Warboys Primary Academy visited their partner school in Madrid as part of a student exchange trip organised by the Global School Alliance. Headteacher Becky Ford shares her experience and the impact of the visit.
Please summarise your trip and your overall experience
The trip was a fantastic experience for staff and pupils from start to finish. Every minutia of detail had been carefully considered and planned which led to the children having the most incredible time. The support that we received and preparation work, meant that everything ran smoothly. Staff felt well supported and children and parents felt confident. The ability to travel to Spain and meet the children and staff we had been working with online, brought our relationships to life. It gave children the opportunity to try new things and experience a culture very different to their own. The children were apprehensive ahead of the trip but came back bursting with confidence, energy, and enthusiasm. The overall experience has opened their eyes to a whole new world of possibilities and will stay with them forever.
Please describe the experience of visiting your partner school and how the trip has strengthened the partnership
Visiting the partner school was the highlight of the experience. The staff and pupils were warm and welcoming and had planned 3 days of activities that helped our children to learn alongside their peers and feel like part of the community. The projects we participated in enabled us to share experiences, language and friendships and there was an equal exchange in terms of learning. It was clear that our values aligned and staff from both schools were very moved by the experience we were giving to our children. It was exciting to see them meet each other following the work they had engaged with online. It felt like meeting up with old friends, as relationships had already been established. Relationships were certainly strengthened by the visit and we are determined that we will host a visit for our partner school.
What were the learning outcomes of the trip?
The children achieved so much in terms of their personal development. They challenged themselves to try lots of new experiences and they grew in confidence and independence as young people. There were 7 children attending who had not travelled overseas previously and flew for the first time.
The children compared information about their local areas and schools. They also tasted new foods and developed their Spanish speaking skills. The children went sightseeing and learned the history of the architecture in Madrid and influential architects. They also visited the palace and developed their knowledge of the Spanish Monarchy which they were able to compare with the British monarchy.
What are your aspirations for the future?
We would like to continue working on shared projects with our partner school. Building opportunities in throughout the school year for the children to collaborate and share work/meetings online. Next year we would like to host a visit for our partner school to come to the UK.
Would you recommend an experience like this to other schools?
I would recommend an experience like this without any hesitation. The children gained so much. Children need to be exposed to opportunities that challenge them and raise their aspirations and this experience has certainly done that. The children who attended this visit have learned that the world is a big and exciting place full of possibilities, but more importantly they have realised it is accessible to them. It has ignited their curiosity and given them greater self-belief. They are able to imagine themselves doing things they might not have done before as a result of this.
Would you recommend booking with the Global School Alliance?
I would recommend the GSA without hesitation. The support that we received was first class from start to finish and the communication was excellent. We had multiple online meetings at various stages of planning and all questions were responded to in a timely manner. The GSA are experts and have a wealth of experience that the school does not and therefore they take all the stress out of the organisation and think of everything that needs to be considered. I even had to contact them when a parent raised a concern about our proposed accommodation, and they simply changed it for us without question. They were so helpful and responded to everything with kindness and understanding. Throughout the trip they stayed in contact and allocated a guide to take care of us whilst in Spain. They were amazing – thank you so much Toni, Cerys and Chris!
I would recommend the GSA without hesitation. The support that we received was first class from start to finish and the communication was excellent.
Feedback from Parents
“My child was absolutely full of it when he came home – he kept me up until 1am talking about his experiences, I thought he’d be tired!”
“Thank you for making the wonderful trip to Madrid happen!! Rosie had an amazing time, she loved every minute of the trip. What a fantastic experience you gave all the children. I’m so pleased that Rosie was able to go with you.”
Feedback from Pupils
“Thank you for taking me to Spain Mrs Ford. I loved it!”
“It made me realise that I can do things for myself and don’t need my parents.”
“The school was amazing and made us feel welcome, everyone was really kind. I would definitely go back there!”
“I think all schools should take their children.”
Feedback from Staff
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity, it was so well organised. I don’t even feel like I have had to do anything but have a lovely time away with the children. Normally it is so stressful organising a trip.”
“It has made me realise the importance of getting the children out of their comfort zones and challenging them. They have grown so much and I have got to know them so well.”
Interested in student exchange trips?
Unlike a traditional school trip, our fully-immersive student exchange visit will enable your pupils to experience first-hand what it’s like to go to a school (a partner school) with a very different culture, lifestyle and curriculum. Get in touch today to find out more about our immersive student exchanges and how we can support your international links.