Year 8 French Trip to the Opal Coast

After 3 years of not being able to participate in school trips, 100 Year 8 pupils and 12 members of staff took part in a very successful and extremely enjoyable four-day French Trip to the Opal Coast.

Two coaches of pupils and teachers left Presdales School early on Monday morning and, after taking the ferry from Dover to Calais, arrived safely at their destination in Boulogne-sur-mer. They made their first visit of the trip to ‘Nausicaa’, which is the largest aquarium in Europe specialising in scientific discovery of the marine environment. Students enjoyed taking selfies next to the sharks and rays and they were also inspired by Mrs Harmer to create a photographic alphabet spelling the word “FRANCE”.

We then made our way to our accommodation and it was already time for dinner. We shared the large dining hall with a group of older French tourists who were keen to stop me and comment on several occasions on our students’ excellent manners at the table. Later in the evening, the students grouped together to do some language work in preparation for the next day’s activities.

They were very excited about the planned activities for the second day which began with a trip to the sophisticated coastal town of Le Touquet. After spending some time running down the sandy dunes of the beautiful beach, we all enjoyed wandering around the town. Students could finally put all their classroom role-play activities into practice ordering food and doing a bit of shopping. I was so impressed with the positive and enthusiastic attitude of so many of them and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around town meeting students who would ask me: “Miss, how do you say…?” and who would then go on to tell me in great details everything they had just said in French!

The afternoon entailed a visit to ‘Les Escargots du Bocage’, a snail farm, situated in the nearby countryside. Students were firstly given a presentation followed by a tour of the farm and were then invited to sit and taste snails prepared in garlic butter in a pastry shell as well as a homemade jam, made from a variety of fruit grown on the farm. Despite initial reservations, many tasted the snails and most were pleasantly surprised, with some even going back for seconds!

On the third day, students enjoyed swimming and going down the huge slide at the Hélicéa aquatic centre before an afternoon visit to ‘Auchan’, a hypermarket and shopping arcade, where they were each given some Euros to complete a shopping task. This involved buying something typically French to take home and share with their families. That evening, students were keen to take part in a ‘show and tell’ about their shopping task purchases and finish completing their trip booklets.

The staff at the accommodation commented on our students’ excellent behaviour and their efforts to ask questions in French. They were particularly impressed with their pronunciation!

Such a successful trip would not be possible without the proactive and positive attitude of a dream team of school staff and the meticulous organisation of Mme Rowe. As well as a fantastic eye opener for the 100 Year 8 students, it was also a unique opportunity for them to shine outside of the classroom.

A l’année prochaine!

Mme Ainge

Some feedback from parents and students regarding the Year 8 Opal Coast French trip 2023

Lovely trip, she really enjoyed the experience and it has given her confidence with her studies, especially speaking French. Thanks so much to all the staff who made this such an enjoyable trip.

The trip was well planned and there was a good balance of work, free time and activities.

The preparation was very good. All of the information on the slide presentation was excellent. If we couldn’t have come in to the school, it would still have contained everything needed. The trip itself was well organised and all of the arranged excursions were very enjoyable. The hotel was nice. The food, on the whole was good, but the options for vegetarians were quite limited. Overall a very good trip and would definitely recommend it to next years’ Year 8.

The best part of the trip was water park visit. Snail farm was an interesting experience. Accommodation was all right. Food was good.

Opal coast was a great trip. It was an amazing chance for me to discover the French speaking world and participate by speaking to shop assistants/workers when shopping. The accommodation was really nice and I enjoyed the activities we did.

Thank you to all of the staff that organised and went on the trip – it was well organised before and during the trip with good communication. We are glad that these experiences are now available again. R reported back that she liked the accommodation, although she wished she had taken a full sized pillow from home! She enjoyed the activities also – and she had a good amount of free time. She can’t think of anything that could be improved (except perhaps the meal on the last day!). Thank you once again.

I found that it was a good trip, very windy though, the aquarium was really interesting seeing all the different types of fish and the coral too. The snails were really tasty and the shopping centres were fun. The accommodation was very nice too and the meals there were very nice from the breakfast to the packed lunch to the dinner.

The French trip was an amazing experience that I loved. I especially liked the aquarium.

I really liked all the activities, especially the waterpark, aquarium and visiting the town. I like getting to use French. Sometimes I didn’t like the food at the house but it was OK. I really liked the whole trip, it was a great experience. Thank you to all the teachers who gave up their time! It was a brilliant way to end the year! Thank you!

German Trip to Düsseldorf and Köln 2022

What a trip! Four days! We did it all, travelling through 4 countries, Christmas markets in Köln and Düsseldorf, der Kölner Dom, das Schokoladenmuseum, swimming, Phantasialand, der Fernsehturm, shopping and we even managed to visit our partner school in Erkrath.

Parents and students in our partner school, das Gymnasium an Neandertal (Gymneander) organised a Christmas party with German seasonal food. We shared English traditions (mince pies, crackers and a Lucky Dip) and sang Stille Nacht together. All of our students also attended 2 lessons to get a taste of what it is like to learn in a German School.

St Nikolaus, who normally comes on the night of 5th- 6th December, came 3 days early to put some chocolate in the shoes we left outside the door of our hotel rooms.

The German department are very proud of our 84 students from Year 8, 9 and 10 who took it all in their stride. They were fantastic ambassadors for Presdales and our country. I even heard them talking German to each other. Well done to them all!

We hope the pictures give you a flavour of this exciting trip.

German A Level Trip

Monday 10th February

Our A Level German students were determined to get to the evening performance of ‘The Visit’ at the National Theatre. Storm Dennis and the resulting changes in travel plans involved much sprinting to get to the theatre on time! ‘Der Besuch der alten Dame’ or ‘The Visit’ in English was written by the famous Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt and is one of the A Level set texts. The performance was first class and enabled us all to gain a greater understanding of this thought provoking tragicomedy. An enjoyable and memorable evening was had by all.

Mrs Yates

Year 9 French Trip to Nantes

On the morning of Friday 8th November, seventeen Year 9 Presdales students and thirteen Year 9 pupils from Richard Hale set off for France to take part in a French Exchange with the pupils from the Collège Gaston Serpette in Nantes. The seven day trip was a great success and as you can read from the accounts below, the pupils found the experience extremely enjoyable and rewarding.

From the awkward meeting to the emotional departure, the French exchange was a trip to remember for my lifetime. The highlight for me was the group ice skating trip: we ice skated for 3 hours with the French and English correspondents (with a break in the middle to eat crêpes) and it was amazing! I also loved the trips I went on with the family (like going to the beach). My French partner was the best part; she was very good at English and we would chat until late at night about what it’s like in our different countries. The language barrier really didn’t affect us much. Overall it was such a great trip and I made new friends who I would have never have spoken to otherwise.

Adelaide Peart (Year 9)

The French Exchange was like nothing I’d ever done before, but I don’t regret it in the slightest. Of course there were the nerves and excitement before we went, but once there we were welcomed completely. The way things work is slightly different and a little daunting, but learning more about the culture and language is interesting like the way we see crêpes as solely sweet things, but in France they also have savoury crêpes which are honestly delicious. We also did a day out sightseeing at the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany and the machines of the island where we rode a huge mechanical elephant. The whole exchange was an unforgettable experience and, if you can, I would advise you to take this opportunity with open arms.

Evelyn Youngman (Year 9)  

Sixth Form Russian Conference

On Friday 22nd November, a group of sixth form students went to the Russian Conference which took place at Oxford High School. It was a long journey there and back but well worth it! The conference was opened by Dr Roy Allison, lecturer from Oxford University, who gave a speech on the fall of the Soviet Union and Gorbachev`s new thinking. It was a very interesting insight into Russian modern history. Oxford professors Andrew Khan and Julie Curtis continued the conference talking about Russian poetry, starting from Alexander Pushkin all the way through to the symbolism in Alexander Blok`s poems. The highlight of the Conference was the talk given by Sir Christopher Mallaby, the former British Ambassador to West Germany, who was in service during the fall of the Berlin wall. It was tremendously exciting for the students to hear stories about Soviet spies and the behind the scenes work of the British Embassy. All the Presdales students enjoyed the Conference and were very glad to meet up with fellow students from the schools across the UK who also study Russian as an A-level option. It is fair to say that the trip was not only of educational value (mock exams are starting next week!) but also very pleasant.

Mrs O. Parry

Trip to Russia