Royal Liberty School's Trip to Normandy

School / Group
Royal Liberty School
Teacher / Group Leader
Adam Higgins
Destination(s)
Normandy
Subject(s)
WW2 Battlefield Tours and Science

What was your main objective for this trip?

Throughout this trip, we wanted to give students a new range of experiences that they couldn’t necessarily have in the classroom.

By going to Normandy, we were able to combine seeing a range of historically important sites with a number of scientific visits, meaning that the trip was beneficial for a range of subjects and gave students the best and widest range of experiences possible on one trip.

Why did you choose this destination?

Normandy has a range of World War Two sites that students have previously learned about. This meant that they did have some background knowledge, but it also meant that the images that they had seen in school and through documentaries and films could come to life.

France also gave the opportunity for a range of scientific visits (as well as a chocolate factory!), meaning that students really got the most out of the trip.

As well as this, with the trip only in France, it was a good starting point for the younger students, as this was, for many of them, their first time on a residential, and so was a lot less daunting for them than an air trip.

Can you briefly describe the visits and activities you participated in during this trip?

The trip covered both history and science topics.

For the history side of the trip, the main focus was D-Day. We visited Omaha Beach, Pointe-du-Hoc, Arromanches Landings sites, the 360 degrees cinema, Pegasus Bridge and the American cemetery. All of these sites and activities allowed our students to see places that they so often see depicted in films, and which they learn about in lessons.

Each site has a different story to tell and, with a group of students so enthused about WW2 history, the interest at each site was incredibly high!

As a last-minute bonus, Alex, our Itinerary Coordinator, also managed to book us into a visit to the Bayeux Tapestry. As well as this being an important piece of British history that the Year 7s had recently learned about, it also ticked off an item on our history teacher’s bucket list!

For the science aspects of our trip, we visited the Souterroscope – a slate mine which has been adapted into an educational visit. The students were able to learn about mining, minerals, and the water table, and have new experiences by voyaging so deep underground – an experience that many of the students hadn’t had before!

We also visited Nausicaa – definitely the biggest and best aquarium that we have ever visited! The boys got to see a range of marine life, even having an impromptu sea lion show when one of the boys dropped his bottle over the railing and the sea lion retrieved this for him.

We were also able to visit a chocolate factory – probably the most expensive visit for the boys judging by the amount of chocolate they left with!

Why did you choose these visits and activities?

Being a cross-curricular trip meant that there was a greater range of appeal to a wider range of pupils. Even though some pupils came for specific aspects of the trip, they very much enjoyed the other activities which were, more than likely, experiences that they would not have taken part in if it were not for this trip.

Choosing the D-Day Landings as a theme for the history side meant that in-school learning was brought to life. It also meant that these memories will be passed on – we were lucky enough to go just before the 99th anniversary of D-Day and, although this seems like a long time ago, visiting these sites showed the students that it was closer than they initially thought.

Both of the science visits were chosen because of their broadness in appeal. The Souterroscope mine meant that students could experience a range of concepts first-hand whilst voyaging deep underground – a new experience for the students.

The aquarium was a great trip for both the size and scale of this, but also on a practical level it was very well planned by Halsbury as it broke up the drive back to the ferry, really making the most of the last day of our trip.

What will be your lasting memories of this trip?

My lasting memories of this trip will be the vast range of new experiences that the students had. For some it was the first time out of the UK, and for others their first school residential but, on top of this, the range of new experiences that they had, whether it was seeing the D-Day beaches first-hand, being in awe at Nausicaa or learning about the Bayeaux Tapestry, every student got to experience something new, and they were all keen to share their experience when they returned to school!

Why did you choose Halsbury for this trip?

We have used Halsbury for a number of trips now. I feel that we can trust Halsbury as a company, they always deliver on their promises. This gives a sense of security when booking trips, as I know that every aspect of the trip will be planned to a high standard and with the view for the students to have the best possible experience.

How would you describe the process of working with Halsbury on this trip?

Halsbury is a very easy company to work with. Communication is good and we feel like we get value for money on the trips. They will always suggest possible improvements to itineraries and make sure that we have the best possible experience on the trip.

As we have always worked with Laura as our main point of contact, we have built up a strong relationship where we don’t have to worry about the planning as both her and the meticulous team of itinerary coordinators do all the hard work for us!

Would you recommend Halsbury to your colleagues?

I would definitely recommend Halsbury for any trip – we’ve already begun the process of booking our following trips with them!

I can give Halsbury a ‘wish list’ for what we would like on a trip and they take this, include as much as possible and always come back with some suggestions to further improve the trip. All of this while providing the best possible value for the parents who will be sending their children on the trip.

Halsbury is such a flexible company, the communication is always good and they are very willing to accommodate any last-minute changes to the itinerary so that the students can have the best experience possible. The focus of the trip is always on the students and it feels like Halsbury understands this in the way they plan the trips. It feels like a company that really knows its audience.

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