Getting Ahead with Bantock Primary and Colton Hills Community School

Written by Darren Clift, Wolverhampton Learning Technologies Team.

Two weeks ago, the Learning Technologies Team and the HeadStart Youth Engagement Team (follow them on Twitter) took digital HeadStart to the wilds of Wales.

Staying at The Towers Outdoor Education Centre, they were joined by 48 students over five days, 24 from Bantock Primary who stayed Monday to Wednesday, and a further 24 students from Colton Hills Community School, who joined us from Wednesday to Friday.

Day 1

Whilst enjoying some beautiful winter sunshine, we set up a number of challenges for the students to participate in. Once settled in, students were split into groups of four to play our orienteering game with a twist. Each team had a map and were told to find a particular numbered station on the map, they set off in all directions to hunt for their first point.
Upon finding the station, a QR code had been placed there, they scanned the code to reveal a memory task for one of the team members. The teams had to find 12 stations in all. When all teams had completed the orienteering task, they were tested to see what they had remembered.
We set up a courtroom and invited a ‘Low Court Judge’ to preside over the answers. If correct, the team member received a warm round of applause. If incorrect, the team were put before the firing squad, which consisted of two powerful water pistols that sprayed the whole team. Many teams got wet.

The purpose of the game is for the team members to learn about each other, interact with each other and work as a team. The water pistols offered excitement, fear and risk of consequences.
After drying off and enjoying a hot evening meal, the students went out into the dark for a night walk. Armed with head torches, they scrambled over challenging terrain in the dark, using ropes to pull themselves up steep banks and navigating fallen trees. The walk lasted some distance and on their return from the chilly January darkness, everyone was ready for hot chocolate and an early night.

Day 2.

The day of the big expedition, built around the popular ‘Pokémon Go’ game, we hid Pokeballs across 6 miles of the Welsh countryside. Each team had to follow a digital map to find points where the Pokeballs were hidden. Along the way were clues to the correct route in the form of different Pokémon posters, when scanned, the posters opened a series of questions for the team to answer, points were awarded for the most correct answers hidden in the app. We used iBeacons to unlock information when the teams reached the correct locations. Guidance and supervision for the teams was kept at a distance, the learners had to think for themselves and make decisions as a team, they learned Geography skills, communication and coordination skills and developed their sense of responsibility.

Day 3.

T-Shirt day. We talked about how we reacted to difficult times in our lives and the people we wanted to be, how we presented ourselves and how we wanted to make the most of opportunities before us. The learners made a promise to themselves and designed a t shirt around that promise. They will all receive their t shirts in the coming weeks as a reminder of who they want to be.

Getting Ahead Video Montages

Bantock Primary School

Colton Hills Community School


Time To Talk Day 2017

February 2nd is Time To Talk Day! Time To Talk Day aims to encourage us all to have open and honest conversations about our mental health, and to breakdown the stigma that still surrounds discussing it.

For full details and resources for Time To Talk Day visit the Time To Change website at

Conversations change lives. This Time to Talk Day, we want to get the nation talking about mental health and keep the conversation going round the clock.
— Time To Talk Day 2017

Last week, young people from two schools in the city visited The Towers Outdoor Experience Centre for a Getting Ahead residential. Getting Ahead is part of the digital strand of HeadStart Wolverhampton, and aims to support young people's mental well-being and resilience by making best use of the latest digital technologies. In the case of the residential, the young people were challenged to use geolocation and beacon technologies in digital scavenger hunts, as they navigated and explored the Welsh countryside.

We also took the opportunity during and after the residential to speak to the young people about their hopes and fears, giving them the chance to talk openly about their experiences and the people in their lives who support them. These conversations were based on a series of prompt cards which are aimed to get young people talking, and are appropriate for use in home, school or community settings.

The video below shares what the young people had to say:


You can download a set of questions and talking points to discuss with the young people in your life here: