STO finds out about Bishop's Blue Coat CoE High School's annual trip to Battlefield Live in Knutsford.
Every year, for the past three years, Bishop's Blue Coat CoE High School in Chester has run a school trip to Battlefield Live Knutsford, for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9.
The trip forms part of a series of end of term activity days that are designed to challenge pupils, break down barriers between age groups, develop communication skills, improve problem solving skills, and build team work abilities. Around 40 pupils are taken on each outing.
"The trip to Battlefield Live is one of most popular activities available at the end of term," explains Matt Bowden, head of Year 8. "It's an excellent experience for the students."
Battlefield Live Knutsford is set inside seven acres of woodland in Cheshire. It offers pupils the chance to take part in a pain-free combat experience, using gaming guns that harness infra red technology.
The site features bases, bunkers, hides and barricades, and makes use of battlefield sounds to bring the setting to life.
When pupils from Bishop's Blue Coat school arrive at Battlefield Live they get dressed up in camouflage gear, have their faces painted for stealth, and are split into teams.
Battlefield Live's 'marshals' then drill the teams and give them a series of objectives to achieve in a certain time frame.
Goals involve attacking the opposing team, protecting their own flanks, taking care of each and every team member, and succeeding at listening exercises.
Pupils must work together to develop tactics, such as ambush, evasion, and 'pin and flank', which involves a high degree of team work. Children also get the chance to learn leadership skills as they make decisions throughout the session.
In addition, the equipment that the pupils use feeds them live stats on aspects like accuracy, and they have to quickly analyse and act on these stats as they go through the experience.
After a morning session, which lasts from 10am to midday, pupils eat their lunch in the site's picnic areas.
" Experiences like this are a great way to bringing students together across year groups," Matt explained. "We see boys and girls working in an extremely fun way, as a team. The all-for-one attitude is a hallmark of the day."
After years of running the combat sessions at Battlefield Live, the site's owners have witnessed their own fair share of positive outcomes in the children who have visited.
"We have many many great experiences that make us feel so in awe of the children," explained Marie Jones from Battlefield Live. "One example is when we see quieter children having a really great game. They might achieve an objective or get a really high score, and you get to see the change in their confidence. It's great to see that.
"You can also see positive changes in highly competitive children. It's great to see it when they learn to leave their personal feelings to one side and work on contributing to their team instead."
Trips to Battlefield Live Knutsford are suitable for pupils aged eight up to University age. Visits from older students can also be tied in to Leisure & Tourism studies, as well as P.E.
For more information visit www.battlefieldliveknutsford.co.uk.