We are twinned with 3 schools internationally: Junshan Primary School, China; Zululu Primary School, Kenya; l'ecole de Marie Curie, France.
We have hosted visits from teachers and children from all these countries and sent deputations of teachers to them all too.
Each year our Year 6 children have a very exciting residential experience in France to visit our twin school in Normandy!
Today was an early start – 06:30 wake up call, for breakfast at 06:45! We met our French friends outside the Foyer at 07:15 and got into the coach sitting one French and one English to each seat.
Our journey to Bayeux was fairly swift, apart from getting lost at the last minute and taking a slight detour! We arrived at the museum exactly at the right time and went straight in to see the tapestry. It is amazing and the children were certainly impressed with its length!
After our audio tour of the tapestry, we went upstairs for the movie, showing us how it was made, and talking about its cultural significance. The movie ends with a really nice bit, showing the cemetery at Bayeux where there is a monument bearing the inscription: ‘We who were conquered by William, return to liberate the home of the conqueror’ – this leads us nicely onto the second stage of our visit to Bayeux.
Before we left the museum however, we had to complete the quiz – 30 questions about the tapestry solved using the facsimile on the wall of the museum.
After our lunch, which we ate outside the museum, we got back into the coach and headed for the British cemetery above the town. We walk in, directly in front of the monument, which we had just seen on the movie and the children were impressed by its significance. Here we found many, many war graves and the children spent a somber half-an-hour walking through the cemetery looking at the gravestones and exploring the maps.
We then headed down to Arromanche, which hosts one of the D-day beaches. First we went to a 360 cinema experience and watched a film entitled the 100 days of the battle of Normandy. This presses upon the children the nature of the war in France, which they studied before Christmas. It is amazing for them to have seen both sides of the channel (having been to Weymouth – Nothe Fort – back before Christmas) since this was where the troops were loaded up and then were they disembarked.
From the cinema we descended into the town for a little shopping and then a spot of goûter on the beach! The sun had even come out by this point and the children were able to paddle up to their knees!
We then returned to the coach and headed back to the foyer, for our dinner. We arrived back at 19:30 and after saying a tearful farewell to our French friends, we had dinner and then turned in for an early night.
It has been an amazing time and I can’t believe how quickly it has all passed by. Its been a blur really. One of the most touching things was seeing both English and French children crying as they said good bye to each other, with some exchanges of email addresses (and even real addresses too) in the hopes of continuing friendships for the future.
We woke up and got ready for our breakfast at 08:00 – we are now becoming very good at eating hot chocolate with French bread from bowls! Excellente!
Our French friends arrived at the Foyer des Sports at 09:15 and we walked to another park in Gravenchon – the Valley du Telhuet. Here the children worked together to lay out an orienteering course. After it was laid out, they competed in 2 orienteering challenges (with a short break in between). Afterwards we headed back to the foyer for our lunch.
After lunch we got our swimming costumes on and headed for the swimming pool, stopping off along the way for a guided tour of the town hall. This was given to us by one of the deputy mayors and she was very informative too. Matilda and Shay even got married by her in the marriage room! Congratulations to the Armstrongs and the Shoemarks!
Following on from our tour of the town hall, we went to the swimming pool where the children enjoyed an hour and half splashing around inside and out (and going in the Jacuzzi pools!). The swimming pool was followed by a swift return visit to the foyer to drop off our stuff. We then headed back the Valley du Telhuet where there is a touranine de boules. Here we were met by the twinning committee of Gravenchon, who welcomed us with a BBQ and a lot of bread and cakes!
The children enjoyed a traditional tournament of boules and some were awarded with trophies for their endeavours!
The whole evening was rounded off with the children singing to the twinning committee and wishing them a very happy 50thanniversary of twinning between Street and Gravenchon, followed by a giant hokey-cokey (there’s a blast from the 80’s past!). We then walked back to the foyer, had a quick run-around in the park before getting into bed at just after 10pm!
Maintenant, nous dormons! Á demain!
Today has been busy.
We began with our breakfast at 08:00 – French bread, hot chocolate, cereal and croissants (of course!). The children ate lots and were generally quite tidy: fewer spillages than in previous years!
After breakfast and a spot of diary writing, we headed off to school to meet our French partners. It was raining (in France?!) and we met them under the preau (and kind of covered section in their playground), before splitting into our 4 groups and undertaking our carousel of games.
Lunch was interesting. We walked to another school to use their canteen. We had a starter with crab and tiny pasta shells, followed by roasted pork with green beans and a tomato sauce. There was a rather juicy nectarine for dessert. Afterwards, we headed by to Ecole Marie Curie for lunchtime activities before afternoon school started again.
Whenever I am in Gravenchon I am astounded to see that the lunch break is 2 ½ hours long! The children finish morning lessons at 12:00 and do not restart until 14:30! School then goes on until 16:15! Antoine explained to me that from September there will be no school at all on Wednesdays – since it was an unpopular introduction by a government minister who has since been removed!
In the afternoon we did a second carousel of activities – happy families, what’s the time Mr. Wolf and guess who, before heading back to the foyer at 16:00 for goûter and an opportunity to practice our songs for this evening.
Following a spot of diary writing, the children assembled and headed back to the school for our evening bring-and-share tea, and mini-concert. The children performed admirably and enjoyed the food provided by all the families.
After this, they returned to foyer and either staying in making the most of the quiet time to complete their diaries or else heading over to the park for a chance to run off some steam!
By 21:15 they were all tucked up in bed, with lights out and silence soon followed!
Today began early for the children of Year 6 – and for the adults going with them! We departed from the school at 04:00 and travelled without a hitch all the way to Portsmouth. The coach dropped us at the ferry terminal at 06:30 and the children found a place to sit, amongst all the other Year 6 school parties that were heading out on our ferry (over 500 other children!). Mr. Axten-Higgs did all the boring bits, and in next to no time we were queuing to get through passport control and security, then boarding the bus to take us to the ferry.
We climbed the towering boarding ramp, hauling our luggage behind, and boarded the ship, stowing our cases away before finding our seats.
The children were happy with our position – close to the dance floor, but not overwhelmed by it. This meant that they could dip in and out of the entertainment as they liked (bingo, quiz, circus skills and disco) plus they made maximum use of the helicopter landing pad to experience some amazing wind!
We arrived at 15:00 local time (after a crossing of 6 hours) and got on our final coach to Gravenchon. This journey was also smooth and we arrived in Gravenchon at 17:00.
We climbed out of the coach and indulged in our first goûter experience – waffles with chocolate sauce! After this, we headed off to visit L’Ecole de Marie Curie. It is interesting to see the school like this – we can nose into every classroom without causing too much disturbance.
Following our visit, we returned to the foyer so the children could unpack and make their rooms look like their bedrooms (or a tidier version of them!). After an hour of titivating their rooms they came down for dinner!
This was a big hit – a small sausage roll for starters, followed by turkey break steak, rice and ratatouille. Many clean plates around the room, which is always a good sign! There was also a (healthy?) quantity of French bread consumed!
We then spent half-and-hour diary writing, followed by a short spell in the park before returning to the Foyer for showers and bed!
A great first day!
Xin nian kuai le!
On Friday 27th January our children celebrated Chinese New Year with a cross curricular themed morning! They followed a carousel of activities from Mandarin lessons to calligraphy, from Lion dancing to animation. They had a wonderful time learning about how the Chinese celebrate New Year!
Miss Lintern is going to China over October half-term as part of the Somerset-Yeuyang project coordinated by Strode College.
This is an exciting opportunity for Miss Lintern to immerse herself in Chinese culture and learn about our link school Junshan Primary School. When she returns she will be ready to put her new found knowledge into our curriculum as Year 3 begin their China topic in the Spring term!