At the weekend, it was the turn of another group of GCSE geography students to stay in Beverley. On Friday afternoon we arrived on the cliffs at Aldbrough to be met by strong winds but we still managed to get down to the beach at Mappleton to study coastal geomorphology and processes like longshore drift. Despite the difficult conditions, there was not even a murmur of discontent amongst the students who maintained a positive attitude, even leaning into the wind whilst Mr. Jackson talked about hard engineering strategies like rip-rap and groynes.
Whilst the students were getting blown about, Miss Hickman had done a sterling job of cooking dinner for everybody. Later, in the warmth of Beverley Friary, everybody got stuck into the domestic chores involved in feeding and cleaning up after thirty one people before retiring to the communal lounge where (again) Mr. Jackson did his usual card tricks and Miss Hutchinson was beaten in a controversial game of Scrabble.
By Saturday, the wind had dropped but we had to wait for low tide to access the caves, arches and stacks at Flamborough Head so we went to Bridlington to amuse ourselves in the interim. On the way in the minibuses, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Singleton educated the students by forcing them to listen to all their old music (although, secretly, a few of the students actually enjoyed listening to classic Motown, Ska and New Wave.)
When we arrived in Bridlington the surf was up and crashing over the sea wall, so we spent a little time in the amusement arcades before heading up to the lighthouse at Flamborough Head. We descended onto the wave-cut platform below to explore the caves and arches and learn about the processes which create them. Lucy Miller was quite taken with the view; that’s just one of the things that can never happen in a classroom.
In the evening we went to Pizza Express. It was Jack Mee’s 16th birthday so we surprised him with a cake. Back at the Friary there were more card games (including one that Jessica Worrall taught us that involved picking up spoons…) In a Youth Hostel you have to be over 16 to use the kitchen unsupervised, so Jack spent some time in there alone - just because he could.
Cameron, Louis and Korey had, at some point, purchased harmonicas, all of which were slightly out of tune with each other. Their renditions of The Beatles’ ‘Love Me Do’ must have been some kind of revenge on Mr. Jackson and Mr. Singleton’s enforced ‘musical appreciation.’
The weather forecast for Sunday was particularly ominous: heavy rain. We had none of it. Instead, the morning was spent in the sunshine at the nature reserve on Spurn Head where students learnt about the unique characteristics of a salt marsh and how the ecosystems therein are dependent on the state of the tide. We then returned home, the students keen to say to the staff how much they had enjoyed the weekend.
It’s these experiences that make all the difference; the students learn a lot about geography but there are other lessons learnt, some of which can only happen when a large group of people spend time away together. The exemplary behaviour and positive attitude of the students made it very easy for the staff - it barely felt like work at all.
By Mr Jackson