Two Westminster Academy students were selected to go to Buckingham Palace to promote the benefits of Outward Bound residentials to a group of funders.
Principal, Ms Smita Bora, explained the level of deprivation within Westbourne to the funders. Many of the funders were unaware that Westbourne is the seventh most deprived constituency in the country and that the difference in life expectancy between a Westbourne resident and an average Westminster resident is 20 years.
Outdoor Education Co-ordinator, Matthew Puffett, explained how the generous sponsorship of 30 places at an Outward Bound residential, by Westminster Academy’s sponsors David and Judy Dangoor, had helped Year 7 students develop an awareness of how to transfer character traits experienced on the residential such a “grit” into challenges faced at schools such as examinations.
When I went to Buckingham Palace, I was outside and saw all those tourists; I thought about whose house I was going into and thought, ‘I am the best of the best!’ When I took my first step inside I was instantly amazed. I saw real gold everywhere, red silk and the stairs were made of white crystal. Just one word could define everything: ‘amazing’.
When I got to the balcony room, I saw Chinese art everywhere. I was amazed. I did a practice speech at first and they all said it was great! When everyone else came I started to feel nervous. When I made my real speech I made one mistake but carried on. It was an amazing experience!
By Lanre Dada, Year 7
The journey was nerve-racking and was shorter than I expected. When we arrived, there were lots of people staring and wondering, “How come they get to go in?” We went inside to a very extravagant room where men took our coats and told us when to go upstairs.
We went up to a room with oriental decor. We waited until the guests came and then we gave our speeches. I was so nervous! I was very proud of myself afterwards. We then received a visit from HRH the Duke of York! He asked us about our experiences with Outward Bound. Then we had our lunch at a hotel called Ruben. It was divine.