Students from Cirencester's twin town in Germany visit Deer Park.
On Tuesday 12 September we were delighted to welcome a party of 72 pupils and 4 teachers from the Sophie Scholl Gymnasium in Itzehoe, Cirencester’s twin town in Germany. A link between the two schools was established a number of years ago and it has become something of a tradition that when the Itzehoe students visit the UK, they spend a day in Cirencester.
The visitors were split into two groups and either spent the morning experiencing lessons and life in an English secondary school with Deer Park pupils, or went for a walk in Cirencester, led by members of the Cirencester Twinning Association committee, and worked with pupils at Powell’s Primary School; at lunchtime the groups swapped and we welcomed another group to Deer Park.
It was interesting to discover that German pupils do not have Drama or Catering lessons until they are in the upper years, and one German pupil was heard to exclaim that German lessons were boring in comparison to those at Deer Park! Our visitors experienced a variety of lessons with their English peers, including Art, Science, English, ICT, PE, Drama and Geography.
The visiting teachers were given a guided tour of the school by Community Action pupils and they were impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of the pupils regarding their school. They found it hard to believe that their guides were Year 8 pupils who had been at Deer Park for only one year!
The two groups met up at the end of the day for their coaches to take them back to Bath, where they were based. After only a few hours spent together, Deer Park and Sophie Scholl pupils had developed friendships, and were heard saying they would be in touch via social media.
"All the Germans were very friendly and interested in us, and asked lots of questions. They made me speak some German and helped me improve."
"I loved the experience - it helped me to get to grips with the natural language and even by the end exchanged social media."
"Our visitors were very friendly. My partner enjoyed my English lesson."
"It was interesting to experience an afternoon with people my age from a different culture. It was exciting to learn the differences between our cultures whilst overcoming language barriers."
"It was so fun to meet someone my age from Germany and was very interesting learning about how different we were. We will keep in contact and it’s great to say that I have a friend in Germany!"
It was a pleasure to host Sophie Scholl pupils and teachers and we believe that the Deer Park pupils, who are all studying German, were also enriched by the experience of spending time with similarly aged students from another country, language and culture.
Ms Henson, Headteacher, commented "We are always pleased to host students from our partner schools across the globe and this sharing of experience with young people from Cirencester's twin town, Itzehoe, reflects an important aspect of the global dimension embedded across our curriculum. These international friendships are critical in helping our pupils understand the world around them, gain insights into how children learn in different countries, and an appreciation of the common issues they share with others. Another group of Deer Park linguists set off for our partner school in Cádiz on 26 September."
Head of Languages, Mrs Miller, said "It is always a pleasure to welcome the pupils and staff from Itzehoe. Our pupils look forward to the opportunity to practise their German and to gain an insight into another school outside of the UK. Both sets of pupils enjoyed the experience, gaining confidence in their ability to speak another language as the day went on. Many swapped social media contact details to enable them to continue their new-found friendship."