The Exe Sailing Club invited seven pupils from the school in East Budleigh on board their ‘Tornado2’ boat as part of the Sailability programme that promotes opportunities, inclusivity and integration. The pupils were those leaving the school at the end of term.
The experience gave them the chance to learn boat skills and explore the diverse wildlife and geography along the coastline, and proved so successful that it will be repeated next year.
Headteacher Sarah Pickering said: “Many pupils do not get the chance to enjoy extra-curricular activities that mainstream children can engage in, so these day trips on the water were a real treat.
“It not only taught them new skills, but it also greatly boosted their confidence and it was an extra chance for them to get out and be involved in the community. We are extremely grateful to Exe Sailing Club and all its volunteers who made this possible.”
The leavers’ class teacher Emily Morrison said:“Pupils have all really enjoyed their time sailing. They have shown an increase in confidence at being given the opportunity to do something they wouldn’t normally do and interacting with members of the local community.
“They really enjoyed helming the boat and one pupil said he enjoyed being splashed by the waves. A great time was had by all!”
Gordon Betteridge, project leader for Exe Sailing Club’s Sailability programme, said: “This experience has given them confidence in a fresh environment, developed communication and improved wellbeing.”
Sailability administrator Nick Webber added: “The club endeavours to focus on giving the sailors an all-round experience on the water with trips out to sea and in the estuary. Our volunteer crew have enjoyed the company of the students and their enablers and look forward to welcoming them back in 2024.”
Exmouth’s Sailability is a voluntary based community service. It is funded entirely by donations. For more details about the scheme visit https://exe-sailing-club.org/ To learn more about Mill Water School visit https://www.millwater.devon.sch.uk/web