Canal Trip

In June 2018, 120 of our students from years 7-10 embarked upon Arena’s first ever Residential Canal Trip. Run over 3 weeks the trip was vital in teaching students life skills and independence, whilst simultaneously giving students the opportunity to explore part of the rich industrial heritage of the West Midlands. Some of our students designed the menu for their two nights on the boat whilst others took it in turns on chef duties and of course the crucial responsibility of washing up! All students were given the chance to drive a 70 foot long narrow boat along the Grand Union Canal and were expected to operate over 40 Locks along the route!

As usual the students were a credit to the school and the LNBP (London Narrow Boat Project) who kindly ran the trip for us commented on how impressed they were with the tenacity, politeness and teamwork of the students on the trip. This was the first time the school has run the canal trip and seeing the progression in confidence, friendships and life skills from our students is something that has ensured that it will hopefully become a recurring fixture in the school calendar.

Student feedback:

I loved this trip because we spent time with our friends and teachers. It was an amazing experience, we learnt how to use locks, make our own food and play games. It was lots of fun and I hope the next group can enjoy it as much as we did! Kane 7JCS

The trip was really nice and interesting. I am really lucky to be able to have the opportunity to sleep in a boat which was beautiful and be outdoors with mother nature without technology or wifi – it was good, calm and relaxing. It has taught me to put trust in others and I conquered my fears of heights. We went to bed just at the right time and woke up at 6:00am. We watched movies, ate food (I was the chef) steered the boat, filled water pumps, opened locks, went under a tunnel and walked a lot. I loved walking over the tunnels. – Ibrahim7JCL

I really enjoyed working the locks. `It was fun using the windless and opening the locks. I also enjoyed steering the boat. It was very thrilling being in control of the boat. Another thing I liked doing was looking at the scenery as we went along the canal. It was very sunny which made the trip more enjoyable. – Sam 7JCS

My highlights of the trip were: I got to learn to steer a boat. It was sunny and hot pretty much all the time! One thing I learnt was how to unlock and lock a “lock”. I got a Golden Ticket for steering the Boat! There are tools there that you wouldn’t normally use like a windless. The canal boats go really slow, only 4mph! All of the staff were friendly. All of the passers-by were kind and said “Good Morning/Afternoon!”. There was a lot of wildlife.  Ryley 7JCL

I loved this trip because I came over some fears and the sleeping arrangement was tough. Mr Canning England and Mrs Chance did a very good job. Jake 7SNA

When I was on the canal boat I liked the small size and the beds were tiny but it was very interesting and I learnt lots of new stuff! Joe 7JCS

On our canal trip I enjoyed doing the locks. Locks are large gates that prevent overflowing in the canals. They have small strange steps. I also enjoyed making pizza for everyone at dinner because I had never made pizza and we had to make it quickly because everyone was watching us! Hunain 7SNA

I enjoyed using the locks because I discovered the mechanism behind it. The locks are quite old and they worked by water filling up with gates closed and the narrow boats lifted up or down. It’s like a water elevator. Also, everyone got to be independent by washing up ourselves and tidying up. The beds were cramped because the boats are so narrow but I managed to get a good night’s sleep. I liked sitting at the front of the boat and relaxing whilst looking at the scenery. I tried steering the boat as well. Harry 8NMY

I enjoyed using the locks and trying new things. I also tried new things like popcorn. I loved popcorn and steering the boat. Jamie 8NMY

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