Over eighty Year 8 students travelled to Normandy in March as part of their Modern Language and History studies.
Staying at the Chateau du Molay in the picturesque Normandy countryside, students were treated to a vast array of trips, visits and cultural experiences to deepen their understanding of French culture, history and language. Day one heralded an outing to the historically significant town of Bayeux, allowing students to try out their French language skills at a typical French street market, before travelling to the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux to see the world famous Bayeux Tapestry. After taking in the stunning views from the top of the Chateau Guillaume le Conquerant Falaise (the birth place of William the Conqueror), students travelled to the largest British cemetery in France where 4,648 Allied troops are buried having fallen in the Second World War. It was here that one student, Grace Heyward, made an unexpected and emotional discovery; the grave of one of her relatives. It was a moment that Grace will never forget: “I couldn’t quite believe that I had found the grave of one of my relatives; Private Harold Watkins. Finding him was a very emotional moment for me; to think that I was standing in his final resting place was simply indescribable. Seeing his grave with the other men he fought and fell with has truly made me think differently about how I live my life and how lucky I am to be where I am now.”
Day two of the visit continued in a humbling theme with visits to German Cemeteries and The Point du Hoc, with its opportunity to see an actual battlefield with gun emplacements and crater holes from 1945. The D-Day museum gave students the chance to bring the whole story together with extremely detailed models and helpful guides. The highlight of the trip for many students and staff was the Arromanches 360 cinema; a totally immersing experience allowing visitors to be surrounded by images and voices from the Second World War.
The trip was a real success, one which trip organiser and History Team Leader, Kalie Dowling, will never forget: “The students were afforded an amazing cultural and historical opportunity, of which they took total advantage. The trip has allowed a greater understanding of their subjects and helped the studies really come alive. All the staff at Newton Abbot College were extremely proud of the students’ engagement and enthusiasm; they represented themselves in a fantastic fashion and we look forward to organising similar trips in the future.”