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.
“39 LADIES AND GEORGE”
New York / Washington Trip
From Friday 21st October to Thursday 27th October, 40 sixth form students (“39 ladies and George” according to our American tour guide) and 4 members of staff reacquainted themselves with the United States of America after 4 long years apart. The trip involved 2 days in New York taking in the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Top of the Rock, Central Park & Times Square among other sites and 3 days in Washington DC visiting Capitol Hill, Arlington Cemetery, Georgetown, the Washington Monument etc.
The group stop the traffic in Times Square
Listening to “Imagine” beside the tribute to Lennon in Central park
New York by night
Getting wet saying hello to Sleepy Joe
Outside the Supreme Court – luckily the justices weren’t at home!
At Grand Central Station
Year 12 Textiles Research Trip, June 9th 2022
On Thursday 9th June, the Year 12 students went on a Fashion & Textiles research trip into London. Our first stop was the flagship Alexander McQueen shop on Old Bond Street. Here we looked at fabulous fashion – a cloud inspired shirt which costs £690, amazing brightly coloured evening dresses and intricately embroidered gowns and artwork inspired by them. There was a really amazing display of masks, hairpieces, drawings, woven hangings … a great start to our afternoon in London.
We then headed to High Street Kensington to visit the Design Museum. Here we looked at sustainable fashion by fashion designer Bethany Williams.
This new exhibition embraces the discussion of social and environmental issues. There were some fabulous fashion design creations using materials like postal bags, denim, old ribbon and foil, packaging, to design modern and stylish streetwear.
Part of the exhibition showed Williams’ response to the pandemic, and she created PPE wear for hospital workers in the Midlands.
The last stop on our trip was Japan House. Here we saw beautiful and delicate Japanese artefacts, fabrics, food packaging, books, and kitchenware. We then went in to see an exhibition, Symbiosis: Living Island.
This living art project has transformed the landscape of the island of Inujima and enriched the lives of its inhabitants. There were models of buildings and structures in graphic materials, and a calm atmosphere with Japanese music and photos of this serene island.
The day was a really good mix of culture, textiles, fashion, and art, and the students were really positive and mature. We all enjoyed our day in London and were hopefully inspired by it.
Presdales DofE Silver Practice Expedition (21st -23rd April)
Wow! Just Wow! What an absolutely fantastic experience this was. When I drove up to the start location (slightly delayed having been caught in the early morning rush hour!) I arrived to see a sea of Presdales students, all brightly coloured in their high vis jackets, waterproofs and fleeces, ready and waiting in their teams, eager to get started with their first day on expedition. The weather was perfect, and the fresh morning air was filled with the buzz of excited chatter and laughter as participants compared equipment and tested the weight of one another’s backpacks. After registering the teams, they were met by their instructors who handed out tents, stoves and maps and briefed them about their routes for the first day. Before we knew it, the teams were waving goodbye and setting out into the woods!
The first day was long and tough with unexpectedly warm weather and strong sunshine which added to the challenge. Groups were reminded regularly to reapply sun cream and hydrate but all reached the finish with flushed faces (some more so than others!) and in need of a sit down in the shade! The wind started to pick up and participants were tasked to building up the camp and cooking their suppers on their stoves. For some, this was their first experience of camping and cooking in the outdoors but they learnt quickly with the guidance and support from instructors and from those who had done their Bronze last year.
The hot food and drink as well as removing their heavy boots gave some participants a second wind and soon there were games of volleyball and rounders happening on the field. Koa, the Gold Retriever, invented her own game of stealing all of the tennis balls and thoroughly enjoyed making the year 10s chase her to get them back!
By sundown, the day’s exertion was taking its toll and participants began peeling off to snuggle down in their tents. All was quiet by 10pm and the camp looked magical with the 50 orange tents glowing in the moonlight under the stars.
It’s safe to say here that 06:30 wakeup call was unpopular. Camping with 3 to a tent is never particularly comfortable and the lack of a good night’s sleep combined with the chilly morning mist and aching bodies made it even tougher for the participants to leave their sleeping bags and begin building down the camp. Despite this, by 09:00, participants were smiling again and kitted up and ready to set out on day 2.
The second day pushed participants further as they were required to navigate themselves from checkpoint to checkpoint over a distance of approximately 18km. Instructors remained at a distance to give participants more independence and to build on the skills that they had learnt the previous day. All took this challenge in their stride and groups began flocking into the 2nd campsite as early at 15:00!
Dorney Wood Campsite was stunning with forest, fields and an impressive firepit which felt more like an amphitheatre! Students pitched their tents and cooked supper with more confidence that night and by 20:00, it was time for the bonfire!
All 72 participants gathered in their groups around the campfire and it was moving to see them all happily discussing the day’s events whilst warming themselves and toasting marshmallows. Harry and Steve, two of our instructors, provided the night’s entertainment by playing Eric Clapton on the guitar and telling ghost stories. It truly was one of the best nights on expedition we have ever had and any of the instructors said the same.
The final day began bright and early and participants were up and out with speed, eager to reach the finish line! It was wonderful to see the emotional reunion at the finish location as the parents arrived to bring the participants home and although it was sad it was over, we were all ready to get home for a shower and good night’s sleep!
I’d just like to finish by saying that it was thanks to the students that this expedition was such a success. Although they were separated into expedition groups, there was a real feeling of togetherness, warmth and respect which isn’t always seen on large expeditions such as this one. Every student looked out for those around them and were ready to stop for a break, offer help and share the load wherever it was needed and I felt proud of every single one of them.
I am really looking forward to the qualifying expedition in July and hope that the students are too.
We have had a brilliant sunny weekend at PGL with the Year 7 and 8 netball teams! The girls have played some excellent netball and competed against 12 schools in each year group. The girls came in the following positions;
Year 7A – Champions
Year 7B – 3rd place
Year 7C – 10th place
Year 8A – runners up
Year 8B – 3rd place