Our Year 9 excursion to Normandy took record numbers this year with well over 100 students travelling down to Chateau Beaumont near Lavel in Normandy.

The long journey down went via the Portsmouth to Caen ferry route – enabling a break on the ferry to watch movies, grab food and to hang out with friends – before a 3 hour trip down to the chateau. The bus trip was also broken up by every student getting the chance to talk one-to-one with the Headteacher over their progress at school and where they were heading as they looked towards their GCSE-level courses.

The first day saw a trip to Lavel Market and a hypermarket in order to practice the Fench and to stock up on snacks and family gifts. The afternoon activities were re-jigged due to threatening thunderstorms affecting the local water park, but instead we engaged in a range of great activities at the chateau, including zip-lining, archery, blind walk, and climbing. We then went for a walk around local hills, woods and villages to get a sense of the locale.

The second day saw visit to the incredible Mont St Michel – the inspiration for the stunning castle in ‘Tangled’. Next was a visit to St Malo, with a trek around the fortified city beachside walls, and then free time around the city’s hops, beaches and marinas. The journey home just got us back in time to see the England v Slovakia game.

The journey back went via the Calais to Dover crossing – a shorter ferry journey this time – and then the haul up to the Midlands for a not-as-late-as-normal return at school.

Charlie Simpson, Head of French, said: “The trip was a wonderful experience for the students who by and large were excellent throughout. Taking over 100 teenagers away is never restful but the chateau team spoke glowingly of the group, their willingness to talk openly in both English and French, and their courtesy, positively and willingness to get involved. We are already looking to plan a trip next year and look forward to presenting the opportunity to the current Year 8s.”