On Wednesday 9 October, 49 Year 8 pupils from Test Valley School were hosts to 49 French counterparts and 4 teachers from Collège Saint-Exupéry, a secondary school based in Alençon, in Normandy.
The two schools started exchanging letters three years ago across both KS3 and KS4. The MFL Department at Test Valley saw a wonderful opportunity for their pupils and penfriends to meet and extended an invitation to their school in Stockbridge during Saint-Exupéry’s trip to England. During the visit, some of last year’s Y7 pupils were able to meet their penfriends in person but new friendships were also struck.
On arrival, Miss Hiscock, Head Teacher at Test Valley, welcomed the visitors when she was presented with a crystal ornament, as well as posters that French pupils had prepared about their school and which will be displayed around Test Valley School to commemorate their visit. With the help of the MFL Lead Learners, visitors were taken to the different Departments thus giving French pupils a flavour of English school life. Test Valley Teachers’ supported the visit by welcoming the visitors into their classroom and interacting in French with them. Mr Rider, Head of the Maths Department, led part of his lesson in French with the help of a visiting teacher.
Activities were also organised during which pupils were paired with their foreign partners. A music workshop offered the chance for pupils to get to know each other better to the rhythm of Samba music and the new bi-lingual ensemble performed in a parade around the school. French pupils discovered Drama during their visit as this subject is not part of the French curriculum. The drama workshop brought pupils together when they mimed unexpected events and played detective games. Table tennis was a very successful activity which brought an element of fun and competition to the visit. A great time was had by all.
Upon their departure, our visitors were full of praise for our school, staff and pupils. Comments from some of our Y8 pupils involved in the visit confirm the success of this event. Charlotte’s words summarise it well:
‘I thought that the French day was fun and a great experience for both of us’
Now that the first half-term is nearly over, Year 7 pupils will soon be starting their penfriend exchange as well as the other groups at Test Valley School in the hope that this enriching experience will be able to take place once again.