Each year, whole Year groups set off for a different destination which has been chosen carefully to supplement their education.
Year 7 travel to the Lake District, Year 8 to Greece, Year 9 to Paris and Year 10 go to Lucca and Florence. Meanwhile, the upper Years use the relative quietness at school to get a head start on revision!
Year 7: the Lake District
The Year 7 trip to the Lake District allows the boys to spend a week exploring the countryside, firming up their relatively new friendships.
While there, boys will try various pursuits including abseiling, climbing and exploring mine tunnels. They will also enjoy quiz and movie nights and a chocolate-fuelled midnight scavenger hunt!
Year 8: Greece
In Year 8 boys travel to Greece, beginning at Tolon with a visit to the ancient Byzantine city of Mystra. The next day they move onto Olympia, visiting the impressive theatre at Epidauros on the way, where winners of the speech competition are invited to perform. Upon arrival at Olympia, they go to the site of the original Olympic games, where the traditional Greek trip race takes place! The boys also visit Myceanae, an impressive fortress on top a hill, and Delphi, an ancient oracle perched high up on the side of a mountain, with the final day being spent at the Acropolis in Athens.
The trip is designed to allow the boys to further explore the ancient world, taking in famous classical and mythical sites.
Year 9: The Camino to Santiago de Compostela
In Year 9, the boys walk the pilgrims route (the St James way) in Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. The walk is 135km in length, and takes five days, with pupils staying in hostels along the way. This trip is a real spiritual experience for the boys; for some it is tough going, but they learn to dig deep and achieve as a team. On the final day they arrive at the glorious city of Santiago, and are receive their official pilgrim’s certificate.
Year 10: Lucca and Florence
Year 10 pupils spend a few days at a beautiful Italian Villa where they engage in a unique Leadership Course and then a further few days in the city of Florence.
Leadership in Lucca
The Philosophy course in Year 10 starts the work of opening a vision for how each young man will spend his life. This means more than just the job he will ultimately do; it means how he will serve society and care for his fellow human beings in the widest sense.
The visit to the Lucca Leadership training centre, near Pisa in Tuscany, is designed to crystallise many of the lessons which work in the classroom can introduce, but practice can make real. The boys stay in a large and beautiful Renaissance-style Villa, owned by friends of St James School. They are joined by four coaches from the Lucca Leadership Trust, all young people in their mid-20s who have become skilled in the art of team building, giving and taking direction, dialogue and public speaking. The boys are split into teams and work together on these and other leadership skills. Much of the learning is done using outdoor games – called Leadership Tasks. This gives boys the chance to lead a small group through a set of exercises to achieve specific objectives. The challenges faced test the boys on the importance of a positive and caring attitude, their ability to devise plans, communicate them and keep the morale of their team high.
The theme of Service runs throughout the whole time together. No human endeavour can happen without people caring for each other. The boys are given instruction in cooking, cleaning, and caring for themselves and their clothes. They look after each other while they are there. They also learn how to serve and participate at a dinner party. The aim is to equip them with life skills of great value.
Culture and Art in Florence
This city is the hub of the 15th century Italian Renaissance and in the museums, galleries and exhibitions are some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. Boys are often deeply affected and moved by these works but cannot gain this experience unless brought face-to-face with them. They are taken to see works by Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli and many others. The experience has always proved to be of enormous significance for every boy and the combination of art, architecture, sculpture, pizzas and ice-cream is irresistibly enjoyable.
Boys are required to create a project following their activities week trips – this can be as simple as a diary, or as complex as a sculpture. The projects are displayed within the school following the trips.