Sharing Caring Achieving Together

Thursday in Belgium

Everyone got up, got prepared for the day and had their fill of breakfast. They were prepared for the trip to Brussels and were looking forward to this and were quite excited when on their way. There was a short walk to the complex where the museum was. It was a museum about European history leading towards the EU. From the pupils’ point of view, it was an interesting opportunity to explore technology and interact with movies and photos. They really enjoyed putting on the ear pieces and finding the symbols which triggered events. For Chrissy and Ian it provided an opportunity to reminisce about the eighties!! They had lunch in the complex and the group enjoyed the warm surroundings.

In the afternoon they were taken around Brussels. They visited an early version of a shopping mall (gallery) where some bought some chocolates. After this they then went to a town square and were amazed to find such beauty. Everyone was in awe with the gold encrusted buildings and the tall architecture. After a chance to explore the area they were then taken to the infamous statue of the weeing boy.

The week has been one of discovery and learning. The amount of independence and general brilliance has been astounding. The group has consistently, and without exception, been amazing ambassadors. They’ve mixed with others, been amazingly brave and grown in stature. Everyone connected with the pupils should be proud; the school community as a whole is proud.

Tomorrow is going to be a long one for the group. They are being picked up at 7:30 for their journey home. Everyone is looking forward to being back with family. A huge thank you to the staff who have given up their time to support the pupils on this residential. I’m sure staff and pupils alike will be ready for their half term break.

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Wednesday in Belgium

Everyone slept amazingly well again – right through the night, though they were all quite pleased to have a lay in for an hour this morning. The morning started at a local print works, called Fablab. Ian thought it meant ‘fabulous lab’, but it turned out to mean ‘fabrication lab’!! The group were really interested in this. They explored some items made, such as a dice, a skull and a map of Belgium from a 3D printer and also some from a laser cutter. It certainly grabbed their attention. It also worried them as it cost 60,000 – certainly more than the budget of this trip!!… Impeccable is the word to use for the pupils, as ever. When things were too busy or too noisy, they opted to go out for periods of time and still remained focused.

They then headed into Andenne central and decided to look for a waffle shop – Belgium is the home of waffles. They tried, in vain yesterday, but today they made the discovery which solved that mystery – waffles has a different word in Belgium – gaufre! Very quickly they found the right shop and made their choices… they had waffles plain, with chocolate or with banana and chantilly cream. Everyone tried something. Soon after it was lunch and they ate that too! The hosts in Belgium have been fabulous and have tried really hard to ensure that they provide food that everyone could eat, and eat it they have done!

Once lunch was finished, they were taken to a sports ground which served as a hub for them to explore Andenne and find out answers to questions. They used tablets and maps. Ian ‘cheated’ a bit and resorted to Google maps!! They managed to find 3 out of 5 answers but ran out of time. They enjoyed walking around and finding some of the interesting things about the country. The group interacted really well and displayed excellent road safety awareness. They got back in the nick of time as it started to drizzle.

Tuesday in Belgium

The pupils slept really well throughout the night – again, most welcome by the staff! The day started on a confusing note for Ian as his watch seemed to rest itself so he thought he was woken at 6 a.m. by one of the boys….. but it turned out to be 7 a.m!! …so they all got up.

At 9 a.m. they left for the Computer Museum – it was in a converted sports hall. A nice elderly man took them around the first part. Some of things he told them were a bit difficult to understand but everyone was fantastic and tried ever so hard to stay with him. Some needed small breaks, which was fine. There were so many buttons to press but they weren’t allowed to touch anything ….. but sometimes the temptation became too much!! After this, they were with another curator who took them through a graphics workshop from years ago. They were amazed to learn that many machines that took up a large room were now replaced by a computer and a printer.

When the museum tour was finished they were taken to Nemur. Here they had lunch in a slightly brisk cold wind. After a few bites they abandoned that and found refuge in a local cafe. They bought drinks there and had their packed lunch. They were then given a task to take 10 interesting and funny photos. With the cold wind, they weren’t so keen on going to town but concentrated on finding things that were interesting. Sometimes one of them (generally Ian) would strike a pose and that seemed to amuse their Belgian hosts. Everyone was absolutely fantastic and the staff continued to be so proud and impressed with the efforts of the pupils.

Towards the end of the afternoon they were invited to a ‘laser tag’ event which some took part in whilst others chatted about the day, did some colouring and generally relaxed. It was a nice end to the day’s activity.  In the evening, they had carrot soup, a fish and rice dish, with a peculiar (though very tasty) green goop! …they think it was a spinach and potato mash. The meal was delicious. It has been lovely how well our pupils are integrating with those from both Romania and Poland.

Tomorrow is a slightly later start, at 10am. What an interesting day that promises to be and you’ll be kept posted!

Monday in Belgium

The day started early. The boys were up fairly early but, to be fair to them, they slept right the way through the night, which was appreciated!! The morning took the group by surprise as after being promised a dry week, the first morning drizzle was a disappointment. A coach took the group to our local link school and they were greeted, in the corridor, by two rows of children singing to them and the other school groups (a Polish and a Romanian group). They then settled down and the Head, Yan, took them through some French and English. It was good to see how well the pupils coped as it was really cramped and hot!! One needed a break and quick run in the cool drizzle did wonders! They were then offered waffles, which were appreciated. There was a tour of another school and they did some running in the sports hall. Everyone enjoyed that part in particular and it was great to see some pupils mixing with the other schools.

After lunch, which was pumpkin soup along with some bread and cheese they did a fact finding activity which involved walking around Sailles (the local village). The map wasn’t easy to follow but 3 of the Belgium children acted as guides and our group decided to use Google translation and asked for various localities, which were found with relative ease once they ignored the maps. Our group were pleased that they completed the puzzle first! An unexpected surprise was announced midway through the afternoon when they were invited to the town hall for a reception. The staff said how fantastic everyone was. A reasonable amount of talking (in French) and they all watched patiently.

The evening took its usual course. A couple of the boys played a version of pool and constructed some unusual tunes on the piano. Sometimes quiet; often loud. It was enjoyable. The remaining pupils were quite content to either interact with the others or stick to their own activities and find their own space. A proud day for them all.

Residential in Belgium

A small groups of students and staff left St Albans train station this morning on their way to Belgium for the week. The trip is part of our Erasmus Plus project. The group are staying in Andenne and are linking with the other school groups from Belgium, Poland and Romania who are also part of the project. They are currently all excitedly waiting at St Pancras International to get on the Eurostar …..but the train is delayed by 30 minutes.

Harvest Assembly

On Monday 15th October we held our Harvest Assembly in school. Lizzie, our local Vicar, and Michelle from DENS came along and joined us for the assembly, as did some parents and friends. Everyone joined in well with singing and signing our Harvest songs, and the pupils who did the readings did very well. Thank you to everyone who sent in donations of food for the Harvest, all of which went to DENS. After the Assembly the pupils took part in making a range of food ready for the Harvest Supper which we held in the hall in the afternoon. An enjoyable day had by all.

Residential: Day 6 in Poland

A great last day. We had a farewell meet together with the Polish head teacher and all schools where we were presented with gift bags. We then went to the special needs school which was lovely. It was nice to see how they prioritise life skills and the cooking department was very effective. There was a well equipped gym and we enjoyed trying out the different machines and exercises. We played some team games such as tug of war and relay races before leaving for a nice meal. It has truly been a wonderful experience for all involved and Woodfield staff and students really have been a credit to the school. Now for the journey home and a well deserved restful half term.