St Albans pupils enlist for army training challenge day

LIVING like a soldier was enjoyed by nearly 200 teenagers at a secondary school in St Albans.

Year 10 Verulam School students spent their curriculum enrichment day last month answering to soldiers from the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn, who put them through their paces on the school games field in Sandpit Lane.

170 students took part in a number of gruelling activities all day, ranging from physical challenges such as running over and under assault courses to mental tasks including building bridges with limited supplies.

Year 10 learning manager Pritam Vekaria, who helped organise the day, has been running sessions with Bassingbourn for years and said that it is an invaluable experience for the students.

He added: “I’m a great believer in boys working outside their comfort zone for them to build a strong character and develop resilience and self confidence. The only way to do that is to fail, then learn to pick yourself up and try again.”

The pupils worked alongside their teachers on the day and, after all the challenges were complete, the Bassingbourn soldiers shared their experiences and answered questions about fighting on the front line in places such as Ireland and Afghanistan.

Year 10 prefects Vincent Shiels and Ollie Poulian said that they were pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed the day: “As the sun began to shine our moods blossomed and by the end of the day everyone could be heard saying what a great time they had had. We all learnt so many new skills to use in later life, including team building and leadership.”