Last week, pupils in Years 9-11 traveled to northern France and Belgium to immerse themselves in World War I history and practice their French language skills. During their three-day trip the pupils, along with Mr Burden, History teachers Mrs Roland and Mrs Wren, and French teacher Mme Austin, visited some of the most significant battlefield sites, museums, and memorials of the First World War.
Each of the many places visited, based in the Ypres Salient and Somme regions, helped pupils develop greater understanding of the significance of the events that they have learned about in their History lessons, the enormity of the suffering, and the bravery of so many. There were plenty of opportunities for reflection, including visits to memorials and cemeteries for both Allied and German soldiers, and the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate—a tribute to the thousands of soldiers of all nationalities who gave their lives on the battlefields around Ypres.
The realities of military strategy and the difficulties of battle were brought to life with stops at battle sites, trenches, and bunkers including those at Sanctuary Wood, Arras, and Vimy Ridge. Visits to museums, including the Flanders Field Museum and Passchendaele Museum, gave the pupils an opportunity to go deeper into the history of the time period with interactive exhibitions.
And of course there were plenty of lighter moments as well with evening entertainment in French, visits to a local chocolate shop and meals out at area restaurants. We are sure the pupils will remember their experience for a long time to come.