We are proud to welcome Mr Stuart Jackson, to the new role of Director of Outdoor Activities. We caught up with Mr Jackson and asked him a few questions about what he is most looking forward to and some of the fun opportunities awaiting our pupils.

Stuart Jackson, Director of Outdoor Education at Cundall Manor School

What are you most looking forward to in this role?

I have always enjoyed spending time outside participating in activities such as cycling, climbing, and of course walking. I find that that it is a great way to relax and challenge yourself in equal measures. I am most looking forward to passing on my love of the outdoors, and passion for outdoor pursuits, to the students at Cundall Manor School.

What skills do outdoor education complement?

Outdoor education complements a wide variety of skills and that is why it is so important to our students.  It helps to promote team work, self confidence and resilience; skills which are important for all pupils at Cundall Manor.

Why are employers so keen to see such skills on a pupils CV?

Employers are looking for people who stand out from the crowd. Outdoor education offers students the chance to develop their ability to find their place within a team and hone different skills such as offering support to others, as well as stepping up and taking control of a situation when necessary.  Furthermore, exploring the outdoors, and sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, allows you to develop as an individual and gain more confidence in your abilities.  Often students who engage with outdoor pursuits, and take part in different sports and challenges, find that they have more to offer to future employers than just their academic ability; this can certainly help them stand out from the crowd.

Why is it important to get children engaging with the outdoors from an early age?

It is important to get children engaging with the outdoors from an early age because often they are more willing to participate and are still learning about what interests them.  This means that we can nurture a love for the outdoors and then use their time at Cundall Manor to offer them a wide range of outdoor activities to help them find their own passions in life.  With today’s culture being so dependent on technology, it is nice to show the children there is another side to life away from computers, phones and televisions.

Duke of Edinburgh accreditation is highly sought after. What would you say to someone considering taking the Silver award.

Often people consider the award to be something to put on your CV to impress future employers, and whilst this is true, I believe the award is so much more than that.  It is a chance for you to develop and learn new skills and sports, as well as a chance for you to help others by completing your volunteering section.  The expedition element of the award is a great way of building self-confidence and making lasting memories, whilst having fun and pushing yourself. At Cundall Manor School we have a strong history of pupils completing this award, and every single expedition weekend is filled with challenges and fun.

Finally, if you had to recommend one walk you think everyone should do, what would it be and why?

This is a hard question to answer because there are so many great walks out there, and living in close proximity to the Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors means we are spoilt for choice. However, one of my all time favourite walks is Roseberry Topping because even though it is not the tallest hill, it is spectacular to look at and once you get to the top the views are simply breathtaking; you cannot beat the views. No matter what time of year you do this walk, there is always something new to see and each season brings with it something different.