids of the Ardeche River.”

“Pupils had to go through a tough elimination selection process to win a place” explained Julie Johnson, Headteacher. “The process included a written application, an interview panel and a weekend residential boot camp experience. Local businesses have been very supportive and a big thank you goes to Paul Turner from Gymbug. We also thank Chris Brain, local extreme kayaker and coach, who accompanied the pupils and who has commended them on their level of expertise and skill.”

OFSTED have praised the Head and her Senior Leadership Team for providing innovative experiences and opportunities such as The Extreme Classroom Challenge. The school was judged as ‘Good’ in all areas in February 2016 and the Head’s leadership style was described as being ‘inspiring’.

“Our pupils face many difficulties and challenges” said the Head. “Our Ethos at Penkford is based on the concepts of ‘Success Every Day’ and ‘Building Futures’. Our Annual Extreme Classroom Challenge builds resilience and promotes character education and changes lives. Penkford was asked to be the lead school for this adventure in recognition of our expertise in this area.”

Penkford School. Wharf Road, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside WA12 9XZ

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