SIGNING up to run a 100-mile ultra-marathon requires a fair bit of training.

Having two small children and an all-encompassing job takes up a lot of time.

Hence, I am mentally composing this whilst running around a wood in the middle of the night with a head torch on.

How do I know where I'm going?


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Well, I wish I could say it was down to bushcraft learnt over the years but sadly not.

I have no idea how to use a compass, can't read a map and don't know which mushrooms are poisonous.

But what I do have is technology.

Lots and lots of technology.

A smartphone, GPS watch, and a heartrate monitor.

How wrong can I go?

In February this year, I realised very wrong.

It was during the terrible floods and I went for a run in Tintern.

All went well until three miles from the end, in the pitch dark, the trail in front of me disappeared.

Confidently I checked my phone, no signal.

Checked my watch, it told me to go straight ahead.

Straight ahead was blocked by a huge fallen tree next to a swollen river.

I checked my heart rate monitor, I was panicking.

Not wanting to take a 10-mile detour I climbed over the tree, into the unknown, and got lucky.

The trail started again and I got home. But it easily could have been different.

One argument in education frustrates me more than any other.

'We shouldn't be teaching students facts, they can just Google them.'

Well, what happens when Google isn't available?

Society has become completely reliant on technology at the expense of learning 'stuff'.

I'm listening to a brilliant audiobook, Devolution by Max Brooks, which poses this very situation.

(It also seems to be about monsters that live in the forest which is not ideal for my evening run, but I digress)

At Whitmore, we believe the acquisition of knowledge and skills allows you to become independent.

We also don't just focus on learning in the classroom.

Next year we have decided to incorporate extra clubs into the timetable.

This will ensure everyone gains important knowledge and skills that might not be covered by the curriculum.

Whether you would like to be part of a chess club, debating society, or climbing group, there will be something for everyone.

Hopefully, someone will offer an outdoor survival course…they will have at least one taker.