Brecknock Primary teacher enjoys sleeping on school roof

Teacher Daire Fitzharris is climbing Mount Everest next year and is preparing by camping on the Brec

Teacher Daire Fitzharris is climbing Mount Everest next year and is preparing by camping on the Brecknock school roof every night this week. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A good teacher leads by example. Daire Fitzharris, a Year 2 tutor at Brecknock Primary School, realised this as he sought to introduce his pupils to the wonders of camping. So rather than just stand at the front of the class talking about it, he has set them an example – by sleeping on the school’s roof every night this week.

Daire, originally from Dublin, regularly went camping at weekends with his family and friends.

But in inner London, he knew many of his pupils at the school, off York Way in Holloway, would never have been exposed to the great outdoors.

That’s why the school roof became Daire’s bedroom for the week, as he opened preparations to climb to Everest Base Camp next year.

He told the Gazette yesterday: “For a lot of inner city children, like those in London, these areas are their world.

“A lot of them don’t really travel. Once, I was telling them about camping and they looked at me like I was an alien.”

Daire, 29, of Haringey, is hoping to start a camping club at the school this summer.

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“My point is, I see children on games consoles and iPads and I feel they are missing out. I think the outdoors is essential.

“The way things are going, obesity in this country is only going to get worse. There is a culture of wrapping children in cotton wool that doesn’t help.

“When I was a kid, getting a scrape on your knee was a common thing. Now, it’s almost straight to the hospital.

“They are missing out on being proper children. I appreciate many areas have playgrounds and pitches, but I also want to promote camping and the outdoors.”

And he believes his actions – sleeping on the roof – have spoken louder than words.

“After last night [Monday], the children, and parents, were talking about camping,” he said.

“I want to be a positive role model. If the children see me climbing to Base Camp, they may feel they can do it too.”

Temperatures dropped to almost wintery levels on Monday, and Daire, who has taught at Brecknock for two years, admitted: “It was freezing!

“But at the same time, it was also quite relaxing to just switch off from everything and listen to the environment.

“But I did decide I needed a hot water bottle for the rest of the week.”

Daire’s Base Camp trip will start on March 19 next year. He is fundraising for Barnardo’s and aims to reach £4,100.

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