• Believe, Achieve, Succeed
  • Believe, Achieve, Succeed
  • Believe, Achieve, Succeed
  • Believe, Achieve, Succeed

Year 8 Belgium Residential

Year 8 pupils had a residential to savour as they deepened their understanding of World War One with a hugely-successful trip to Belgium.

Some 25 pupils arrived at school for an early start on our brand new coach as we began our marathon six-hour journey to Dover.

Smooth seas on the one-and-a-half hour ferry crossing meant the crossing to France was an enjoyable one as the children sat outside in the sunshine to enjoy the spectacular views.

We eventually arrived at our hostel at 9pm having completed our 13-hour journey and it was time for some much-needed dinner before everyone settled into their rooms.

The first full day saw the group descend on In Flanders Museum which featured an interactive display reflecting the scale and horror of the First World War.

Next we visited Tyne Cot cemetery, which is the resting place of 11,954 soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces.

It is the largest number of burials contained in any Commonwealth cemetery of either the First or Second World War.

The children found a number of graves belonging to soldiers from the Devonshire regiment and paid their respects by resting crosses on the graves.

Next we headed off to the German cemetery, Langemark – one of only four First World War German cemeteries in the Flanders region.

The children were shocked at how different it was to Tyne Cot with each grave containing at least four fallen German soldiers, some with as many as 22.

In the evening pupils took a trip to the eagerly-awaited chocolate shop where the owner was waiting with a special offer for some very excited children.

Soon after snapping up the tasty treats, the group descended on Menin Gate for the nightly act of homage ceremony, which saw Declan Harvey, Tyler Munro and Bethany Willicott lay a wreath on behalf of the school.

The following morning we set off for Essex Farm Cemetery where the children had chance to explore another cemetery. It was created at the time the Canadian field artillery established a small, basic dressing station to tend to wounded casualties in the vicinity.

British casualties who died near the location of Essex Farm were buried in this cemetery.

The day also included a trip to the memorial museum Passchendaele where the replica dugout rooms are located in the cellars, with the first floor housing the museum reception and temporary exhibitions.

Outside of the museum there is an impressive replica network of trenches, which gave the children a unique insight into how trenches were built and what they looked like.

After lunch and a play on the grass outside the museum, we headed off to explore Hill 60 – the scene of one of the fiercest battlegrounds in the Great War.

The evening was spent with a trip to the local bowling alley where a fiercely-contested showdown ended with Jenny Norman, Morgan Quinn and Ashley Coles joint winners and sharing ownership of a skittle signed by all the children and staff.

The final full day was spent at Bellewaerde Theme Park where the children enjoyed a number of nerve-shredding rides, including the upside down rollercoaster.

That evening it was time for the children to pack their suitcases ahead of an early departure the next morning.

A group of exhausted children were reunited with their parents the next evening back in Torquay at the end of what was a hugely successful residential.

Special mention must go to the children, whose behaviour was impeccable during the entire trip. Well done Year 8.