The acquisition of a foreign language offers students an appreciation of other cultures and societies, the ability to converse confidently with native speakers on holiday and, of course most importantly, it opens many avenues for further study in the Sixth Form, at university and for the world of work.
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I had no idea what to expect for the next 19 days but on the 12th July 2017 we said goodbye to our anxious parents and set off on a coach to Heathrow airport for a once in a lifetime opportunity. The good spirit didn’t last long as 2 hours into the trip the coach broke down, but at least it gave us a chance to grab one last McDonalds before we headed off. With the first mishap out of the way, we were set to go on a brand-new luxury coach, all the way to our first destination to start the expedition.
The excitement of over a year’s fundraising and team building exercises had lead up to the moment the plane left the runway, we were heading off for “darkest Peru” as Paddington would say.
After 3 flights, many aeroplane meals and almost 24 hours travelling we finally arrived at Cusco airport. With all the hustle and bustle of the new and wonderful surroundings it was hard to take in this new eye-opening world that we had just entered that was so different from our own.
Hello, I am Harvey Best and I am here to talk about the school French trip with the 'Draper and Co Holidays Team' (DaCHT).
Now, to begin, I was one of the students lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit the great country of France. It was 'wunderbar’, as the French would say. To start, I must rate the 'Draper and Co Travel package' as more than satisfactory, as their main priorities to ensure all the students had comfort, relaxation and, most of all, pit stops throughout the entirety of the journey. The coach driver, Neil, was a very pleasant man with very good humour and was very good when it came to putting up with a bunch of annoying kids on a coach for 20 hours (which is a job only the best of the best can do).
Then we move onto the 'Draper and Co Lodging and PGL package' which, again, was of very good standards. The Château was a lovely art-deco, pre 19th century style building with lots of acreage of land to facilitate sleeping quarters, badminton nets and football pitch, etc. The staff from PGL were very caring and our rep, Gregor, was a very fun chap from Scotland (which was good because it meant you didn't really have to speak too much French).
The final part of the review looks at the 'Draper and Co excursions and trips package' which was very good indeed. The old town that we visited, Fougères, was lovely and many crêpes were available for those who craved them. The beach was a very pleasant day out, even in spite of the rain, and the trip to the hypermarket gave all the students a top-notch chance to buy gifts, presents and plenty of scran for the journey home.
Overall, the 'Draper and Co Holiday Team' organize an extremely good trip and I would highly recommend that every student should give it a go.
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School was out by 3.15pm on Thursday 26th May and most of us spent the rest of the afternoon waiting until midnight so we could get on the road to France. We had to arrive at school on the Thursday night at 11:55pm, prompt! Our suitcases were put on the coach as we got ready for a 16 hour journey, aiming to arrive at the PGL château at 5:30pm the following day. We waved goodbye to our parents and loved ones and we were on our way. When the time came for lights out, we were all tired but everybody was far too excited to sleep!
At lunchtime on the Friday, we stopped in a beautiful town called Honfleur and bought sandwiches and ice cream. The sun was shining and it was scorching hot, which was a lovely surprise! After lunch, it was quite hard getting back onto the coach because it was so hot and stuffy... Thankfully, Miss Farrimond had imposed a ban on stinky food so at least we didn’t have to cope with that too!
Before we left on the trip, we were given the chance to choose our roommates so we were all very excited to get the chance to spend the weekend with our friends, and some of us were able to make new ones! Once we arrived at the PGL château, we were given some free time to unpack and settle into our rooms. All of the rooms had bunk beds and ensuite bathrooms, but we barely spent any time in there because we were so busy with all of the other activities!
Trekking and Volunteering in Venezuela – A trip that embodied the school ethos ‘ Opportunity, Resilience and Respect’
In July 24 of our year 11 and 12 pupils embarked upon what proved to be the trip of a lifetime. Mollie Hesketh tells us about the groups experiences.
I had no idea what to expect for the next twenty-five days as I took my journey to Manchester Airport on the very early morning of 18th July 2015. Like many others on the trip, I had read and re-read the itinerary of the Venezuela Lost World Expedition, but nothing could have truly explained to us the fun and sheer excitement that we were going to experience over the next few weeks. For the majority of us, we had been fundraising for the trip since December 2013, and finally here we were: headed to Venezuela.
At 3:00AM we met with our twenty-four fellow students and three teachers; Mr. Halliwell, Ms. Farrimond and Miss. Dodgeon. After some emotional farewells, we departed from our anxious families to embark on the lengthy journey across the world, with nothing but two backpacks in hand. From Manchester we took the short flight to Paris, where we then boarded the plane to take us on our 10 hour journey to Caracas Airport. Here, we were greeted by our tour leader, Carlos, who welcomed us with a friendly smile. He led us to the buses that were going to take us to our overnight stay in a seaside resort about 40 minutes away from Caracas. Enthusiasm and anticipation filled the bus and continued as we entered the luxurious hotel for our one night stay, where we changed our $100 for 35,000 Venezuelan Bolivar. However, none of us were quite as enthusiastic about the 3:30AM start scheduled for the next morning, due to the need to return to Caracas Airport to board our commercial flight to Ciudad Bolivar. This was followed by a one and a half hour journey in a Cessna; a five passenger plane. The flight offered an incredible opportunity to see the beautiful sight of miles upon miles of rural Venezuela and Tepuis, as we flew from the populated city to the entirely isolated camp.