Whitings Hill Primary School

Year 6 PGL 2024

Day 4 - Thursday 6h June, 2024.

Thursday’s menus:

We had a later breakfast this morning which gave everyone a precious extra 30 minutes in bed. After we got up, everyone made sure to wish Rowan a happy birthday and we tried to make her day as special as possible including giving her first go on all of her group’s activities. Candles and a cake, along with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday followed later on in the day. We’ll be doing the same for Inham’s birthday tomorrow of course.

The first activity this morning was ‘Archery Tag’ which was a new one to all of us. It involved shooting arrows that resembled marshmallows on a stick at an opposing team. The ends were so soft that you barely felt a direct hit and a Darth Vader helmet just added to the safety factor. The children really enjoyed this, especially when they got the chance to shoot at a teacher to put them out of the game - definitely an unexpected hit of the holiday.

‘Trapeze’ took us up to lunchtime where the children put on a safety harness to climb to the top of a pole, stand on a platform and launch themselves into space to grab hold of a bar dangling above and ahead of them – a real leap of faith (who thinks of these challenges anyway?) Most of the children managed to achieve this and the rest bravely went as high as they dared.

After lunch, we moved inside for Fencing which was a new sport for almost all of the children. It wasn’t long though before they were lunging and touché-ing with the best of them and just as a heads-up parents, there were a few who said they’d like to join a club and learn more about it when they got home.

And then it was on to our final activity at PGL 2024 – abseiling. The children had got a taste of this during their climbing activity yesterday but it was still daunting to be faced with a 30 foot wall and to be told that you had to reverse off the top to move down the sheer face, suspended only on a rope. This may be when tiredness and the excitement of going home tomorrow might have caught up with them. All of them made their way to the top but many just thought it was step too far and preferred to cheer on their friends from below or help out with the belaying. In either case, the children gave it their all once again.

After dinner, we had an hour to don our glad rags and dust off our dancing shoes in preparation for the big, last-day disco. The excitement was palpable as we climbed the stairs (enough of the climbing already!) to no less than ‘The Liddington Suite’ where we were joined by 150 children from other primary schools visiting the centre. The tiredness was soon forgotten and they were as fresh as daisies as they danced and gambolled around the hall.

It was early on in the proceedings when the Whitings Hill children remembered Mr Schmitz’s party piece from the Christmas Panto and began chanting “Do the Worm” at him. The rest of the children at the disco picked up on the vibe and soon, 200 children forgot about dancing and joined in the chant. He could hardly resist and in any case, it was clear that they weren’t going to give up until he delivered. It took a while to clear some space but in the end, to the delight of the children, Mr Schmitz did as promised. The Whitings Hill children were very proud to let others know that he was their teacher and so the disco resumed.

All too soon however, it finished and we made our way back to our rooms to begin packing and getting prepared for bed. It had been another full day and the children were more than ready for some rest. The plan for tomorrow is to have breakfast, strip the beds and load the coach when it arrives at 10am. We will, of course, keep parents updated by text about our progress home.

School Journey this year, has been an amazing experience for everyone, including the teachers. There have been a few tears along the way but mostly, it’s been full of laughter, excitement and the joy of spending time with friends. The children have embraced each and every experience and of course, that has meant that they have extracted the maximum worth from their adventure. They have taken those first steps along the way to independence and making decisions for themselves. It’s sometimes sad for parents to see their children grow up and start to forge their own identity but it’s also a time to be proud of them and Whitings Hill parents can be very proud of their fantastic children and the character they have shown this week. They will take away some precious memories from their week at PGL but they have also given the adults many experiences to remember also.   

And now, a final word for the adults on the trip, who took care of the children this week and put their own lives on hold to ensure the kids had the best possible time. They wiped away tears, treated knocks and bruises, administered medicine and made certain that the children were fed and safe at all times. They tried as much as possible to be substitute parents and to make the children feel loved and happy.  So a big thanks to Mr Schmitz, Miss Goldwater, Mrs Wilson and Ashlee for their hard work and dedication; it couldn’t happen without them.

See you tomorrow!

Year 6 in all their resplendent glory, before the disco,



Day 3 - Wednesday 5th June, 2024.

Wednesday’s menus:

Despite an early night on Tuesday, there was no chatting or UNO on Wednesday morning, as the children were obviously still catching up on the lost sleep from Monday night and the physical challenges from the day before. While we didn’t have to actually drag them out of bed, there were a few rooms where it took some repeat visits to get them up and dressed and ready to go to breakfast. After re-fuelling, we all really perked up and were ready for whatever the day was going to throw at us. There was a real buzz of excitement among the children because, on paper, this seemed to be the day with the most highlights in a week of best bits.

First though, we had to attend to the business of room inspections. Once again, the standard of tidiness in all rooms was commendable with the judges reduced to nit-picking to differentiate between them. We even had one enterprising room offering the teachers a platter of jelly worms as they entered to bribe show their appreciation of the judges. They may not have gained any Tidy Room points for their efforts but it certainly earned them some Brownie points!

Later, at 8:50am, on a dry crisp morning, the children were kitted out with lifejackets and helmets and on their way to the canoeing lake for the first activity of the day. After some brief instructions, pairs of children set sail in the canoes to learn the basics of paddling. The instructor set them various manoeuvring challenges to get them used to handling the canoes and they finished with a game of canoe netball which involved the children throwing a ball to each other on the water. After landing the boats, the children were given the opportunity to take a quick swim in the lake if they wanted and a few hardy souls from each group climbed in and paddled around for a few minutes, then it was back to their rooms to quickly change into dry clothes and head out again.

The next activity was called the Vertical Challenge which involved climbing 30 feet in the air over 4 challenging sections – a rope ladder, a tyre section, a climbing wall and finally a rope mesh. Once again, the children pushed themselves to the very limit of what they could do and encouraged and helped each other along the way; you would be very proud of them. They certainly earned their lunch and a little downtime in their rooms.

In the afternoon, we had Laser Tag which many of the children had been really looking forward to. We played a variety of games including Capture the Flag but really the children (and the teachers!) just enjoyed running around and having fun.

There’s never a dull moment here though and we then headed straight to the climbing wall to be strapped into harnesses (we’re getting good at putting them on now!) and taking turns to climb an impressively tall wall. The children really enjoyed this and even those who are slightly nervous of heights managed to get a long way up the wall on multiple occasions.

After dinner came the next highlight of the day when we got to visit Helga in the PGL shop and it was lovely to see the thought and care some of our kids put into choosing gifts, while at least one child decided to save their money instead. On the other hand, others just bought some extra treats for themselves and their friends!

The final activity was called ‘Passport to the World’ which involved running around a lot, searching for flags. However, the real climax of the day was still to come. When we got back to our rooms, the teachers handed out the letters from home. Your beautiful letters really showed the children how much they are loved and many went a little misty-eyed as they remembered their families at home – not that they’ve ever forgotten you. It was lovely to see them sharing your words with their friends and the adults. They miss you very much but there’s only two sleeps before we’re on our way home again!

Today was quite the emotional rollercoaster and the children were quite ready for bed when the time came. The teachers are clocking up around 20,000 steps each day and the children run around a lot more, so they were definitely ready for sleep and a well-earned rest. Thank you again for the letters, they made their day.



Day 2 - Tuesday 4th June, 2024.

Tuesday’s menus:

 We woke the children at 6.45am this morning, although, to be fair, quite a few of them were already up and chatting or playing UNO! Our breakfast slot was at 7.17am which was a strangely exact time and is probably a reflection of the number of children on-site and that they have to serve everyone in a fixed amount of time. A few minutes before our allotted time, we rounded them all up and herded them to the dining hall to eat their fill before the action started.

Before then, however, it was back to our rooms where the children were given time to prepare for the traditional Tidy Room competition. With five or six children to a room, this gives them an opportunity to get their gear organised and to keep the floors clear. With clipboard in hand, the teachers visited each room and gave them marks out of 10. It was actually pretty impressive with some admirable clothes-folding on display as well as many interesting ways to arrange shoes. Most impressive though was that there were no stray sweet wrappers in sight!

At 8:40, we headed off on our first activity of the day. The children were very excited and from then until 5:20pm, with a break for lunch, they completed a combination of Sensory Trail, Giant Swing, Orienteering and Jacob’s Ladder.

The Sensory Trail was a challenge to move as a group around an obstacle course, blindfolded and guided only by a rope and instructions from the person in front of you. Watching on from the side was very entertaining, especially when their imaginations ran wild and dangling ropes seemed like snakes and the brush of a leaf was a creepy crawly.

The Giant Swing was especially thrilling and most people’s favourite so far. This involves a group of three children being dangled quite uncomfortably from a harness and hoisted by their group up to 20 feet in the air, at which point, one of the trio pulled on a rope to send them hurtling towards the ground at terrific speed. The look on the children’s faces was priceless but they all stepped up for a second turn!

Orienteering was similar to the actual sport with small groups of children hunting for control stations using a map to navigate. Once again, our children approached the activity with enthusiasm and gave 100% effort right to the end.

Jacob’s Ladder was the first climbing challenge. The children donned another harness and set off to climb a giant ‘ladder’ made up of wooden poles with the distance between the ‘rungs’ increasing, the higher they went. Some children climbed to the very top while others managed a rung or two. However, with the encouragement and support from their friends who were also handling the ropes that kept them safe, everyone went as far as they could and succeeded with their own personal challenge. Our children created such a positive attitude around this activity that a teacher from another school came over to congratulate us on our support for each other.

A special mention for Kamal who came to PGL on crutches and with his foot in a boot. With a combination of determination and bravery, he managed to haul himself up to the 4th level on Jacob's Ladder today. Quite the achievement.

Dinner this evening was at 5:40pm and we feasted like kings and queens. One of our group said, “I’m usually always hungry but I feel full all the time here.” At least it’s good to know that the children are having plenty to eat and they’re enjoying the food too.

After dinner, the final activity of the day was a tournament among ourselves involving a frisbee game and a Battleships –type game. At 7:30pm, we packed up and returned to our rooms just before the heavens opened. Lucky! The weather has been duller and slightly colder today but at least we kept dry.

Once again, it was time for showers, with a plan to be in bed for 9:30 with lights out by 10pm. As it turned out, the children had their own plan with most rooms in bed, with lights out by 9:30! It’s amazing what fresh air and exercise can do for you.

Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be another busy and exciting day and on top of everything, it’s our turn to go to the shop! They can hardly wait.


Day 1 - Monday 3rd June, 2024.

Within half an hour of leaving school, it wasn’t a case of “are we there yet?” but more “when are we stopping for lunch?” In actual fact, some of the children were apparently so ravenous that it wasn’t long before they were sneakily scoffing from their snack horde! Oh to have the metabolism of an 11-year-old.

As the journey progressed, the children treated us to a medley of the old favourites including a few stirring renditions of that timeless classic “The Wheels on the Bus”, on repeat!

Traffic on the M25 was heavy (there’s a surprise) but eventually, and to loud cheers, we pulled into Reading Services at just before midday closely followed by a few groans when the coach driver had to do an extra lap to find the coach parking. When we finally came to a stop, the children tumbled out and commandeered the nearby picnic tables or sprawled on the grass. They made short work of their lunches after which various games of tag broke out. One of the children did ask if we were still in England and in many ways, for the children I guess, we had crossed the border into the Land of Adventure and Independence which I suppose is the whole point of school journey.

Thus fed, watered and toileted, we embarked on the final leg of the journey, a 30 minute jaunt to PGL Liddington. As we drew closer, there was an excited undercurrent on the coach which erupted into a chant of “PGL, PGL…” as we turned into the driveway to the centre.

The coach drew to a stop outside our accommodation and our assigned leaders, Hugo and Taylor, introduced themselves and spelt out our first ‘activity’ which was to unload the coach and take the baggage to our rooms on the first floor. Using a combination of teamwork and mountaineering skills, combined with good old-fashioned brute strength, we hauled the cases up the stairs and the children were assigned their rooms. They were all perfectly happy with their room-mates but they didn’t have a lot of time to socialise before we were off out again to see the fire assembly point and where we go for our activities. With some more time to kill, a game of football broke out while others played with a frisbee or just threw a tennis ball around.

With the football match delicately poised at 2-2, it was time to call a halt and begin our first official PGL activity. There were some cries of dismay from the children when they heard it was “Problem Solving” but they soon felt better about it when they realised there weren’t any pencils, paper and Maths involved.  However, the teamwork skills they used, to cross a field of ‘lava’ on planks and to use ropes to move a container filled with a ‘dangerous’ liquid, are arguably just as important and our children excelled in both communication and cooperation.

Before long, it was time for dinner and the children enjoyed the selection of food on offer and helped themselves to the salad and fruit also.

The final activity of the day was a Quiz Show which was a lot of fun, especially as the children could earn back points by performing a forfeit such as rapping a Nursery Rhyme or doing a dance. It soon became clear that they were purposely getting the questions wrong because they wanted to do the forfeits!

At 8.30pm, it was back to our rooms for a shower and to get ready for bed. The plan was to be in bed at 9.30pm and turn the lights out at 10.00pm which was a good plan on paper. However, as was to be expected, there was a lot of excitement about being away from home and sharing a room with their friends, so it may have been closer to 11.00pm when the diehards finally drifted off to sleep. Be assured though that the children are all happy, well and looking forward to the rest of their time at PGL.