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Students Take Part in Centenary Battlefield Tour

Two students from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College have recently returned from a First World War centenary battlefield tour to Belgium, funded to mark 100 years since the end of the Great War.

Year 9 student Dominic Evans and Year 10 student Harriet Lawrence were chosen to go on the trip after winning an essay writing competition organised by the school’s history department. The four night residential, which was delivered by the UCL Institute of Education, forms part of a nationwide programme designed to provide the opportunity for a minimum of two students and one teacher from every state funded secondary school in England to visit battlefields on the Western Front.

During the trip the students visited a number of historical sites and museums and took part in a range of activities. Some of the  stops included the Lijssenthoek and Caterpillar Valley cemeteries which are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, along with a visit to the commission’s largest cemetery Tyne Cot. The students also had opportunity to explore the Passchendaele Memorial Museum, Langemark German cemetery, St George’s Memorial Church and the Thiepval Memorial.

As part of the trip the students witnessed the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres. As part of the ceremony Harriet was selected to lay a wreath alongside Alison Rose, the UK’s ambassador to Belgium.

Subject Leader for History, Richard Hartland, who accompanied the students on the trip, said “I was really impressed with the essays that Harriet and Dominic wrote; they both study history and thoroughly deserved to go on the trip. Having the opportunity to visit these sites and handle artefacts from the Great War has given them an excellent insight into the subject.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “This has been a wonderful opportunity for Dominic and Harriet which has allowed them to learn about the First World War and to see its consequences first hand. I am sure that they will remember this trip for a long time to come.”

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