West Denton Primary School (WDPS) recently embarked on an epic journey which saw them cycle a 14-mile route from their school in Newcastle, to the DFDS Ferry terminal in North Shields, before travelling via ferry to Amsterdam, to take part in an experimental and intercultural visit to the Netherlands capital.
After meeting the ship’s captain, being introduced to the crew, and even being treated to a selection of popular foods from Amsterdam, prepared by the ship’s chefs, the staff and students from years 5 + 6 were given a wildlife talk by the on-board Orca expert.
Robert Bately, Commercial Head onboard King Seaways said: “We were delighted to welcome West Denton Primary School onboard to experience life at sea before spending time in a school in The Netherlands. Once our customers step onboard their experience begins and it is a pleasure to contribute to the cultural experiences of the local school children.”
West Denton Primary school’s trip was part of the UK government’s Turing scheme which aims to provide funding for post Brexit international opportunities in education.
Mick MingStones, Head Teacher at WDPS said: “We wanted to give WDPS students the opportunity to compare their own lifestyles with those of Dutch counterparts. The Dutch lifestyle is outdoor-focused and cycling is part of their daily routine. So, by showing our children how making healthy choices can impact positively on all aspects of a person’s life, we hope to be able to encourage our students to make even more positive choices when they return to Newcastle.”
The visit helped form friendships with Dutch students by cycling to, and around Amsterdam and learning together. The WDPS students gained an understanding of England being part of Europe and the world and they were able to compare similarities/differences in their respective lifestyles, including primary education and how we can promote healthy lifestyles for all.
Students learnt about possibilities for outdoor and creative activities, healthy snack and meal options, strategies to use in stressful/conflict situations and the importance of an active lifestyle, in order to enjoy life to the full and to contribute fully to UK and overseas communities now, and in the future.
Before the students went to Holland, the children gained knowledge about Dutch students’ lifestyles through the online meetings which focused on ‘Meeting Each Other’, ‘Hobbies’ and ‘Food and Drink’. This gave them confidence to work with the Dutch students due to having minimised barriers prior to the trip. Post trip, they intend to strengthen these friendships.
By spending two days learning from each other in a Dutch school, sharing a meal with a Dutch family in their home, visiting the Tropenmuseum and travelling on a ferry, canal boat and tram plus walking and cycling around Amsterdam; there is no doubt that this has increased the students’ cultural capital exponentially.
From a school that introduced the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) many years ago and then used this to develop their own bespoke curriculum, it’s clear that now they are creating a culture for their students to live and think as global citizens as they strengthen their working relationships with the Dutch school.
Mick MingStones concluded: “As a Head Teacher, I am also in a position to provide advice to International Newcastle and to other schools on the logistics and do’s and don’ts for making a Turing project (Including regular mobilities) a cornerstone of their wider curricular offe