Hundreds of students have been strengthening their characters in a school initiative designed to help them get the most from life.

Bede Academy, Blyth, ran a full week of activities designed to challenge, inspire leadership, boost wellbeing and help students fulfil high aspirations.

The school prides itself on placing character development at the forefront of learning and it recently became one of the few nationally to be awarded the Character Kitemark Plus award.

With personal development in mind, the academy ran a special week of activities to help students prepare for and to appreciate ‘life in all its fullness’.

The aim was to enable students to appreciate the benefits of broad character development; experience a wide range of activities, including outdoor challenges, careers support, leadership, enterprise and environmental activity; to grow and discover new interests and talents; and build relationships with staff and one another.

Principal Andrew Thelwell said: “The Bede family is a fantastic community and we want everyone here to feel part of it.

“The opportunities were wide-ranging and many of these activities could not have taken place without the support of the local community and in particular local businesses, for which we are incredibly grateful.”

Activities included:

  • Year 7 students exploring university and apprenticeships by going into the community, joining local groups on social action projects, developing entrepreneurialism in a Dragons Den-style charity bid and developing team work and leadership skills with the help of sixth formers
  • Year 8 taking part in the school’s biggest every residential, a four-day visit to Kingswood Dearne Valley, near Doncaster, where they demonstrated virtues such as courage and humility
  • Year 9 students completing the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award expedition, the largest ever group to do so. They also developed teamwork skills with the army
  • Year 10 students taking part in work experience
  • Year 12 students exploring careers, universities and working on their UCAS preparations.

Mr Thelwell said: “Activity weeks like this are an important part of academy life. Equity is at the heart of our curriculum and we want all students to have access to all enrichment opportunities.”

A donation from Port of Blyth allowed four of the students who participated to join the activities at no cost to their families.

Mr Thelwell added: “We recognise that costs of residential trips can be expensive and so alongside support that the academy gave we are particularly grateful to the Port of Blyth who helped by generously covering the costs for four students to enable them to take part.

“They created a life-changing opportunity for these four young people in particular, who otherwise would still have never been on a residential visit during their most formative years.”

Anyone wanting to support students financially in the future should contact reception@bedeacademy.org.uk.