Life Outside the Classroom

Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors.

The core values of Abbotsholme resonate with long-standing key concepts of outdoor learning. Challenge, enjoyment, resilience, courage, connecting with the environment and an adventurous approach to learning are at the core of outdoor education. The outdoor environment encourages staff and students to see each other in a different light, building positive relationships and improving self-awareness and understanding of others.

Our aims are to provide adventurous and challenging outdoor experiences for pupils, in order to develop skills, qualities and attitudes that will contribute to the development of the whole person and make for a more fulfilled life. In doing so, due regard is taken for the individual learning needs and abilities of pupils and their safety and welfare.


Outdoor Education Programme


Every October, for three days, the whole school goes hill walking in various areas of the U.K. (Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia and Lake District).

In Year 12 the whole year group goes to Snowdonia to participate in Gold Duke of Edinburgh training within the mountain environment. Pupils can then choose whether they wish to continue to complete their Gold Expedition on foot or by boat or bike.

In Year 13 pupils can participate in one of the senior hikes, or volunteer to help with one of the junior camps as a pupil leader.


Senior Expeditions and Duke of Edinburgh

Senior school pupils complete a mini expedition annually during the Summer Term. Year 12 have the opportunity to complete their Gold DofE Assessment Expedition in the last few weeks of the academic year travelling on foot, by boat or by bike in the wild areas of the UK.


Extra-Curricular Opportunities

Weekday Activities

Rockholme Climbing Club – Monday after school


Weekend Trips

There are outdoor trips for all years involving a wide variety of activities: orienteering, mountain biking, white water kayaking, and sea kayaking weekends.


Holiday Trips

Abbotsholme has an incredible history in going to amazing places across the planet in search of adventure. Trips within the holidays tend to be for Year 9 and above, and include such trips as sea kayaking in Sweden, mountain biking in Scotland, sailing across the channel to France, trekking in the Himalayas, cross country skiing in Norway, and canoeing in the Canadian wilderness.



In the sixth form pupils have the opportunity to take more of a leadership role within Outdoor Education. We welcome pupils who wish to gain experience leading some of the junior activities. This can help boost confidence, responsibility, maturity, and give valuable experience in planning and carrying out activities.



In addition to ensuring that students achieve their potential in core academic subjects, the school puts a great emphasis on extra-curricular activities and on a rounded education. A key part of this is the school farm, located on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border; the farmland consists of rolling countryside leading down to the floodplain of the river Dove. The farmland extends to approximately 80 acres, devoted to permanent pasture, which is managed extensively, with low inputs of farm yard manure. The school has a registered, pedigree, suckler herd of British White Cattle, with a bull, up to 8 breeding cows, plus followers. We also have a herd of store cattle that are run by the students. A registered, pedigree flock of Hampshire Down Sheep, is being develop, there is also a mixed flock of 40 ewes. Both the British Whites and sheep are regularly shown at agricultural shows across the midlands and northern England.

Sixth form students can take the Farming and Countryside Education course, this course will combine farming with land based management and is offered as a Level 2 BTECs (GCSEs) and Level 3 BTECs (A-Levels), depending on previous level of study. At Level 2, students learn about livestock production, animal husbandry and will look at estate maintenance, and conservation. The Level 3 course teaches students more about the business element of estate management. The students have their own projects, such as rearing calves and then identifying the most advantageous business point to sell these animals at market. At the higher stage, students look at the biology of farming and how production has developed through adaptations. All of the courses offered, heavily encourage the students to explore the adoption of technology in land based enterprises. Students are encouraged to use apps on their iPads to improve the management of the estate. The students will work with industry experts, helping to carry out pregnancy scanning of breeding cattle or learning how software is used to complete the legal paperwork that forms a key part of modern farming.

Sixth Form students will be expected to play a major role in running the schools lambing and get involved in calving as required. Students will learn to drive tractors and/or complete certificates of competency in using agricultural machinery. A typical week would see an A-Level student spend 2 or 3 hours in the classroom and 3 or 4 hours outside. Student are expected to spend another 1 or 2 hours a week getting involved in farm work during their free time. The course is assessed through a portfolio of assignments and through a diary. This records what, when and why the students carried out tasks on the farm.



BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts

The BTEC Level 3 programme is an intensive personalised two year course that covers fundamental aspects of Theatre training and performance, delivered by knowledgeable and experienced staff in professional facilities. Students undertake work of a mostly practical nature in all three disciplines of dance, acting and singing. Throughout the two years students will be challenged to develop their personal and creative potential alongside acquiring the technical and interpretative skills required for performance. Areas of training include vocal technique, music theory, acting methodologies, dance technique, jazz dance, tap dance, contemporary dance and musical theatre performance. In addition, the practical units are supported by theoretical and analytical academic units enhancing a students knowledge and understanding of musical theatre in the historical context. Students also learn about working in the performing arts industry and the jobs and opportunities available in this exciting sector. To inform and enhance their learning and development students are expected to undertake independent rehearsals, study and research.

This course is aimed at students who have the ability and interest in how all three disciplines contribute to Theatre genres. They should must have exceptional levels of fitness , commitment and motivation.
Students at Abbotsholme benefit from rehearsing in excellent facilities at the Abbotsholme Theatre and will perform in a number of professional performances throughout the year.


How is it studied?

Students will take part in technical classes in all three disciplines, creative and skill-based workshops and theoretical sessions led by Teachers and visiting industry professionals. Students take part in a variety of projects and performances throughout the two years, culminating in major musical productions in Year 13. They also contribute to a range of smaller performances and workshops. Many of these may be created in collaboration with our visiting partners and industry professionals.
Students will be invited to join the extra-curricular performance companies at Abbotsholme to support their study.

Further Learning and Career Options

Students' experience at Abbotsholme will enable progression to leading Higher education courses, vocational and conservatoire training as well as apprenticeships and employment within the creative and performance industries.



Sport plays an essential role in supporting our school ethos. Sport teaches us how to respect our peers, our opponents, our coaches and the officials. Sport teaches us humility and cheerfulness in the face of adversity, it gives us the want to do better. Sport gives us courage and integrity.

We believe in ‘Sport for all’ and ‘High Performers’. Within our Sixth Form we are very lucky to have a high number of elite performers in both hockey and cricket.

Every pupil is unique and so is their personality. This is respected and recognised by the coaching team so that each pupil can be coached in a way that is appropriate to their learning, making the session most effective for them. The coaching team has the experience and qualifications to push the Sixth Form pupils and ensure that at 1st team level Abbotsholme is very competitive in its local field.

During the Sixth Form pupils take on more responsibility for coaching younger members of the Abbotsholme community. Sixth Form Sports Captains are chosen in Year 13 and this role is important in organising sporting events and encouraging full participation from the whole school. They also plan and prepare the much anticipated Sports Dinner.

Students have access to the fitness suite during the day so that they can maintain a high level of fitness. Strength and conditioning sessions are also offered on a weekly basis.

Sports Scholarships are available to potential scholars who could offer strength within our team sports. Please contact the Head of Sport for more information


Study Sports at Abbotsholme - BTEC

In Year 12 we offer the Edexcel BTEC Sport course which runs over two years.

This is a very versatile course which allows learners to follow a pathway of study to suit them and their long term goals. For example a learner who wants to become a sports physiotherapist will study different units of work in comparison to a learner who wants to be a sports teacher or coach. Due to the very low class sizes learners receive help and support throughout the course.

Assignments and an exam make up the assessment of the course. Assignments must be competed to a strict deadline and require exemplary time management.

The course can also be designed so that the learner receives the equivalent of 1, 2 or 3 A-Levels. This is dependent on other subjects being covered, future career plans and future university requirements.

This course is suitable for anybody wanting to pursue a career in any of the following:

  • Leisure Centre Manager
  • PE/Sports Teacher/Coach
  • Sports Scientist
  • Sports Psychologist
  • Elite Sports Performer
  • Sports Therapist
  • Sports Nutrition

A high percentage of our BTEC Pupils go on to study sport at University.