A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 22 November 2019

This year, E-ACT is again providing funding for every Year 5 pupil from each of our 16 primary academies to take part in the UK Sailing Academy’s (UKSA) residential water sports programme on the Isle of Wight.

We caught up with Karen McLaren, UKSA’s schools and groups manager, to hear her reflections on last year’s fantastic trips. 

“After successful pilot trips in 2018, it was so lovely to welcome so many E-ACT pupils and teachers to our base on the Isle of Wight this year. In my role as schools and groups manager, I got to work closely with the academies to make sure that we were looking after every pupil and leader both before their visit and while they were on site. 

Having E-ACT pupils visit us added an extra dimension and a richness to our life on site. All 16 academies are very special additions to our UKSA family. It was fantastic to see pupils from such a range of backgrounds enjoying water sports and all the experiences that come with a residential trip. Often the young people that come to use our facilities have had those types of experiences before, so to see children enjoying the sea and water sports activities for the first time was amazing.  

One moment that has stuck with me from last year was a chat that I had with a DSLV pupil while we travelled over to the island on the ferry. She turned to me and said, “I don’t do water!” Within a day, she was running into the sea with a big smile on her face. To see that pupil looking so confident in the water was a magical moment, because that feeling is something that she can take away and apply to different areas of her life.  

We have loved watching E-ACT pupils taking part in new activities, eating together, laughing together and just spending quality time with their classmates. Those moments are important because they challenge pupils and help them to build confidence, improve their listening and teamwork skills and make them more resilient. We can’t wait to do it all over again this year!”