A message from the group at Foxes:
It has been a busy and fantastic day. The day started at 7:30. Everyone was up and ready so quickly and the levels of independence continue to impress. Breakfast was different for some – it was a buffet – and everyone enjoyed what was offered.
In the morning, after a very short break, we all cleaned out our rooms. Again it was impressive how independent everyone was and how confident too. It was especially great to see how those new to the experience adapted so well. We listened to Helen who works at Foxes and explained what the tasks were to involve. It was interesting to note that things had changed a bit from previous years as they were learning from their own contacts and experiences from working with other hotels and their work experiences.
We took advantage of a break until the afternoon session to delve into deepest Minehead. Everyone was given the opportunity to get a souvenir. After lunch in a local eatery, we wandered down to the seafront and looked into the penny arcades. It was a fantastic experience for our pupils to be involved in. As it was off season it wasn’t busy and everyone had the chance to look around without the pressures of crowds. It was lovely to see the students brave enough to have a go.
In the afternoon we dressed into uniforms and were split into 2 pairs – one pair started off with food preparation and the other with food service (setting tables). It is no exaggeration to say how impressive the students were. The theme of the day was independence (and this continued) but it was also lovely to see a lot of problem solving going on. The 2 groups swapped over after about half an hour.
For dinner, we ate with the staff. The students sat with peers from Foxes and it was fantastic to see a lot of socialising going on between the groups.
To say that we are proud of the group would be an understatement. We have had high expectations and they’ve been exceeded on so many levels.
We only have one more overnight left and will spend most of the day coming back. There are so many memories already and we look forward to going back to Woodfield bursting with pride.
Today a small group of students and staff left school at the scheduled time and started on their way to Foxes Academy in Minehead. It was a great start and everyone said bye to Woodfield with a sense of anticipation of the journey ahead of them.
Halfway through the journey they stopped at a MacDonald’s and everyone, with varying degrees of support, managed to order their own feast. The staff there were fantastic and they cannot be commended enough for working hard with our students and giving them time.
The group arrived late afternoon. The sky was murky. It was cold. They were all excited. Waiting in the newly refurbished bar, they had a drink and waited patiently for their rooms. This was a smooth process and everyone carried their own luggage into their rooms and sorted out beds themselves. The weather turned at this point and there was hail and heavy rain.
Suddenly there was a gap in the weather and they went for a walk down the promenade. As they reached the harbour, the rain returned. With few options, they headed into the local pub and had fruit juices!! It was warm. It was welcoming. It was a haven from the storm. They were acutely aware that dinner was ready at 6:00 and, as luck would have it, another gap appeared in the weather and they completed the 10 minute walk back to the hotel. For dinner there were choices for each course and these were made. The staff at Foxes were kind enough to make sausages for one of the group and these were devoured heartily, just as everyone else did with their meals. It very was all too much for Ian and he opted out of pudding!!
Today has been a reminder to everyone how wonderfully capable our students are. With the right preparation, so much can be achieved. The staff are so proud of them all.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.