Adventures Far East
School trips have far reaching benefits for children – and not just in the classroom
A GROUP of year 11 students from Notre Dame High School in Norwich embarked on an adventure of a lifetime to Japan earlier this year – boosting their studies and giving pupils an enormous range of experiences which they will never forget.
“It was an incredible trip, but the obvious benefit was the language, particularly as it was just before their oral exam for their GCSE,” said Tom Pritchard, enrichment co-ordinator and Japan trip leader at Notre Dame.
“Learning Japanese or Chinese is becoming more and more popular with students and Japanese is now very much part of our modern languages curriculum here. There are 13 children in Year 11 and 23 in Year 10 doing the GCSE.”
He said that while such trips could be expensive, there were ways to make sure they were accessible to all – and that schools trips, whether local or international, were an essential part of children’s enrichment.
“Many pupils will never have experienced anything like it; some won’t have been abroad before. Funding in schools is a big issue at the moment, but school trips are a very important part of a child’s education and personal development. We have a number of local charities who kindly assist with funding for some of the children and parents can spread the cost over several months, as we want to try and make these things as accessible as possible.”
Notre Dame High School offers a number of trips – including visits to Iceland, Madrid, America and Paris all of which are linked to studies. The trip was coordinated by Natsue Hayward, who was born in Kyoto but now lives in Norwich. Pupils explored Kyoto, sampled Japanese food, learned about Manga and the Kyogen theatre, spent time in a primary school, visited Nara, where deer roam free around the streets, met wild monkeys and visited temples and shrines.
“International connections are very much part of the Catholic ethos at Notre Dame, embracing other cultures and building bridges and understanding. We visited the 18th century Notre Dame Jogakuin Arashiyama School in Kyoto, and had mass there which was extraordinary,” said Mr Pritchard.
Below: Pupils from Notre Dame High School in Japan