Year 10 pupils Tilly Ralph and Deana Gerotto recently returned from a unique education programme and battlefield tour in Belgium and Northern France run by UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and Equity, school tour provider.
The First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, is designed to help teachers and students from every state funded school in England teaching Key Stage 3 and/or 4 to develop a deeper understanding of the Great War.
Along with pupils from 15 other schools, our girls joined a four-day tour to the Western Front accompanied by UCL IOE and Equity staff, professional battlefield guides and serving soldiers.
During the tour the students attended The Last Post Ceremony in Ypres, which takes place under the Menin Gate every single night of the year. Here, buglers of the Ypres volunteer Fire Brigade sound the ‘Last Post’ before a minute’s silence to reflect on the sacrifice of those lost.
The group also visited museums, battlefield sites, memorials and cemeteries including the Commonwealth War Grave sites of Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ypres, Belgium and Thiepval Memorial in the Somme, France. Going out to the battlefields and seeing the landscape and the history of the war made it easier for students to visualise the scale of the war and the lives lost.
The girls will now embark on a Legacy 110 project. This project encourages students to share their experiences of visiting the battlefield sites of the Western Front through developing post tour community projects.