19th February 2019 — The College’s partnership with the Whitley Excellence Cluster (WEC) recently made an eventful start with an afternoon of orienteering. Nearly 40 pupils from four schools that form the WEC were accompanied by Year 10 Pangbourne students in a race to complete a set of tasks within the school’s grounds.
Whitley Park, Geoffrey Field Infant School, Christ the King Primary School and New Christ Church Primary School were split into ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams with four pupils in each and set the task of orienteering their way to 10 markers placed within the College grounds.
Royal Sergeant Major Mr Colin Hearn, who is head of Pangbourne’s Combined Cadet Force, gave each pupil a map and a mark card then explained how to make a start on finding each checkpoint. Set in 230 acres in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the campus provided plenty of challenges for the groups during the 45 minute task, but each team had two Pangbourne students to assist them in their navigation.
Three teams did brilliantly to find nine out of the 10 markers on site and the winners came down to the time it took them to arrive back to base. The runners-up were Christ the King’s A team and the winners were New Christ Church’s B team - both of these teams won a £20 Amazon voucher for their school to spend as they would like.
Rachel Tetchner, who teaches at Christ the King school, commented on the day and the work the WEC is doing, saying: “The kids loved it, they absolutely loved it, and the Pangbourne students were really good with them. We’ve been at Ufton Court for four trips doing orienteering and map reading and this was great for the kids to put all of those skills into practice in a different location.”
RSM Colin Hearn also spoke about what Pangbourne hoped the pupils would take from the day: “Primarily when we have young kids come here for days like this, we want them to have fun. But we also want to them to learn certain things - in a task like this, you rely heavily on teamwork, quick thinking, and a confidence in your own actions and those around you.
“The kids all seemed to really enjoy themselves but we can certainly hope that they learnt a few things to take with them as well.”
The Whitley Excellence Cluster is comprised of 10 South Reading schools and, with the support of the charity Aspire2, helps to engage over 4,000 students in a wide range of activities, including a variety of sports such as; football, hockey, netball, tag rugby and athletics.