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A Flourishing Partnership: Halcyon and Outward Bound

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Sharing Philosophies

Over the past decade, I have been a passionate International Baccalaureate (IB) educator. As such, I developed an interest in the history of the organisation and how they developed the holistic education that they have today. Through studying a Masters Degree in International Education I began to learn about Kurt Hahn, a German national who came to the United Kingdom before World War Two and helped to found several revolutionary organisations, including the Outward Bound Trust and the IB. He contributed to the foundation of these organisations through his values, which included the following:

  • Education should be holistic
  • people should not stand by in the face of injustice
  • people should pursue their passion.

Five years ago I was lucky enough to be involved in the foundation of an organisation. I was a founding teacher at Halcyon London International School. I was tasked with developing a residential programme of education that would support students in developing their traits as an IB learner and their affective skills (perseverance, resilience, mindfulness and motivation). The mission of Halcyon involves drawing out the unique potential of every student through innovation, collaboration and community. When considering the mission and that we use the International Baccalaureate curriculum, it became obvious that the Outward Bound Trust with its strong ties to Kurt Kahn’s philosophies were a good match for us in delivering our residential programme goals.

A Programme of Continual Development

Halcyon have now worked with the Outward Bound Trust for five years and our relationship with the organisation has grown from strength to strength. As a school we have had the pleasure of taking students to each of the Outward Bound Centres around the UK (Aberdovey, Ogwen, Ullswater and Loch Eil), allowing students to experience the diversity of the great national parks around the United Kingdom. The team at Outward Bound work closely with us in ensuring we create a programme that supports students in developing their traits as an IB learner and their affective skills. We now have a programme in which students first go to the organisation for a week at the age of 12. During this week they develop team-working skills through a week of shorter activities with a night under the stars. Students return yearly and the residential trips become progressively more challenging as they get older. The programme culminates with a week trip at the start of their IB diploma programme, during which students work on their leadership skills to support them in becoming leaders in our community. This week includes a two-day expedition led by the students. In previous years this has involved scaling eight peaks across the Glyderau, an awesome achievement for any student.

A Rewarding and Worthwhile Endeavour

Our students have benefited significantly from their experiences on their residential trips. As well as developing the skills we have targeted, Outward Bound has supported us in creating a cohesive cohort of students, something very important in international schools, which often have new students entering into every school year. It is a testament to the experiences that the students have that some of the key memories in their education come from these trips. Beyond this, some have chosen to come back in their own time and take on the summer courses offered by Outward Bound. For me, some of the most magical moments from my time at Halcyon have been spent on the residential trips. These include listening to student reflections on their perseverance, whilst on top of Cadw Idris with the sensational backdrop of the Llyn Peninsula, to seeing students support each other in stepping out of their comfort zone, whether it be on high ropes activities, completing a gorge walk or scaling a mountain.

Just as the memories of these trips endure for our students, Halcyon is excited to continue and strengthen our relationship with the Outward Bound Trust. To further enhance the experience of our students and create an enduring partnership that will continue to grow and flourish.

Written by

Gareth Jones

HalcyonA Flourishing Partnership: Halcyon and Outward Bound