Calshot Activities Centre

Key Stage 3

Students completing a river study

Key Stage 3 courses for residential groups usually run from Monday to Friday, or over a weekend. They usually involve a mixture of subjects such as Geography, Science and History, together with an opportunity to try some of the Centres' land-based adventurous activities.

All our work is linked to the relevant elements within the National Curriculum.

We provide education and adventure in an exciting learning environment, and to offer academic, physical and social challenges in a safely managed environment, benefiting the whole child in a variety of ways.

Each full day consist of four daytime and one evening session. The number of sessions each activity requires is written in brackets next to the title. Schools can choose whichever elements they want to fulfil their particular requirements.

The majority of schools choose an equal mixture of Field Studies and Landsports elements so that there is an active part and a more academically and environmentally focused part to each day.

All sessions can be adapted to meet your specific aims, contact us if you wish to discuss this further.

In addition schools can opt to take part in the John Muir and/or Trailblazer awards during their residential visit.


Pond Dipping (2) (Aqua Animals)

Freshwater animals are collected and identified to help students create their own food chain and food web.

Beach Scavenge (2)(Beach Bonanza)

Stepping out of the classroom, students examine our beaches to investigate adaptations of coastal marine life. Back indoors, Beach life posters or fact files are made where the students describe and explain the adaptations of the plant and animal life they have collected.

Bushcraft (2-4)

Venture out into the new forest and learn shelter building, fire lighting skills and survival skills. This can be a half day or full day activity. If students are out for the whole day then lunch will be cooked on an open fire.

Coastal Erosion Investigation (2) (Coastline Catastrophe)

Taking the role of a newspaper reporter, students follow the progress of pebbles from cliff to spit, investigating coastal processes and management at Calshot Spit. Using ICT skills they then publish their headline stories using our Hampshire schools compatible computers.

Invertebrate Investigation (2) (Creepy Creatures)

Terrestrial invertebrate of wood and grassland are collected using pooters, students create classification keys using PowerPoint and challenge their friends to identify the creatures.

River Darkwater Investigation (4)(Darkwater Discovery)

A classic river study from source to mouth in this local small stream. After setting up their predictions students take a range of measurements at several sites, returning to create posters describing how the river channel changes throughout its length.

John Muir Award Review (1)

For those schools who opt to do the John Muir Award, a final session of the residential stay reviewing and sharing their experiences.

New Forest Experience (2) (New Forestation)

Using all their senses, students gain a hands-on (and eyes, ears, mouth and nose!) feel for the forest and use their experiences to create poetry or forest art as they explore the New Forest.

Orienteering (2)

Students navigate their way around a New Forest enclosure collecting markers and points along the way. Compass work, navigation and teamwork come together for a fun, yet challenging, activity.

Environmental Chemistry (2) (Muddy Morasses)

A heathland slope and its soil are investigated. Using the results, students carry out a decision making exercise to determine the best site for trees to grow.

Terrific Trawling (2)

Using our 8.5m trawling boat, students catch a variety of marine life which they then identify and draw back in the classroom. Plankton is examined using a microscope and video camera. (This topic is weather dependent).

Tudor History (2) (Troublesome Tudors)

Students explore and investigate our on-site Tudor Castle and create a besom broom using Tudor technology. Re-enacting Henry VIII’s reign in play form, students dress in period costume and discover more about Tudor life.

History Day (4)

Students explore and investigate the Mary Rose, its museum and HMS Victory at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. Discovering all about naval life in Tudor times storyboards are created on return to the centre. (An additional charge applies for entry to the Dockyard).


Abseiling (1)

Individually students have the opportunity to try to abseil off the top of our climbing wall whilst being encouraged by other members of their group.

Archery (1)

Requires good concentration, a sharp eye and a steady hand. Archery is approached in a disciplined but supportive atmosphere, and provides a change of pace from many of our more physically demanding activities.

Climbing (1 or 2)

We possess the South’s premier indoor climbing facility, 520m2, from short easy angled slabs, to a 13m overhang with abseiling platform. Groups work in three’s and have therefore plenty of opportunity to learn and practise the skills associated with this fast growing and accessible sport. Developing trust, support and communication are also important factors.  

High Ropes (1)

Our unique indoor facility provides groups with a year round opportunity to explore the concepts of support and trust whilst facing personal challenge. Challenges available include Crate Build, Cat Walk and Peg Pole.

Initiative Course (1)

Elements such as ‘The Spider’s Web’, ‘The Tunnel’, ‘Washed Out Bridge’, and ‘Mushroom Field’ emphasize different team qualities and stimulate discussion when reviewing. Students are encouraged to think about how they are perceived within the team, and how they contribute to its success.

Low Ropes (1)

Our recently upgraded outdoor course features many exciting challenges which provide a basis for discussions on assessing risk, problem solving, recognising leadership and other qualities which are the hallmarks of successful teams.

Skiing (1 or 2)

The emphasis is on energetic and fun sessions, where progression is at the pace of the individual’s capabilities.

Track Cycle (1)

A unique opportunity to have a go on the only indoor banked velodrome in the South of England. The cycle track provides a safe yet challenging introduction to this Olympic sport.


These have a team building or problem solving focus. Some such as the Games Evening have a competitive element and others such as Make a Video or Twilight Tudors are a chance for students to be creative. Students work in groups of up to 30 for evening activities.

Bridge Build (1)

Students work together to construct a bridge across an imaginary river. Will it survive the test of strength?

Daring Detectives (1)

Step back in time to the 1930’s and use a variety of forensic science techniques to discover who has perpetrated the crime against the RAF’s High Speed Flight.

Egg Drop (1)

Design a container to protect an egg from a large drop – design, teamwork and construction.

Disco (1)

A chance to change out of those wellies! The disco takes place in our Recreation Room complete with smoke machine and disco lights.

Film Night (1)

Relax with a film from our collection, or alternatively bring your own. Large-screen projectors are available

Games Evening (1)

A fun and active evening of competitions and team games all taking place indoors.

JMT Award (1)

For those schools who opt to do the John Muir Award, an evening part way through the residential stay reviewing and sharing their experiences so far and an opportunity to take part in a range of environmental sharing ideas both within the group and in the wider world.

Make a Video (1)

Using props and drama skills students work in teams to produce a food chain sketch which is recorded and played back at the end of the session.

Quiz Night (1)

A fun evening which tests general and musical knowledge, observation and teamwork.

Rushing Rockets (1)

Bringing physics to life, small teams focus on different design elements in an attempt to build a water powered ‘super’ rocket and beat the opposition in the space race.

Twilight Tudors (1)

Act out Tudor plays, in the grand setting of our Tudor Castle. Costumes and props are provided. The plays are recorded and played back at the end of the session.


The John Muir Award

The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. This could be any where from a mountaintop to a city garden. It encourages the discovery and conservation of wild places, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration. The award is non-competitive, open to all and is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust. There are three levels of the John Muir Award, encouraging a progressive involvement. All levels of the award are based on meeting the same four challenges of: Discover, Explore, Conserve, Share.


  • Discover (D): Get out in a wild place. This could be your garden, a nearby park, a high mountain, or a local beach. This challenge is all about discovering your own wild place.
  • Explore (E): Find out more about your wild place. Look at the plants and animals that live there, travel through it, or spend a night camping out and find out what it sounds like at night. Exploring is about getting to know and experience a place.
  • Conserve (C): John Muir set up the world's first national park and was committed to ‘putting something back’ into wild places. So for this challenge you need to do something to help take responsibility for your wild place.
  • Share (S): A major part of the Award is to encourage people to value wild places. So throughout your Award we ask that you find ways to share what you are doing.
  • There are three levels of John Muir Award: Discovery, Explorer and Conserver. During a residential stay students may be able to gain the Discovery Level Award. A certificate is awarded upon completion.

Hampshire Trailblazer

An exciting award scheme promoting outdoor learning and environmental education for young people of all ages in Hampshire. Trailblazer is a scheme for schools and youth groups to help co-ordinate, support and develop their work in off-site and residential activities, outdoor and adventurous activities, fieldwork, environmental education and the use of the outdoor classroom, key skills, personal and social development.

Activity Strands

  • Discovering the environment (D) - by taking part in activities that promote understanding of the environment and the issues involved, with an enquiry-based approach to develop thinking skills, connecting outdoor learning to the curriculum.
  • Exploring the environment (E) - by taking part in fun and challenging and adventurous activities, where the challenge is to solve a problem, achieve a task or complete a journey, using new skills.
  • Caring for the environment (C) - by taking part in awareness-raising projects that aim at maintaining, improving or caring for a location or environment.

Levels of involvement

Each Trailblazer Award will involve activities relating to each of the above strands. During a day visit to Calshot, students could credit up to 6 hours towards an Award. These can be based on age group, key stage, or on the time and resources available. Usually an award is completed over a year, but this is flexible.

  • Trailblazer Green Award - 40 hours
  • Trailblazer Bronze Award - 60 hours
  • Trailblazer Silver Award - 80 hours
  • Trailblazer Gold Award - 100 hours