His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the start of Trent College’s 150th anniversary celebrations as he visited the Long Eaton school and met students and staff, past and present, yesterday (Wednesday 27 September).
Opened in 1868, Trent College formally marks its 150th year this academic year, and Prince Edward was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mr William Tucker, before being escorted on a tour of the school’s campus by Trent College Head, Mr Bill Penty.
A long-time Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Trustee and himself a Gold Award holder, Prince Edward observed students taking part in a number of DofE and team building activities, before officially opening the school’s new Food and Nutrition Suite.
Year 12 student, Anna Goddard, was one of the DofE students Prince Edward spoke to after taking part in a First Aid demonstration. She said: “He asked me about what I was doing for each section of my DofE and was interested in the volunteering I’m doing for it as a Brownie unit leader at 2nd Aston and Weston Brownies. He was lovely to chat to.”
Lawrence Ellis, who is in Year 13, also enjoyed a conversation with the Prince as he enquired about his Gold Award expedition last summer. He added: “He was really relaxed and wanted to know about our expedition experiences and if we got lost! He also said he would would see us at St James’ Palace when he presents us with our Gold Awards, so that’s something to look forward to.”
Meanwhile Nathaniel, who is Year 3 at Trent College’s Junior School, said The Elms, “I can’t believe I met a Prince, I feel like fainting!”
This year no fewer than 135 Trent College students are expected to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards across the three levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold. DofE is an integral part of Trent College school life for its role in promoting the life skills and character strengths young people need to flourish in the fast-changing, competitive world in which they are growing up.
Mr Chris Rawles is Trent College’s Co-ordinator of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Expeditions. He said: “Many desirable life skills, such as team work, problem solving, resilience, determination, communication, leadership and confidence, are embedded through taking part in the DofE activities.
“There is a lot of research on the positive outcomes of outdoor education on wellbeing. Confidence is a key factor in positive mental health in young people, while the feel-good factor from learning new things, achieving and making a positive difference can be significant too. This is why DofE Awards are still so relevant.”
Trent College first opened its doors in April 1868, with just 53 male students. Since then the school has grown to become one of the top co-educational independent schools in the region and home to more than 1,300 students. Prince Edward’s visit was the first of a number of celebration events planned over the next 12 months.
Amongst the guests also introduced to His Royal Highness were the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Mrs. Mary Hopkinson, Erewash MP, Mrs Maggie Throup, Mr Andrew Crompton, Trent College Chair of Governors and the school’s Governors.
Mr Penty said: “It is a great honour to have welcomed His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, to Trent College to launch our 150th anniversary celebrations. He’s a man after my own heart; he took a real interest in our students and you could only be inspired by that.
“It was a pleasure to see so many students, staff and friends of the school at this landmark event. Over the years, so many people have helped shape the school to become what it is today; an inspiring learning environment where academic, physical and creative achievements are made possible and celebrated.”
Situated on the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in Long Eaton, Trent College and its junior school, The Elms, are dynamic, forward-thinking schools.
Young people aged six months to 18 years are integrated into vibrant communities in which they are nurtured to thrive in our increasingly complex world. Realising their full academic potential is celebrated alongside engagement in activities that build a sense of purpose, confidence, resilience, emotional wellbeing and healthy lifestyles.