City of Norwich School

Leading Lights sail the high seas

On the 10th May, CNS Year 10 students Isla, Rachel, Maddy and Niamh, together with four Year 10 students from Cowes Enterprise College and three female business leaders, took part in the Ormiston Trust  Leading Lights Project and embarked on a five day sailing trip with the Ocean Youth Trust South aboard their beautiful vessel, Prolific.

The Leading Lights Project is the result of Ormiston Trust partnering with the Association of Sail Training Organisations, the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and Trinity house to create a unique and exciting venture that gives Ormiston Academy Trust students the chance to take part in sailing adventures alongside inspirational leaders in business.

These fabulous trips gives both the students and business leaders the chance to work and learn together on board a sailing ship, with help from staff and volunteers from Ocean Youth Trust South.  Both the students and business leaders - many who will have never sailed before – will learn every aspect of sailing a boat, from navigation and steering the ship through to cooking and keeping watch.

The aim of the project is to enable students to realise how much they can achieve if they push themselves out of their comfort zone and exceed their own expectations, thus helping with their resilience and determination and ultimately raising their life aspirations.

The opportunity was open to all girls in Year 10.  Those who were interested had to write an application explaining why they thought they would benefit from achieving a place.  These applications were considered along with student’s attendance records, attitudes to learning and behaviour and the process culminated in the four CNS students being lucky to be selected. Miss Anderson, Deputy House Leader for Blakeney accompanied the students on the voyage. 

Speaking about the trip, Miss Anderson said:

The first day was a gruelling 12-hour passage from Poole to Dartmouth accompanied by widespread sea-sickness thanks to relentless swell. Despite this, the girls did not stop smiling and, once the sun (and a pod of dolphins) came out on the second day, were able to finally make the most of the expertise on board.

“Students were matched with mentors and set themselves targets for each day at sea which ranged from going out onto the Bowsprit or navigating the boat into harbour, to making lunch for 18 whilst under sail.

“The girls asked the business leaders about their path in life and the challenges they have faced and used these conversations to plan the next steps they would take after the voyage. Students and mentors alike spoke of their increased confidence and how supported and empowered they felt by each other. 

“Leading Lights is a brilliant project which will surely continue to inspire many more women of all ages for years to come.  

From left to right: Niamh, Maddy, Rachel and Isla



The Prolific