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'Lockdown Leavers'

I really enjoy this time of year as a Year 8 Tutor. It is the culmination of their prep school teaching and then after Common Entrance, we as a school, have taken the Year 7s and Year 8s to the Alps and Ardèche, for over 20 years now. We have travelled by train, plane and automobile but the Eurostar and TGV have been the most successful, even though crossing Paris from North to East by metro with 30 pupils has its challenges.

We are trying to replicate school as much as possible in our ‘virtual school’ and during Form Time on Monday, one of my Year 8 boys asked if there was any way we could go to The Alps next week. I bit my hand, paused and thought carefully about my response:

‘If there was a way I would have found it. If Boris Johnson announced on Sunday evening that we could travel safely, we would be on the first train out of York on Monday morning!’

I have been mulling this question over all week- and the pupil did make it in jest- but also hoping, against hope, that the trip he had been looking forward to for such a long time, would still be on. The Outdoor Education trips that we offer at Terrington Hall are amazing, the children really push themselves out of their comfort zones and to be able to say they have kayaked down the Ardèche, including a two day 30km descent, is quite something at 11 or 12 years old. To be able to say that they have climbed the Via Ferrata at La Motte de Caire at aged 12 and 40- is such an achievement and certainly one of my happiest memories. I was petrified but I did it! They come to realise that it is worth studying French, so they can ask for chocolate sauce and extra sprinkles on their ice creams and accompany me to the boulangerie to get fresh croissants and pain au chocolat. The children work together as a team and whatever has passed between them before, they really support each other and even now when I bump into pupils now at university, they remember these trips and have such happy memories.

I know that a lot of people around the world have ‘missed out’ on things this year- from weddings, planned trips, to attending the funeral of a close friends. Coping with disappointments in life makes us stronger people in the long run; but the current Year 7s are already urging me to book next year’s trip now as they do not want to miss out twice.

Madame Grant

Head of Modern Foreign Languages

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