Archive | March, 2012

Dutch Exchange

Students from a school in Dan Haag  known as the Hague in english are visiting England as part of the languages department exchange program. Although we don’t study dutch in Harrogate Grammar it is always exciting to learn how other people live.

So I decided to find out a bit more about their hometown.  It is the capital city of Holland and has 500,000 inhabitants. With the increasing cost of study in England   lots of british students are now choosing  to study  for degrees in Holland.  The tuition fees are only a fraction of the english fees.

You can find out more about studying in Holland by reading the Guardian article.  Maybe its something we should all be considering.

Our Sixth Form readers may want to read what the Hague University says about studying there.

Watch out for my interview with our visiting friends next week where I will find out more about life and study in Dan Hague.

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French Exchange Wednesday 28th March


This is the last day of the Exchange.  A very busy day for some.  A more relaxing day for others.

Departure at 8.30 from

to go to Villeneuve d’Asq ( A prize for anyone who can tell me what major building project is taking place there at the moment!) After a long detour due to an overturned lorry on the motorway, we get to the V2.  Most students deappear within minutes of arriving and will return only minutes before the deadline of 11.30, loaded with all kinds of goods:  perfume, clothes, chocolate, sweets a jar of mayonnaise and even a Budha (sic).

I give up, this photo may help you.

Lunch at Flunch is something that every British person should experience at least once.  The usual welcome was given and the food was as it should be in a fast food chain.  Good and plentiful.

The afternoon started with a little tour of old Lille (try and say that quickly!) Then, it was more shopping for those who wished to do so.  Sitting in a cafe in the sunshine with a few chosen students was/is a much better option.  (especially when Andrew gives a demonstration on how to do the Cube). Here I must thank Bruce for keeping Meg and I entertained with a flow of converstion.

By 6pm, all the students were back at school waiting for the parents to pick them up.  It must be daid at this stage that this has been one of the most pleasant week I have spent with a group of students.  Well done to them!

Au revoir

The photos and videos will be available on this site after  Easter.


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French Exchange 2012 Tuesday 27th March


A very busy day!  Departure from school at 8.30am.  A short coach trip takes us to Haverskerque ( a prize for whoever gives me the right pronunciation when we come back) to draw or to sculpt.

After a short demonstration by Francoise (known as Fanfreluche: a second prize for whoever can tell me what it means when we return)  the drawing group has a go at drawing a cartoon figure of the rat out of ratatouille.  There are obvious experts such Jack and Ailsa who show the rest of the group how it should be done.  Some find it more demanding but all have a good go at it.  Francoise congratulates them on their persistence and their determination to do well.

The second group is at the sculpture workshop.  By the time your reporter arrives, the students are well into the sculpture.  Ben, Dan and Tom are especially hard at work.  Ben will suffer the double indignity of two breaks;one self-inflicted, the other due to a mishap (Don’t forget the chocolates Laura!) but everything is sorted and Ben should be very proud of his achievement.  A good proportion of the HGS pupils made hearts which are to be given to their mums (how sweet is that!) except  for one person (who shall remain nameless but whose mother was not too far away). Your reporter was also involved in smoothing Meg’s heart!  (Make what you will out of this statement, but it worked!)

Another coach trip takes us to La Gorgue to the CCFL. The CCFL is the equivalent of a super town council which represents the 7 town which make up the Communaute de La Lys.( It had to be said!)

A few games (Gemma is an amazing athlete), a picnic lunch and into the Council Chamber.   The president of the Council makes a short presentation (well, fairly short. You know how politicians are…..!) Questions are sought.  Very quickly the questions from the Harrogate students flow.  Parents should be proud of what happened during this hour.  The president seemed very impressed with the level of questioning and with the interest the students showed in the presentation.

This is followed by a question and answer on the exchange itself.  The topic how can we make it better.  A lot of good ideas came out.  Some more practical and practicable than others.  All in all a good debate.

The day ends with a visit to Fromelles .  The site of one of the most pointless battles of  WWI during which nearly 6000 Australians and 1500 Germans died over a two day period.  The youngest being barely 16. A very moving experience.

Back to school for the buses and home.



PS.  I am going to try and upload some of the pictures.

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French Exchange 2012 Monday 26th March

The morning is spent in school.  The first two periods are given over to following the lessons into which partners go.  After break a quick lesson with Mr Le Bourdon on how to ask questions.  After a short coach trip groups undertake either to do some orinteering, boxing or dancing.

The first nose bleed happens when an over enthusiastic French boy hits qnother on the nose reulting in a fairly good nosebleed.  The best students at boxing happen to be Logqn, Kiera and of course Gemma who must have kicked the coach very hard for him to remember. Quote ¨” Ze girl in ze green trouzers haz a good kick”  Do not approach Gemma without care!

The group then moves to an Estaminet (the local and very old French word for a Cafe) where croissants, pains au chocolat and chocolat chaud are consumed.


Back to school and home

There seems to have been a lot of laughter and hillarity during the day.  Long may it continue!

PS  We are having problems uploading the photos and the flip videos.  We will do so asap

PPS  This blooning key boqrd is hqrd to useq



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Lionel Messi – the greatest ever?

Lionel Messi is widely regarded as the greatest footballer in the world. If you go a step further, he’s even regarded as the best player ever by many.  He recently scored his 234th goal for Barcelona – making him the clubs record top scorer and he’s only 24. He scored 3 goals in a recent 5-3  win against Granada. That means that those 234 goals have been scored in just  314 game. Before breaking the club record, Messi put 5 past Bayer Leverkusen in a 7-1 victory, a feat that has never been matched before.

However, Messi has never shown this level of class for his national side - Argentina. He never took his chance to shine in Maradona’s side as he has in  Guardiola’s  Barcelona. That being said, his goal scoring record for Argentina would be a good by most strikers standards – but not Messi’s.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, is regarded as the second best player in the world by many despite having scored a record 98 in 90 games for Madrid in the league – a record that is even better than Messi’s.

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French Exchange 2012; 23/03/12

Today we went to a bell tower/town hall, a brewery and a workshop where they made giant puppets/floats.

We also went to some lessons in a french school, they like to try and speak english to us as much as they can, but they’re not very good! :)

In the bell tower/town hall we met the Mayor of Laventie, and we went up to the top of the bell tower. – It was very high up!

In the brewery we learnt how they make the 2 different types of beer, and we had an oppourtunity to try a small amount, and to buy some to take back for presents.

We went to two workshops, one where a giant donkey and soldier was built, and another where a giant cat had been built. They showed us how they made them, how they operated them, and what they are used for. They told us that when a new giant is built, they baptise it, by having a gathering of giants, and a drinking session afterwards! The giants are operated by 2-4 people who carry the weight of the giant on their shoulders, by some poles and planks of wood with cushions on the end.

We have started recording video diaries with different students each night, that way parents, friends and family can see what we have been doing whilst in Laventie :)



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French Exchange 2012


After a very uneventful journey, the 28 French Exchange students and the two teachers arrived safely in Laventie where they were given a very French  welcome.Wine (for the parents), orange juice (for the students) and a speech by the Principal of the College, Monsieur Thierry Chevalier.

By half past six, local time, all the students had been reunited with their respective families.  There is little doubt that our arrival had created a lot of interest on the part of all the students in the college as most of 600 or so eleves  came to watch as the British and French students were reunited.

Dover -Leaving the UK

Tomorrow, we are in school for part of the day and visiting the town for the rest of the time.

It is hoped that photos and videos will also be available.

Bonsoir tout le monde


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Work Experience to be delayed?

Plans are changing in regards to work experience that has previously taken place in year 10 but from 2013 it could be delayed till year 11.

Work experience provides a powerful tool for the development of young people, providing many students with the opportunity to stand out in different and demanding circumstances doing much for students’ confidence.

 Students at Harrogate Grammar school now have to wait another year to do work experience, and it will be an optional choice. This could mean that fewer students will complete the scheme because it is no longer compulsory. It is a beneficial experience and it helps improve their job prospects.

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iPad Exclusive


In recent weeks there have been many rumours about the school getting iPads. I can now, exclusively tell you that the school is very likely to introduce them September 2012 as long as parents vote for them.

The school need 80% of parents to vote yes for it even to be considered possible. The school Business Team have calculated that about 20% of the school who can’t afford them so if the vote is successful the school will pay for them.

Many school representatives believe that the  iPads will be great in all areas of school life. It would be useful in subjects like PE because you can record and play back routines in HD. They will also transform private study.  With the WIFI you can get internet anywhere, which means you can even use maths sites on the train.  The I pad 2 even has email, a calculator and a huge number of useful apps as well as many more features.

Now many students are wondering  what the price is.  I can reveal that well informed teachers suggest £15 per month, but there will be a meeting soon to confirm this.   The school will also organise an insurance policy which means that part of the payment will pay for damage.  Two classes in years 8 and 10  are trialling them in lessons with positive results.  I recently interviewed a member of the Business Team who said, “iPads are the way forward for this school”.



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Dragons Den at HGS

Business is booming as the tenner tycoon is encouraging people to start their own business with a tenner and make a bit of profit to  give a percentage of your choice to the school  charity. It is too late to start your own tenner tycoon campaign but you can support the schools charity by purchasing some of the contenders products which are Noah’s cakes, the Wi-Fi café,. make your own mug and many more. In case you didn’t know the school charity it to build a centre which is an attachment to a school in Uganda where people can learn to make things like cloth and wood work.

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Syrian Army Continues it’s Attacks

The Syrian Army, who are under the orders of President Bashar-Al Assad, are continuing offensives against the main headquarters of the Free Syrian Army.  Lightly armed Free Syrians are so far proving no match for Assad’s troops, who are armed with flamethrowers, rocket launchers, tanks and artillery batteries.




The Russian Foreign Secretary has been meeting President Assad to discuss a resolution to the crisis, but Russia remains a friend of Syria and President Assad. Iran and China have also declared their support for Assad. At a meeting in Geneva, Russia and China vetoed a UN vote to sanction the amount of weapons that are provided for Assad’s army, a stance which has outraged the USA, Britain and France who say that Russia and China are destroying the lives of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians. Russia is therefore still sending weaponry to Assad and his troops.

On the 23rd February 2012, Marie Colvin, a journalist for the Sun newspaper, was killed alongside 20 other foreign journalists and photographers during a bombing raid by the Syrian army. Colvin had been a journalist for the Sun for over 20 years, and had worked in some of the most dangerous conflicts in the world, such as in Kosovo and Sri Lanka. The British government has expressed their condolences, and also said that this is a stark reminder that the conflict should end soon.



Over 50 world powers, including the USA, Britain and France, have been meeting in Tunis to discuss a resolution to the crisis and to force President Assad to allow aid groups into the city of Homs to treat wounded. Eventually, China agreed to UN plans for allowing aid workers into Homs.

Despite the fact that world powers are discussing an end to the crisis, it is unlikely the conflict will end soon. But the Free Syrians are still confident that the uprising will succed, as they did in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.



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The iPad 3

The iPad 3


The new iPad is not very different to the iPad 2. Some of the new features are faster internet, better graphics, better camera, and an A5X chip. It also has dictation which is where you can speak your words and it will put them down on a page.

For education purposes it could change people’s lives, with better iBooks it would be great for learning purposes it will also offer much more. Another good thing it has better apps; photo editing, iMovie and Garage band are all features that you can be download of the App Store.

Apple have made a few changes to iPads and other products but I think they are beginning to run out of ideas.

What do you think?



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