At the end of last year Julian Thomas, Head of Caterham School, embarked for an epic journey to Antarctica.
Julian trekked from the cost of Antarctica to the bottom of the world: 950 km across the frozen landscape of one of the coldest, highest, driest and windiest places on earth. This is one of the most challenging treks on earth with only around 300 people having completed the full journey, without mechanical or wind assistance, since Amundsen in 1911.
Julian and his team reached the South Pole on Friday 9th of January.
Julian's journey was completed in support of the charity Bliss, which gives vital support and care to premature babies. His challenge will also raise awareness of some of the issues surrounding this beautiful and fragile continent.
Upon his return to the UK, Julian has kindly been working with our Pupil Experiences initiative, visiting some of our schools to inspire pupils across the country with speeches and activities encouraging reflection on a number of topics, such as character traits, resilience and Geography.
Over the last three months, Julian has been travelling across the country inspiring pupils from Nova Hreod Academy, Richard Rose Morton and Central Academies, Lambeth Academy, Glenmoor & Winton Academies, Shoreham Academy and Wye School with the story of his epic journey.
Glenmoor & Winton Academies linked a four week Scheme of Learning to this in Geography. Ben Antell, Head Teacher at the school, explained:
‘Julian spoke about his incredible journey, the highs, the lows and the sacrifices he gave to reach his goal. He also shared many photos and videos of his epic trip to motivate our students to understand that they really can do anything they put their mind to! A remarkable tale and our students were truly enthralled by his feat! Brilliant, excellent, fun, cool were just some of the comments from students.’
David McCabe at Richard Rose Central Academy said:
‘We were all very impressed with Julian’s adventure and with the way he presented. All students, with a wide range of abilities and interests were engaged and there were some excellent, well considered questions at the end of each session. We really appreciate Julian taking the time to visit us, especially as he had to travel to the other end of the country directly after. If anything, we would’ve liked an extra session with him.'
Julian also inspired pupils at Rowan Preparatory School and St Ives School for Girls.
Liz Jackson, of Rowan Preparatory School, said:
‘He was absolutely fantastic, and very entertaining. The girls thought he was inspirational and very funny. It helped the Year 4 girls who have been learning about Antarctica in their English lessons, and also the Year 5 and 6 girls who will shortly be learning about different habitats and environmental issues.’
Julian has also enjoyed his tour of the country!
‘It has been a great pleasure visiting the United Learning academies and speaking to students about my experiences in Antarctica. Wherever I have gone, I have received the warmest of welcomes. The students have, without exception, been enthusiastic and attentive, and the standard of questioning at the end of my talks has been exceptional. I have since been so pleased to receive letters, and even tweets, from children describing the adventures they have planned for the future. Watch out world, United Learning students are coming!’
For more information about Julian’s adventure, please visit his website.