Miss R. Siddiqui, Curriculum Leader: Modern Foreign Languages, writes:
I never thought that I would see Ilham, the French assistant that worked at Stanborough 10 years ago again. However, that is exactly what happened on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th April this year! Ilham came to work at Stanborough in 2008 as a French assistant through the British Council. She was here from early October until the end of May to help with our GCSE and A level students to help prepare them for their exams. Ilham and I developed a good friendship and stayed in touch via Facebook but I thought that would be the sum of our friendship. However, Ilham went on to become an English teacher in a school in France and when she contacted me out of the blue asking if she could bring over 48 Year 9 students to Stanborough to meet our students, I absolutely jumped at the chance!
So on Wednesday 25th April she and her colleague came to Stanborough with 24 of their students from Collège Servet, who I paired up with Year 10 students who are currently studying for their French GCSE. The following day two of her other colleagues came with another 24 students who were paired up with the current Year 9 French students. The French students were curious to see what life in an English school would be like so they followed their Stanborough partner to their lessons and spent lunch time with them.
I have to say that our students did Stanborough proud! They made a real effort to communicate with the French students and make them feel welcome and relaxed. I was so proud and amazed by them. For me, it was also an opportunity to rekindle an old friendship and make new ones as the staff were so friendly and so grateful and happy to be here. All in all la visite était un grand succès!
Katie McClymont, (10O), writes:
The Year 10s were delighted to welcome Year 9 French students who had made the journey from France to experience life at Stanborough School. I’m glad to say they were pleased with the warm welcome from Year 10 students, including myself, who had volunteered to give them the opportunity of joining our classes. What’s more, it certainly was exciting to hear French voices in the corridors- it seemed that our School had officially become bilingual!
The event began at the start of our period 3 lessons, when we went to meet the students. All of us were given a sticky tag with our name written on it. Following this, we were paired with a French student; my partner was called Aicha. At first, I was anticipating myself to be slightly shy but, surprisingly, Aicha and I started chatting on our first meeting. We discussed the long journey, how she had travelled by ferry, and how exciting it was to meet each other; especially being from different countries and cultures.
As we reached the end of the first meeting, all of us left to reach our period 3 lessons, mine being computer science, in a mild hurry. My computer science lesson was slightly overpopulated due to so many French students accompanying the students in the lesson. Nevertheless, we had great fun learning Python programming whilst translating to our French peers. In addition to this, we had the chance to practise our French with natives. Personally, I enjoyed speaking French with my partner, and it really made me appreciate the ability to express myself in another language.
Next we had lunch, so Aicha and I went to the canteen to have our packed lunches. Ironically, I had a croissant in my packed lunch that day, so that brought the conversation to croissants, with me talking about how eating croissants is mon mode de vie. Several people in the canteen greeted Aicha as we walked back to form towards the end of lunch, so we even joked that she had become fameuse!
After form time, it was time for our final lesson: mathematics. Although trying to explain mathematics in French was quite an intricate process.
At the end of the day, we gathered in the Year 8/9 Quad to take a group photo, as well as photos in pairs. I must say, it was sad to say goodbye to one another, but we exchanged contact details and promised to stay in contact. I would like to visit her one day.
In retrospect, this event has created many good memories for me and my peers, as well as teaching us, not just a lesson in French, but a lesson in friendship.