Shifting Horizons SEN Transition Project

This project was carried out with a group of 6 Year 6 children, from a local primary school, who were due to transition to secondary school later in the year. They were referred to us by their SENCo.

They attended half a day of Beach School for 6 weeks. Beach School is an inspirational process that offers children and young people opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on learning experiences in a local coastal environment.

The children had fun learning about their environment, themselves and others. They gelled as a friendship group and made new friends who will help their transition to secondary school smoother. They also joined a local football team outside of school.

Press Release
For immediate release : 15 April 2012

Beach School makes significant impact on young people’s development

GB Boardriders CIC Beach School is an inspirational process that offers children and young people opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on learning experiences in a local coastal environment.
GB Boardriders CIC, based in West Cornwall, UK, have just completed two ground-breaking pilot intervention projects using their Beach School approach: One with a group of year 6 pupils from a local Primary School, and one with young 16-24 yr old NEETS (not in education employment or training). The projects were made possible by funding from the West Cornwall Youth Trust and the Tanner Trust in cooperation with The National Trust. In both projects the young people were given an opportunity to develop personal and social skills over a series of weekly sessions out on the beach in all weathers.

The designers and facilitators of the project, were Mod Le Froy and Sarah Van Horn, Sarah comments ‘after 22 years of educational experience I have been amazed at the power which Beach School has to create unique learning experiences and accelerate positive changes in the young people with whom we have worked,’ Mod continues, ‘this project complements the work we have been doing over the years working with young people using outdoor, experiential education as a significant tool to aid personal development and improved social inclusion.’

High level of engagement and enjoyment
Rapid team building and feelings of inclusion
Opportunities to develop creativity and problem solving
Increased environmental awareness and appreciation
Increased resilience
Improved risk assessment and risk taking
Significant increase in confidence
Improved social skills
Initiating learning for themselves

Quotes from recent participants:
“You learn what is right and wrong on the beach, to make good choices.”
“I’m really more confident on the beach – I make safe fires. I don’t feel scared about going to my new school now.”
“I liked looking at the plants and learning about the environment. I loved the team games. I feel more confident to tackle new things.”
“I play more with the others (beach school members) than I did before; we’re closer. It makes a difference. I feel better about my new school because I went into a different place and did new things.”

Quote from Special Educational Needs Coordinator:
“Our Beach School Group bubbled with excitement and enthusiasm; the fun wasn’t just luck but integral to delivering successfully the primary aim of increasing their self-confidence. The well-planned activities gave each boy the chance to explore his own strengths, while learning about the environment and developing new skills. This was a wonderful experience and I only wish every child could have this opportunity.”

Quote fro the National Trust :
“We are very keen to build on the partnership with Global Boarders and their approach with experiential learning. We share the aspirations outlined in GB’s approach using the outdoor environment as a stimulus to build confidence and independence in young people which matches both the West Cornwall business plan, which has a focus on involving and providing opportunities for young people and our National strategies embraced in our outdoor vision of getting outdoors and closer to Nature.”
Jon Brookes, Countryside Manager, National Trust

Based on the success of these pilots GB Boardriders CIC plan to roll out their Beach School across Cornwall to a range of client groups including Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Cornwall Council and the NHS.

Beach School evolved from the Forest School movement developed in Sweden in the 1950s. In Forest School the leaders trust the young person’s own approach to their learning, observe and support it, and offer their skills to help the young person achieve. Outdoor experiential learning, which is different from mainstream learning, uses the outdoor environment as a stimulus and ‘teaching’ takes the form of dynamically responding to the learners during delivery rather than ‘planning’ what is to be delivered. On the sessions environmental education games and topics such as fire lighting and tower building were delivered in a supportive, inclusive environment that focused on tailored, self-development strategies through every activity.

This work has sprung from GB Boardriders highly successful academically evaluated Surf to Success intervention programmes that they have been delivering in Cornwall since 2006. “Their innovative,
Academically evaluated Surf To Success Intervention and Transition programmes have produced many positive outcomes some of which include: improved attitudes to school, increased social and
environmental awareness, raised aspirations, improved fitness, well being and self confidence.”
Rob Gasson Headteacher Additional Education Provision Children, Schools and Families Cornwall Council

These programmes have been analysed in partnership with academics from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and the impact of Beach school will assessed using a similar methodology, the academics believe that “GB Boardriders have been a fantastic partner in helping us try to understand the health, well-being and societal benefits for children and young people of interacting with coastal environments.”
Dr Mathew White, European Centre for Environment and Human Health


Notes for Editors :
Images available on request
GB Boardriders Community Interest Company (founded in 2009 managed by a Director of the multi award-winning Global Boarders Ltd founded 2006) was the first community interest company dedicated to utilising and combining the natural coastal and countryside environments for surfing related and beach school activities in Cornwall, to help individuals improve their life chances and their mental and physical health and familial and social relationships.

Contact :
Mod Le Froy and Sarah Van Horn
GB Boardriders CIC
Sterling House, North Street, Marazion, Cornwall TR17 0EA

Leave a Reply