At KA, we believe the outdoors provide one of the richest and most influential learning environments, within which lifelong friendships and unforgettable moments are born.
Outdoor learning helps pupils to understand how to look after themselves, make sound judgements and decisions, and take responsibility for their actions.
A growing body of literature links mental, physical and spiritual health directly to our association with nature.
Some of our outdoor experiences are designed so that pupils can learn about how they react, behave and cope when things become uncomfortable, difficult or challenging. Whilst other parts of the outdoor learning curriculum afford our pupils time and space to focus solely on the rejuvenating power and beauty of nature and wild places
Our Outdoor Activities
All adventure activities are led or instructed by suitably qualified and experienced staff. Kelvinside Academy takes safety very seriously and strives to set the highest possible standards within the outdoor and adventure activity industry.
Risk assessments are in place for all activities and are under constant review. Support, guidance and advice is sought from external organisations and agencies where appropriate.
The School recently took ownership of a 30-foot sailing yacht named Level Best. Embarking on sail training voyages from her berth in Tarbert Harbour, pupils will benefit from the challenges offered when sailing around the West Coast of Scotland.
Sail training helps to develop teamwork and leadership skills, whilst also allowing pupils the opportunity to develop an understanding of the more practical aspects of sailing such as boat handling, passage planning, and weather systems. The waters of Loch Fyne make for a very good schoolmaster, and provide a perfect environment for pupils to build their self-confidence. KA pupils have the opportunity to gain RYA qualifications in both power and sailing boats during their time at the school.
The Award has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold and our pupils get the chance to start to work through these levels from S3. Achieving the different levels of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme provides young people with a real sense of self-achievement and is highly regarded by future employers and colleges. It boosts self-confidence and helps them develop their self-reliance.
Within each level, participants must complete four sections: volunteering, skill development, physical recreation and expedition. Gold level participants are required to complete the residential section.
While the school closely supports the pupils through each of the levels, it is very much their personal responsibility to ensure they satisfy each level’s requirements.
Every year all pupils from Junior 5 – Senior 3 participate in a residential activity week. Activities week gives pupils the opportunity to experience new and unfamiliar situations and challenges often working together as a team. It is fondly remembered by many Academicals.
Many activities week destinations are managed by the Abernethy Trust at their centres around the UK. Large numbers of our pupils' successfully complete expeditions as part of the week that includes canoeing and sea kayaking, walking or cycling.
Our Outdoor Education Instructor organises regular events aimed at smaller groups. These include mountain biking at Mugdock Park, canoeing and kayaking on Loch Lomond and hillwalking on Ben Lomond.
Every year we offer pupils the opportunity to travel and explore on one of the many educational trips arranged by KA staff.
Recent opportunities have included: An expedition to Malawi to work at a local orphanage and to develop an irrigation system; a geography trip to explore the unique landscape of Iceland; an educational exchange with our American partner school, LCDS, near New York; an Italian ski trip; rugby trips to France and Italy and hockey and handball trips to Spain.
The CCF is a youth organisation supported by the Ministry of Defence with Her Majesty the Queen as its Captain General. The CCF in the United Kingdom is made up of over 250 school Contingents, the majority of which are from independent schools. Kelvinside Academy runs its own Cadet Force with Royal Navy, Army and RAF sections. Membership is compulsory for all S3 pupils with many pupils choosing to remain in the CCF through to S6. Members of staff serve as officers while senior pupils can be appointed as NCOs. The main aim of the CCF is to train pupils to become more self-reliant and develop powers of leadership. Through CCF pupils have the opportunity to try flying, sailing, camping, shooting, orienteering, engineering and many other activities.
Army skills - Army training will develop skills such as map reading, drill running and practice, safe weapon handling and field craft and section tactics.
Royal Air Force skills - RAF training will provide students with knowledge of navigation, the theory of flight and aircraft recognition. When cadets are sufficiently skilled pupils are given the chance to go flying from Glasgow Airport.
Navy skills - Pupils will acquire basic naval knowledge through the study of sailing theory and practice, chart work and navigation and will engage in a variety of leadership tasks. There are also plenty of opportunities to sail and handle a power boat.
With a huge outdoor play area, access to all-weather pitches, playing fields and wild gardens our nursery pupils enjoy extensive daily outdoor learning come rain or shine. They also now have a weekly structured Forest Kindergarten experience, allowing children to play freely in nearby woodland. As well as increased physical activity, it is a great place for children to witness nature first hand and discover more independence through real-life experiences.
Forest School and the Botanic Gardens
The Junior School make regular use of the wonderful outdoor learning environments of the nearby Children’s Wood and Botanic Gardens. The Children’s Wood on North Kelvin Meadow is the last wild space in the west end of Glasgow. Our Junior School teachers have specialist Forest School training and make regular use of this for den building, environmental art, tree and flower planting, learning to use tools as well as unstructured play and bonfire building. Being outside, even if it’s just to play and have fun, can reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem and attention span in children. The children love continuing their classroom learning in the environs of outside space –literacy, science and expressive arts can all be explored in a completely different way.
All adventure activities are led or instructed by suitably qualified and experienced staff. Kelvinside Academy takes safety very seriously and strives to set the highest possible standards within the outdoor and adventure activity industry. Risk assessments are in place for all activities and are under constant review. Support, guidance and advice is sought from external organisations and agencies where appropriate.