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Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School's Trip to the WW1 Battlefields

School name: Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School

Teacher name: Mr Michael Jones

Destination: WW1 battlefields

Subject area: History

What was your main aim/objective for this trip?

To complement the topics studied in year 9 but to also look at the consequences of war especially with the current global situation.

Why did you choose this destination?

It is a really moving place and a beautiful town. The remains of the trenches in both the Somme and around Ypres bring the past to life.

It’s an area I visit with my family too. The countless cemeteries and the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate are extremely emotive.

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

We tried to mix up the visits to give pupils some history but also the culture of visiting a foreign country. We visited cemeteries, museums and trench remains but also enjoyed bowling and a day at Walibi theme park!

Why did you choose these visits and activities?

These sites really bring the past to life. You can almost envision what a sight it would have been 100 years ago. And the British and German cemeteries really show the true consequences of war.

What will be your lasting memories of this trip?

The pupils not wanting to return home! They always remember it with fondness. But the laying of the wreaths at the Menin Gate is always an emotional experience.

What did students get out of this trip?

They could get some idea of the scale of loss that war brings and a perspective of how lucky they are. The pupils always show complete respect and for me this is worth it in itself. There is a soldier who died who lived next to our school and this really brought the war home for them.

Why did you choose Halsbury for this trip?

We’ve used Halsbury many times before. Great communication, itinerary and loyalty points. They really make it all easy. Especially after the last 2 years I wanted to repay them with our loyalty and they never let us down.

Were there any guarantees that Halsbury were offering that made it easier for you to get senior leadership and/or parents on board?

I won't lie, at times I thought the trip wouldn't happen. Especially with other schools cancelling. I was determined to make it happen for these children who have suffered so much during the pandemic. Halsbury made me feel confident and gave assurances which made me stick with the trip.

How did it feel to be on a school trip again?

The excitement the day the letters went out was great. A real buzz was back. And in the month prior to the trip the pupils were buzzing. This is what it's all about.

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

A great partnership and they support everything to make it as easy as possible.

Would you recommend Halsbury to your friends and colleagues?

100%. Organising trips is a daunting task but so many of the potential problems are dealt with by Halsbury.

Do you have any tips for other teachers planning their first trips since Covid?

Plan in advance! Well in advance.

Keep parents updated as frequently as possible and don't cancel it unless absolutely necessary. The pupils need these experiences back.

Ready to start planning your next trip?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information or to request your tailor-made quote.

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