Saturday, 15 February 2014

Whitley Academy French Trip to Lille February 2014

Our return visit to ‘Collège Jean-Mermoz’ in Faches-Thumesnil, Lille
Arriving at 10.30am having travelled through the night by coach and ferry the Whitley Academy students coped remarkably well. After a very warm welcome which included some amusing drama sketches prepared by the French students, there was a fact finding hunt around the school. Gifts exchanged, it was time for lunch, a menu prepared especially for their English visitors. 
The afternoon was dedicated to three group lessons taking part in lessons learning about World War I, Eco-Schools and Designing their ideal school after a quiz to learn about the differences between our two schools. Finally, some of the students played a mini basketball tournament before we headed off to check into the hotel. 
Saturday kicked off with a guided tour around Lille before the students and teachers were given some free time to explore the sights further by themselves, do some shopping and/or taste the delights of French cuisine.
Sunday started with a few student nerves apprehensive about going off to spend the day with the French students’ families. However, on returning they had clearly had had a great time and students were heard saying it was the best day of the trip so far, how much they had enjoyed it and how much French they had spoken!! Some had been rock climbing, others bowling, visiting a Buddist temple, eating out in local restaurants, playing video games, some true Anglo-French friendships formed. 
After packing up and leaving the hotel, the last day was spent again with the French school visiting three cemeteries along the coast of France and Belgium to commemorate 100 years since the start of the First World War. We paid our respects by reading poems together, laying a wreath where many British soldiers were buried and singing songs with the help of French student musicians. 
The Canadian monument at ‘Crête-de-Vimy’ was incredible and untouched by the Germans in the Second World War due to Hitler having fought there in the First World War. The scarred landscape from the perpetual bombing and explosions is now covered with Principal: Mrs L Allen BSC. Hons. MBA. FRSA Abbey Road, Coventry, CV3 4BD Telephone: 024 7630 2580 Fax: 024 7663 9352 Email: Fulfilling potential, achieving excellence, broadening opportunity thousands of pine trees planted to honour the Canadian soldiers - one for every life lost and new trees planted every time one dies to ensure every soldier whose name is etched around the base of the monument is remembered. So many lives in fact that the French donated the portion of land in front of the memorial to Canada - so our students can even say they have visited part of Canada too on this trip! 
At the Notre-Dame de Lorette Necropole, a national memorial to over 40,000 soldiers who died in this region, we visited a fascinating museum took us on a journey underground to get an insight to what it must have been like to live in the trenches. Wax work models were adorned with the finest examples of uniforms, equipment and memorabilia from the First World War. Further historic photographs were available to view in 3D whilst we had a picnic with the French school before heading back to Calais to catch the ferry home. 
Watch the news in November this year when our Queen and the French President will be going there to inaugurate a new circular memorial to become the largest in existence with the names of all the soldiers from the region who died in the First World War, no matter which country they fought for – Belgian, British, French, German, Moroccan, Polish, Romanian or Russian. 
A truly memorable French experience for everyone, we would like to extend our gratitude to our partner school teachers, students and their families for their kindness and efforts which made our visit educational, interesting and fun.
 MFL Department
View our photos here

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sir Richard Lambert Visit's Whitley Academy

Sir Richard Lambert – current Chancellor of Warwick University and the Head of ‘Banking Standards Review’ set up by the current government paid a visit to Whitley Academy on Wednesday 12th February 2014
The opportunity for Sir Richard to visit our school, Whitley Academy, was kindly given to us by the very popular charity Speakers for Schools.
His visit was 8:30am to 10:30am. It was designed in two parts: his talk to the Key Stage 4 and Post 16 students and the second part was for the chat show hosted by young students aged 11.
Telegraph Report

This is what our students, Ellie and Wiki Year 7 thought about the visit:
“At the start of the day we had a few worries because it was slightly stormy outside. However Mrs Nguyen reassured us that Sir Richard would come and fortunately she was correct. We were all excited about what subjects he would bring up.
He explained about his childhood and how important it was to do well when you are younger to get the jobs you want when you are older.
He told us that his parents had now passed away but they were very ambitious for him, and how at the time, he thought there was no real point in doing well.
He then talked about how lucky he was to get a position at the Bank of England. He reflected on how it was good that he had done maths well or else he might have never been offered this opportunity.
Sir Richard also advised us what personal qualities you need to have in the future to get offered jobs an d what bosses want in their employees. He said that employers are looking for determination and passion in their employees.
He also shared with us the time he went to a boys’ boarding school in Edinburgh. A part of the reason was his Dad worked in Edinburgh and this boarding school was famous for producing rugby players. He teased that this school was full of boys and was in the middle of town but it did not bother him at all.
Later on we asked him about his … first date… but he said it was a long time ago and he did not remember
We all loved Sir Richard’s visit and have learnt a lot from his experience. Many of us feel better as we don’t feel stressed out when exam seasons come up. It was a day we will never forget.”

Please listen to our students interviewing Sir Richard Lambert here

Video Clip of the Assembly hall talk can be viewed here