Year 10 start as they mean to go on during problem solving induction days

Our Year 10s kick started their all-important GCSE courses with two days of induction activities designed to develop their teamwork, problem solving and resilience skills, each of which related to one of our core values.

Before they even set foot in the classroom, they were debating which passengers were most useful to keep if they were in a plane crash, whether they would cut the rope of a friend to save their own skin when trapped on a mountain and navigating the physical tasks of the Tyre challenge and the Plank Problem – where the students needed to switch places on a plank in a certain order (while holding awkward props!) without an embarrassing fall – you can judge how well they did from the photos below!

We spoke to a few of the newly-energised participants about their experience, how the skills honed will shape their year and what they hope to gain from Year 10…..

The outdoor activities proved incredibly popular due to the often frantic nature of the challenges, particularly true of the water contest.

Mezda explained: ‘We had to get one bucket of water to the other side with only one person at a time carrying it but the containers had holes in them so that was the challenge. We were given options, like a sponge to put under it but it kept on dripping. The hardest part was when it got full - we had to think how to hold the holes and do it quickly because if you run really fast it’s all going to drip.’

When asked what she had learned most about herself from these tests she replied: ‘I learnt that I work with other people well by listening to them. Don’t just sit on the side thinking – ‘I want to be in their group’ – contribute to the group! You need to strive and sometimes you think that you can’t do it but you can and you learn more from it that way.’

Anna feels that the biggest obstacle for her this year will be: ‘Coping with the hard core subjects, English, Maths & Science. Every year and every term we build on from what we’ve done each year and it gets harder and harder so we have to be focussed on it.’

Marina said: ‘The last one outside with the planks was my favourite – we were in quite big groups and racing against each other on the planks! It was teamwork and funny cos everyone got really serious about it!’

The Duke of Edinburgh challenge was not as much fun however…..

‘You had to find letters on the map –we didn’t understand the map cos the writing was really little so we took half an hour to figure out where everything was. We found it really tricky because we got lost! We were the last group but we carried on until we found all of the letters – it was quite embarrassing!’

Heba told us that working with fellow students she didn’t usually spend much time with was ‘a stretch but I realised that we’re going to have to do it later in life so it helped me to be confident with others and also helped my teamwork skills.’

Sessions on resilience and leadership skills struck a big chord with the girls especially, and they certainly realise growing as a person will not always come easily.

As Heba explains:

‘We’re going to have to do a lot of things that we’re maybe not comfortable with and it taught me to be mature.



This is one stage in your life that many other people have faced so it will be a learning experience.  

It’s going to be really hard so we know we need to persist and not give up easily – we have to stick with it until the end.’

Rayana was most surprised and conflicted by the ‘Touching the Void – Would you cut the rope?’ task. It was arguably the most controversial session and sparked a heated debate over the ‘him or me’ scenario they were presented with. 

She said: ‘We had to think ‘Would you risk your life for your friend?’ I couldn’t decide, it was really hard!

It turned out that the guy he untied survived so we said that it might be really awkward if they met up one day and the man was like ‘You cut the rope on me!’ They’re friends and on one hand you can’t do that to your friend but he had to think of himself as well.'

More than just a disposable start to the term, the students have used these two days to establish their goals for the year – and what it will take to achieve them.

Zara’s aim is simple but important:

‘My main goal is to focus more in class; I’m proud of my grades from last year but I wasn’t really focussed and I didn’t really care about school so now I’m going to take it more seriously.’

Marina expressed a common goal of many of our Year 10s:

I get distracted really easily so to put myself away from people that I know I’m going to be distracted by and try my hardest.’

Principal Mrs Smith’s presentation had quite the impact, with one quote in particular inspiring the cohort;

Zara: 'There was a quote that really hit me – if it’s important to you, you’ll go after it but if it’s not you’ll come up with excuses. I sometimes come up with excuses to not do things when I actually can do it so I should try that more often.'

We're confident that these skills will see them through their studies this year.....

Marina: 'I think I will stick with what we've learned in induction because now it’s time for GCSEs and to be serious. Whereas before we were like – ‘Oh, it’s not until next year' – but now it’s happening.'

Zara: 'We should listen to the ideas that other people have because your ideas are not always correct! Also to share ideas and add-on – like if someone has an idea and you do too then try and make them work together because one might not be enough.'

The students also enjoyed a motivational pep talk from Kamal on The Fix Up team, which has fired them up to progress in every way:

Mezda thought:

'He was inspirational cos he told a story about him never going to school but when he was in Year 10 or 11 he had to say to his friends ‘I can’t talk right now, I can’t go late to class and he actually did really well, he never went out.

He said to friends ‘I have lunchtime and break time with you and I’ll talk to you later, I need to go to my lesson right now.’

So he showed us how to act in Year 10 and 11 so I think some people are going to take that under consideration.'

Anna agrees: 'It inspired me to build my dream and not chase my dream and to learn from lessons, take with you what you learn and also carry on at home.'

Heba: 'He said get involved in new activities like charity work and volunteering because that is what’s going to make you stand out from all those hundreds and thousands of applicants who are applying to the same position that you want to get.

Rayana: 'He also encouraged us with our grades and told us 'although your teachers give you a target you should still say ‘I can do better’' so I’m going to try and go beyond my target and achieve more.'

Mezda sums up the overall feeling:

‘I want to get up in the morning and say ‘I’m going to school for something I can do, that is really fun that I’m passionate about.'

We applaud that sentiment and hope that this year proves a productive learning curve for everyone.