LOGS Students survive and thrive in the winter wilderness

28th February 2018

Sledding with husky dogs, building snow caves, and fishing through ice holes were just some of the skills mastered by Lewes Old Grammar School (LOGS) pupils on their latest school expedition.

Nine students in Years 10 embarked on an experience to Finland last week for a survival skills course on the frozen River Tornio and into the surrounding tundra.

Organised by Really Wild Education, the trip saw pupils embrace the hostile elements as they skied and snow-shoed across the ice. Tasked with building their very own expedition level base camp, pupils cut and shaped ice blocks, created their own cooking area, and learned how to strategically arrange tents to avoid harsh winds.

Before heading on the excursion, students spent a weekend learning emergency first aid and preparing for search and rescue scenarios.

Hannah Thorpe, PE teacher, said: “This year, the temperatures were well below freezing but the children got to grips with their environment straightaway and made the most of the experience. It was particularly gratifying to see them tested on their practical skills at the end of the expedition by taking part in a cross country ski expedition which included an emergency “scenario”. They did an amazing job of creating survival bags which could take casualties out of difficult forest terrain and we felt very proud!”

The trip was the latest collaboration between LOGS and Brighton-based Really Wild Education, after students visited Finland last year. Co-founded eight years ago by former geography teacher Mat Barnsley, Really Wild works with schools to create curriculum-focused, out-of-classroom experiences both at home and abroad.

“Once again, our students were captivated by this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Tim Laker, school bursar and operations manager. “It’s inspiring to see pupils flourish outside of their comfort zones and learning how to survive and thrive in extreme conditions prepares them well for life in England too.

“A trip like this really goes beyond academic learning to develop people in all sorts of ways – improving self-confidence, teamwork skills, and reinforcing the importance of perseverance.”