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German Exchange Visit 2017

We had an amazingly successful Exchange Visit from our Global German Partner in Year 5, Evangelishe Grundschule Babelsberg from June 12th -16th, now in our second year of our partnership. It began on Monday evening when their plane landed at Bristol (30 German pen pals and 5 teaching staff led by Irina). They made really good time arriving by 8:30pm to settle into their accommodation at Braddicks in Westward Ho!

On Tuesday morning 63 excited Year 5 Bluecoat pupils arrived on the coach at the Green in Westward Ho! to greet face to face – some for the first time, others for the second time – their German pen-pals. Having had many Skype calls, it was great for the children to finally be able to get to know each other more freely. We did some fun ice-breaker activities to start and then set off on a coastal walk towards Abbotsham, learning about the local area and the Biosphere status on the way to the rockpools near Greencliff. We had lunch before everyone went exploring for rockpool creature. Amongst the thrilling finds were many crabs, blennies, a tiny cushion starfish, hermit crabs, masses of limpets, winkles and seaweeds, and also beadlet and snakelock anemones. After our walk back, the Year 5 children returned to Bluecoat. Our German friends enjoyed some shopping and perusing the shops of Westward Ho! before a ‘fish and chip’ for dinner.

On Wednesday, we greeted our German friends in school, in small groups. They had tours around and then we went in small groups ‘child led pre-planned tours’ of Great Torrington. We convened at the Old Bowling Green for shared snacks before heading back on a different route. After a school lunch, we used our knowledge of North Devon combined with the German children’s knowledge of the ‘Stop Motion’ App on iPads to create group animations advertising the attractions and activities North Devon has to offer. The Exchange group kindly did a school assembly where the other year groups too were able to learn more about their school and the surrounding area. After school some of our Year 5 pupils took their German pen-pals home to host them for the afternoon, dinner and early evening, they all returned at 7pm having had a fantastic time! The staff meanwhile had taken the opportunity to also have dinner at The Plough and begin planning next year’s Exchange Visits (which we’re already very animated about!)

Our last day together was a trip to Exmoor. We all met at Watersmeet for a lovely scenic walk along the River Lyn valley to Lynmouth, stopping along the way to learn about the National Park. Whilst at Lynmouth we enjoyed lunch on the beach and, as we gazed out to sea, we could just about make out the Welsh coastline. Mr Harts then guided our German Exchange group onto the funicular railway to look around Lynton and do some souvenir shopping, whilst our Year 5s went to learn about the Lynmouth – Porlock Lifeboat Rescue in 1899. Once we had arrived back at school, we all enjoyed our last evening together playing sports and games on the playground at the start of the ‘Global Evening’ followed by a buffet laid on by parents, and finally Maypole Dancing accompanied by the Torrington Silver Band organised by Mrs Hannam. Then it was time to say farewell, with a few tears from some when they said their goodbyes.
We are looking forward to our last Year 5 Skype call in a couple of weeks before the summer holidays.

Thanks so much to parents who provided snacks, buffet food, helped on trips, hosted German children and also to other staff for their support during a very busy but very enjoyable week.

Mrs Hogan & Mr Harts