Sunday, 24 April 2016

Dear readers,

Here is the final blog for this year's French Exchange trip.

Let's start where we left, the home bound journey. Despite a delay in our departure and a more stormy crossing, we docked in Portsmouth on time (6.45am) and after going through customs smoothly, we finally boarded our coach Llanidloes bound where we arrived at 1.15pm as you all know.

Final Thoughts

I hope your child/children has/have enjoyed the experience. I certainly did as they have been all a credit to our school and to you parents. They have embraced the experience with maturity and taken everything offered to them in their stride.

For the politicians and other educational authority people who think that a school trip, let alone a French Exchange, is nothing but a holiday, or an excuse to take time off from the curriculum,  here is what our pupils have covered this week in various subjects.

On top of French, I did try to have some other subjects included during our stay:
  • PE – Canoe, bowling and laser games.
  • Geography - with some directions and name of region. In St Nazaire we talked about countries, we looked at different routes the big liners took in the past.
  • Maths - even if not apparent, we had to refer to a timetable to choose which show to watch and at what time, also we had to think how many show will we be able to watch during our limited time in the Park. 
  • History - Everything we saw today did relate to a certain era in history from the Roman era to the time in the Trenches.
  • RE - The triumph sign in Le Puy du Fouwhere we saw Christians being persecuted by the Roman because they didn’t believe in the same God.
  • Music - We listen to French radio, but more importantly, we all join in as last choir to sing the Welsh anthem, Claon Lan and Sosban bach.
  • As for Welsh, I keep using my small incidental Cymraeg phrases, although the pupils kept telling me off by saying that we were in France after all!
  • Not to despair as the rest of the curriculum has been covered during some of the lessons your children attended on the Monday like Science, D&T, English and even PSRE, as well as during visits to Nantes and the Aquarium of St Malo
To conclude, I would like to thank various people without whom this trip wouldn't have been possible:

  • to John Adams  and John Griffiths who have helped me in many ways during the trip,
  • to the host families back in France for such a warm welcome,
  • to the "directrice", Mme Persehais of Collège St Jopseph, for the warm welcome and the guided tour of the school,
  • to LHS HeadTeacher, Mrs Harries and Deputy Mrs Taylor for allowing the trip to go and helping finalising it,
  • to the staff of the French school for allowing our pupils to take part in their lessons,
  • to the staff at Llanidloes High School, same as above as well as for some for hosting the French pupils back in October,
  • to you, parents, for allowing your child/children to take part in this adventure and for some of you to have hosted back in October,
  • to the pupils who have behaved sensibly and maturely during the trip, I will never stop saying it but they made Llanidloes High School and myself proud!
  • to Owen's Travelmaster company who provided us with transport,
  • to Jeremy our driver who had to cope with me more than the pupils!!!
  • last but not least, to Anaïck Goujon who, after I gave her my wish list of visits, has concocted the best itinerary ever.

To all the people above, a massive THANK YOU from me.

That is all from me for this year. The next Exchange will occur in 18 months from now, in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed following us throughout our venture, please feel free to add some comments below.

Your blogger,

P.S.:to follow, the pupils comments about their trip to Derval, France.

Dear Readers,

We have now returned and you must have heard it all from your child. But as your blogger it is my duty to complete the story of our ventures here, so with no further ado here it is...

On Thursday evening, after our encounter with various creatures from the world of Jules Vernes and a huge elephant, we were going to have a mini "competition" between France and Wales. We will call it the "Friendly Twos". Two because there were two nations and two events: Laser game and Bowling.
78 pupils and some teachers travelled to the nearby town of Redon to a bowling alley which only opened for us (N.B. The boys from the boarding school who came in October joined us for the evening).The two managers, by the way, only expected 48... Misunderstanding somewhere... We had a two-hour slot which, looking at the number, changed into a three-hour slot to ensure everyone had the same amount in the laser activity.
To keep the spirit of the exchange, French and British were mixed up and where possible, your child went in the same team as his pen friend.

Because of the nature of the laser game, it was virtually impossible to take picture but everyone had so much fun including the teachers!

As for the bowling, here id a sample of the pictures taken that evening:

A good evening by all as there were so much laughters in the place. Here are some more pictures, but this time of groups:

A special presentation to a special person was done at the end of the evening. We all pinch in and bought a card and flowers for Mme Anaïck Goujon who is the one who made all this week happening!

To keep in welsh tradition, on their way way out, ours pupils started singing the Welsh anthem followed by Calon lan. When the owners heard that they asked for a private concert, which the kids were more than happy to comply with :-)

We all went home tired but with a wide smile on our face :-D

Friday, April 22nd

It was time to say goodbye, all the families and pen friends were there to wave us goodbye. Lots of friendships have formed and it was sad to leave the people who hosted us so greatly :-(

However, our venutres weren't over yet, we still had an aquarium to visit and a stroll around the beautiful town of St Malo to do... Eventhough we were beyond tired !!!

In the Aquarium, we had a guided tour, which appeared afterwards a bit too much despite a great guide who wanted to share lots of facts and anecdotes about various fish and animals there.

Here are some pictures from there:

After a short lunch at the aquarium, we all went to St Malo to do our final shopping and walk around town. Some went for a final crèpe or galette, other for an nice warm cup of hot chocolate.

I was then time to head to the ferry to make our journey back to homeland. Goodbye France, it has been a great experience. Merci beaucoup :-)

The last leg of our journey will be published later on today along with the final thought and the pupils comments...

To be continued...

Your blogger,