Monday 24th April, 2023 saw a cohort of Post-16 Students accompanied by our team set off on an adventure to Belgium to visit our friends at Sint-Jozef-Klein-Seminarie, and lodging at St Niklaas School. In only a few short days we managed to visit "The Grand Palace", "Les Galeries Royales Saint Hubert" and of course, "Mannekin Pis" and "Jeaneke Pis" for a colourful splash of continental Culture, in addition to all the other formative experiences that our Students have found so valuable.
The whole trip began with an early start to the day - a school departure of 7:45am. We made the trip to Huntingdon Train Station and from there to St Pancras where we would be boarding the Eurostar.
Showing resilience and patience after a long journey, everyone was greeted with a well-earned meal of burger & chips freshly made by our Belgian hosts. Our first full day arrived with yoghurt, bread, meats and fruit for a continental breakfast closely followed by a treasure hunt and tour around this amazing school.
In between history lessons, we were taught to play Belgian games such as "steal the flag", then playing board games together back in the warm.
The next day, we joined the students in a collaborative Art project, followed by some impromptu karaoke and individual dance and singing performances from our Spring Common Academy students!
The group then visited a local shopping mall where they purchased some gifts and sampled a local cuisine of “waffles and ice cream!”
Later on, the group enjoyed pizza and took part in a quiz.
The final day arrived all too soon and involved a morning at the local market where the students worked in teams to buy food items to prepare for a special lunch in the church. The group finished off their art project and retired early so as to be prepared for their early start to make the journey home.
Post-16 Manager Tom Dougherty shares, "This is the first time in 4 years that Spring Common have been able to travel over to visit our Belgian school students to continue the Crossing Borders project.
There are many aspects and activities throughout the week that have provided opportunities for our students to gain cultural, social and independent life skills.
One of the stand-out parts of the week is the individual achievements I have seen from each student.
Whether that may be thinking about how to look after themselves when experiencing travelling or staying away from home, or the engagement and happiness that socialising with the Belgian group has provided.
All the students and staff involved have been a credit to the school, and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved this year in the project."
"Spring Common Academy is proud of our continued close relationship to the Sint-Jozef-Klein-Seminarie school in Belgium. Opportunities for our students to visit another country are often formative in their development, and it is amazing to hear their stories and experiences when they return." - Alex Tomkins, Head Teacher, Spring Common Academy.
"[A]big thank you to all the staff, children and everyone involved in the Belgium trip. Hope everybody enjoyed their time on the trip I know Kiera has! What a fantastic opportunity for everyone to be involved in." - Becky, Parent
"[A] massive thanks to all the staff for organising the trip and looking after Joshua so well, and also a big thanks to the staff and children in Belgium. Joshua's had a very good time and said he has enjoyed it a lot... Although he's feeling very tired now." - Emma, Parent
"A massive thank you to all the staff that took the pupils to Belgium, you're all amazing. It's been a great experience for Emily, and she said she loved it. Thank you also to all the people in Belgium, making the experience brilliant! Emily has had the best time and loved telling me all her experiences. Said the food was amazing. She is going to miss you all." - Gemma, Parent
You can see more photos documenting this fabulous trip here.