Trip to Normandy 20 - 24 October 2017
It was a delight to take 70 young people from Year 8 and 9 to Normandy over the October half term. The students were a credit both to their parents and to our school. Indeed, staff were delighted to be complemented on their good behaviour and politeness by the staff at the chateau where we stayed, and also by the coach drivers who considered us to be one of the nicest groups they had ever transported!
It was a busy few days, starting with a visit to the famous Bayeux Tapestry, where students enjoyed listening to a commentary whilst taking in the historical significance of the tapestry. Putting their French to good use in the local market, students enjoyed shopping for items for their lunch, to produce a well-presented and nutritional lunch for everyone in their group – and no, Haribo is not a foodstuff!
Learning about the Normandy Landing Beaches in school came to life when the students visited the town of Arromanches, and saw where the soldiers actually landed and had to scramble up to. The poignancy of this event was highlighted with a visit to the American cemetery, just at the same time as three coachloads of American tourists were visiting. Hearing the Last Post, and seeing the Americans proudly saluting the flag as their anthem played left a profound mark on several of our students. Later that day during a visit to the British War Cemetery, we had a surprise encounter that no-one could have planned – we bumped into our former head teacher, Mr Rush, who with his wife just happened to be visiting at the same time as us!
Our final day at the Cite de la Mer at Cherbourg was fascinating in its variety; students loved stroking the mantarays in the aquarium and learning all about the secrets of the deep, and in complete contrast, the Titanic exhibition held their attention as they discovered that Cherbourg had been the doomed vessel’s penultimate port of call.
The French cuisine was a highlight for many students, as they sampled the delicacies of frogs’ legs and snails, and also tried to guess the various types of cheeses at a tasting. All in all the trip was a huge success, bring classroom learning to life in a cross-curricular way, and creating memories for the students that are likely to stay with them forever.