The Springfields Academy select pupils for The Highest Classroom on Earth

The Springfields Academy are set to train and select children with complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviour for The Highest Classroom on Earth: the first stage will take place in the mountains of Snowdonia on Friday and Saturday 1-2 March 2013 in North-West Wales, and the second stage on Friday 21 June 2013 at Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan.

The Highest Classroom on Earth will see eight children, chosen from this selection and training process, take on the climb to the Everest Base Camp. This is one of many groundbreaking initiatives of The Springfields Academy, the SEN award-winning specialist school for children with complex social and learning difficulties based in Wiltshire. The intrinsic belief driving this project is that pupils excel when they are challenged, pushing themselves beyond the limits of expectation.

62 pupils have been applied for the training, all through the ‘Engage’ Network: a National Body dedicated to improving the education of disaffected children. The 62 will be whittled down to 15 in the first stage of the process on Friday and Saturday 1-2 March 2013, and then reduced again to the final eight in the second stage on Friday 21 June 2013.

Lewis Walton Moody MBE, one of England’s finest and most charismatic rugby players will be attending the training, in preparation to climb Everest with the selected children.

With two World Cup Finals, two 6 Nations Championship Winners Medals, two Heineken Cup Winners Medals and seven Premiership Winners Medals, Lewis Moody, the ex-England captain is a true rugby legend, and will be taking part in the Everest trek itself.

To earn a place on The Highest Classroom on Earth, applicants are required to undergo a series of rigorous challenges and training. These are designed to ensure the children are able to meet the physical and mental demands of this world-renowned climb.

The first selection stage begins with a two-day training session in North Wales. The base camp will be set up by 12 noon on Friday 1 March 2013 at the foot of 3,010ft high Tryfan Mountain.

Applicants will depart the base camp at 2:00pm, travelling to the route of the 10km Slateman. There they must complete the grueling path through the astounding Dinorwig Slate Quarries and Padarn Country Park in the mountains of Snowdonia, within two hours of less. Applicants are to return to base camp by the early evening.

On Day Two, Saturday 2 March 2013, candidates will tackle Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. The candidates will be able to refuel beforehand at Pete’s Eats, the most famous mountaineering centre in Britain at the foot of the mountain. The route taken will be the Miners Track, best replicating Mount Everest’s difficult terrain; some careful maneuvering and footwork will be needed to complete the last section. Travelling back on the main route, the climbers will return for a debriefing from the mentors.

Trystan Williams, Principal of The Springfields Academy, says “The training and selection process will no doubt be a huge challenge for the applicants - even just completing these treks would be a huge achievement, let alone Everest. I can’t wait to meet the children; the pupils we’ve had on previous expeditions have been truly extraordinary and a privilege to get to know”.

The Highest Classroom, part of others from “The Extreme Classroom” concept, is the subject of a series of BBC documentaries. With over several hundred children from more than 200 schools having applied to The Hottest Classroom project in the African Rift Valley in Tanzania in 2012, the competition will be even tougher for the opportunity to climb the highest mountain on Earth.

The second stage of the training and selection process will see elite athletes and the 15 students, chosen after the selection process on Friday and Saturday 1-2 March 2013, take part in The Rock and Road Wales 24 Ultra 200, on Friday 21 June 2013 in North Wales.

The children will face the task of climbing the Three Peaks: Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain, and Britain’s third highest, with an elevation of 3,560ft, along with Mountains Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan. The elite athletes will be cycling the 190 mile bike ride from Cardiff Castle challenge to Caernarfon castle, a route cycled by competitors of the Ironman Triathlon, to show their support for the extraordinary effort of the pupils. The children will also have the option to cycle some of this route.

After this stage, eight will be given a place on The Highest Classroom on Earth to climb to the Everest Base Camp.

One of many groundbreaking initiatives of The Springfields Academy, “The Extreme Classroom” was created by Principal Trystan Williams and Alan Chambers, MBE, Former Royal Marine Commando, a renowned, determined and inspirational figure most known for his expeditions in the Polar Regions. The intrinsic belief driving this project is that pupils excel when they are challenged, pushing them beyond the limits of expectation. The unique initiative presents an opportunity for pupils to develop self-belief, overcome adversity and prove a point to themselves and others who may have written them off. Vice Principal, Jon Hamp has lead and consolidated the development of this concept since its initiation.

The Springfields Academy is also a specialist sports college, offering high level coaching for gifted children and delivering sport for all.

For further information, visit www.springfields.wilts.sch.uk

Twitter: @SpringfieldsAcd, www.twitter.com/SpringfieldsAcd

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Springfields-Academy/340226516022604

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/the-springfields-academy

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SpringfieldsAcd

Ends

Editorial contacts:

Sara Tye or Emma De Maio

redheadPR

Tel: 07786 176 617 or 07921 160 134

Email: sara@redheadpr.co.uk or emma@redheadpr.co.uk

The Springfields Academy – Backgrounder

The Springfields Academy is an award-winning visionary educational institution like no other. Providing support for vulnerable children with complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, this specialist residential school is known for its world class standard of innovation in the educational sector.

The Springfields Academy has an impressive track record of awards. In the 2012 Times Educational Supplement Awards, they scooped two titles: Outstanding School of the Year and Outstanding Special Needs School of the Year. In the same year they also achieved the Special Education Needs Provision Award at the Business Education Awards.

By working with international partner schools and delivering a global dimension to curriculum-based work, The Springfields Academy achieved the full award level of accreditation from the International School Awards in 2009.

The vision at The Springfields Academy is to inspire self-belief among vulnerable children. The academy provides extensive academic and vocational opportunities for pupils, nurturing their education and interests. Pupils are enabled to develop their self confidence by demonstrating and building on their abilities, sharing it with their peers.

One of the many groundbreaking initiatives of The Springfields Academy is “The Extreme Classroom”, created by Principal Trystan Williams and Alan Chambers, MBE, Former Royal Marine Commando, a renowned, determined and inspirational figure most known for his expeditions in the Polar Regions. The intrinsic belief driving this project is that pupils excel when they are challenged, pushing them beyond the limits of expectation. The unique initiative presents an opportunity for pupils to develop self-belief, overcome adversity and prove a point to themselves and others who may have written them off. Vice Principal, Jon Hamp has lead and consolidated the development of this concept since its initiation.

Through The Extreme Classroom concept Trystan has the objective to raise awareness about complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviour: the project has become the subject of documentaries filmed and aired by the BBC. The Hottest Classroom on Earth expedition in 2012 involved an eight-day trip to the African Rift Valley in Tanzania, in which ten pupils gained first-hand experience of the nomadic lifestyle of the Maasai tribes people. In 2011, The Coldest Classroom on Earth saw four pupils trek in near Artic Circle. This year the selected students will face a Mount Everest Base Camp trek in The Highest Classroom on Earth, whilst plans for more of The Extreme Classroom programmes are in the pipeline.

The unique academy reaches several international locations. As a member of the Connecting Classrooms education programme, they have partnerships with Yanbu, the Vocational School in Nanhai, China, Ahmad Toqan School in Jordan, and CIEP Mane Garrincha School in Mage, Brazil. The partnerships have facilitated students, and teachers, to experience a world of different culture and language, visit the schools abroad, and establish valuable connections with the Internationally-linked schools. Plans have also been made to install video conferencing facilities for communication with other schools in countries across the globe, including Mexico and Texas.

The Springfields Academy believes in providing comprehensive support for families, offering family and parenting support groups, as well as the option to use a family link worker.

Established in 1999, the academy has developed a wealth of expertise in educating pupils for qualifications within several sectors, including hospitality and catering, hair and beauty, sports, construction, leisure and the motor industry.

Accredited courses in animal care and horticulture, together with therapeutic activity sessions for young people have also become available, thanks to the academy’s foundation of the Greenfields Farm in 2012. The site’s entire development was overseen by The Springfields Academy, and it has become the community hub for sharing horticultural knowledge and experience. As part of their ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ Curriculum, The Springfields Academy aim to educate pupils about sustainable farming, as they believe time spent outdoors is highly valuable to instil a sense of constructiveness and teamwork.

The Springfields Academy is a specialist sports college, offering high level coaching for gifted children, and delivering sport for all.

The Springfields Academy have 90-100 pupils boarding full-time, and teachers also educate 500 students aged between seven and seventeen, some of which are from other schools.

For further information, visit www.springfields.wilts.sch.uk

Twitter: @SpringfieldsAcd, www.twitter.com/SpringfieldsAcd

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Springfields-Academy/340226516022604

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/the-springfields-academy

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SpringfieldsAcd

Ends

Editorial contacts:

Sara Tye or Emma De Maio

redheadPR

Tel: 07786 176 617 or 07921 160 134

Email: sara@redheadpr.co.uk or emma@redheadpr.co.uk

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