Tuesday, 6 June 2017

An Educational Trip to Normandy

An Educational Trip to Normandy.

Pupils arrived at school bright and early at 6.45am on the morning of the 1st June, eagerly awaiting the long trip to France. By 7am, parents were beginning to leave, after being told that they were cramping the students’ style. Off we went, waving our fond farewells, and then the sweets started to be unwrapped and consumed in their vast quantities!

After a relatively calm ferry crossing, we arrived safely in France to begin our four hour trip across to Normandy. We were treated to an authentic French dinner on our arrival, with of course an extra serving of grumbling from the students about the smell of French food. Following dinner, rooms were allocated, and students had the chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor prior to going to bed at 10.30pm, tired, but excited for the adventures ahead.

On Friday, the group was extremely busy, as we firstly visited the British War Memorial at Bayeux, where we laid a wreath of respect on behalf of Whitley Academy, and Harry read a poem. We then moved on to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont St Michel. Here, there was some free time to buy gifts and to appreciate the atmosphere of this atmospheric place – there was even time for a tour of the abbey and its cloisters.

On Saturday, the pupils hit the shops Coventry style (McDonalds and Footlocker amongst their popular targets). The pupils enjoyed a walking tour conducted by Mr Haxby and Miss Williamson around the historic city of Rouen, where they learned about the legend of Joan of Arc, as well as seeing the burial place of Richard the Lionheart. We returned home exhausted after a long day of sightseeing, and the majority of us collapsed into bed following an opportunity to play Frisbee and football on the beach. 

On Sunday, we paid respect to the WW2 soldiers on the D-Day landing beaches, visiting firstly St Mere Eglise, near to Utah Beach, where we were especially lucky, as we witnessed the re-enactment of the D-Day paratrooper landing, as we were in Normandy for the 73rd anniversary commemorations of D-Day. 

We then moved on to Omaha beach and the cemetery at Colleville sur Mer, an experience which will remain with all as a very poignant and memorable afternoon.  Finally, we visited Gold at Arromanches, where we watched the 360 degree cinema film ‘100 days of Normandy’. After another tiring day in the sunshine, we returned to the hotel for our final meal of the week and a presentation of certificates for both educational and amusing awards, as well as a quiz to check just how much knowledge the pupils had picked up during the visit.

On our final morning, we were up and ready (albeit bleary eyed) at 7.30am sharp, for our final room inspections. After a leisurely breakfast, we loaded up the coach with suitcases that were twice as heavy as they were coming over thanks to some impressive souvenir collecting. 

We set off on our long trek home at 9.30am. We stopped off at a hypermarket to use up the last of our Euros, (as well as providing certain members of staff the opportunity to re-stock their wine cellars!) The ferry trip and coach journey back up to Coventry was relatively uneventful as we relaxed and watched DVDs all the way. 

At 9.15pm, we were reunited with our relieved parents, tired, but happy after a thoroughly enjoyable trip!