The Land of Ice and Fire

The Geography Department headed off north for a six day tour of Iceland. They had afantastic time and saw some amazing landscapes and features. The trip mostly focused on tectonics, but they also took in some incredible glacial features. Highlights included seeing the Northern lights dance; climbing down into a lava tube; relaxing in an open air natural heated spring in Myvatn; and climbing an active and steaming volcano. The students were great and fully engaged with every aspect and the staff were brilliantly knowledgeable. Head of Geography, Alisdair Craddock, commented: “The trip was a great and enlightening (spiritually and intellectually) time was had by all.”

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Time to Remember

Meanwhile, the History Department took a group of IGCSE pupils on a three day excursion of the Battlefields of the First World War. The trip focused on the areas around the Somme and Ypres, the locations for a number of significant battles. Sites visited included the intact trench system at Newfoundland, key commonwealth cemeteries such as Tyne Cot, the memorial at Thiepval as well as the German cemetery at Langenmark. Pupils also explored some different sites in order to provide a variety of perspectives, for example Deville Wood, the memorial to South African soldiers who fought at the Somme, reflecting the contribution made by other countries within the Empire to the British war effort, the execution post at Poperinge representing those executed by firing squad during the war, and Talbot House, an R&R centre for soldiers in Ypres.

Exploring a number of different aspects of the conflict helped give provide an understanding of the multiple dimensions of this world conflict. On the final evening of the tour we attended the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, where two pupils were able to participate in the ceremony and lay a wreath. The experience supported pupils in their IGCSE study of the First World War, but more importantly, in a time of increasing international tension across the globe, it provided them with the opportunity to pause and reflect on the nature of one of the most significant and traumatic events of the 20th century. As the School prepares for its own remembrance events this coming weekend, the Tour will also have enhanced our pupils’ understanding of the importance and value of remembering those who died in this and other conflicts, including, but of course not limited to, the Old Decanians who died in the First World War.