Central Lancaster High School’s trip to Berlin

15 May 2019

Following Central Lancaster High School's recent trip to Berlin with WST, the school caught up with School Travel Organiser to talk about their experience and what they learned from the trip.

Getting into Liverpool John Airport at approximately midnight, on Monday 8th April 2019, you would have seen 36 bleary eyed pupils who wanted nothing more than to stay sat down. What you might not have expected to see however is a number of said pupils wearing communist hats and badges and pulling gas masks out of their suitcases.

How did the school trip start?

Central Lancaster High School had just taken 36 pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11, who were studying History, including Weimar and Nazi Germany and Cold War Relations, out to Berlin for four days. It was booked through WST Travel, which worked with a number of tour guides and operators at historical sites to create a trip that left an impact on the pupils. Pupils had opportunities for developing their learning inside the classroom and received a cultural experience, with some never having flown before.

“It was a really packed trip, with plenty of tours and activities” explains Davina Brown, the trip leader. “As soon as we arrived we were walking and doing activities, constantly moving from one historical and cultural site to another. The tour operator team were really helpful as well as they were really reassuring in helping us and making sure everything was planned.”

What did they get up to?

Throughout the four days, the pupils took part in a number of activities. The first day there, the students visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which was a really moving day, helping them to understand the atrocities of what happened during World War Two. This not only helped the pupils to understand what happened but also helped to develop the teachers’ methods of delivering this subject and improving subject knowledge all around.

In Davina’s eyes, one of the standout moments from the trip was the two-day walking tour of Berlin. This allowed pupils to capture the cultural significance of the city, while developing their knowledge of events such as the building of the Berlin Wall, as they were able to visualise and envisage the full scale of the building. The tour guide had exceptional knowledge and answered all of the pupils’ questions fully, making the tour fully engaging and easily accessible for all of them.

Dylan, one of the pupils on the trip, said, “it really imprinted the content on me and made the GCSEs a lot more accessible.”

While there pupils visited Wannsee Conference House, a key meeting place for the development of the holocaust, allowing them to understand how this event developed. After visiting such a deeply historical place they went to a more cultural yet still historically significant venue - the Olympic Stadium. While here the pupils had a tour of the stadium, allowing them to see what goes on behind the scenes. It also enlightened them on a number of historical events such as the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, telling the story of Jesse Owens and his significance.

What cultural activities did they enjoy?

This was enjoyed by everyone and they even got the chance to sit behind the press conference table where the managers sit.

As Berlin is such a cultural city, pupils were able to experience a number of different events that they would not see or do every day. They were very impressed by the food with some pupils event trying a traditional German sausage. Many managed to face their fear of heights, by visiting the TV Tower, from which you can see all of Berlin 203m high in the air. This really helped to improve their confidence, with many of them coming out of their shells as the trip progressed and making friends they did not know before.

Throughout the trip, photographs and information that were taken by staff were shared on the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages, keeping parents fully informed and up to date. This was really helpful and taken well by friends and family. Assisting on the trip was NQT Heather Shepherd, who said: “It was a really valuable experience improving my skills and knowledge. I have managed to improve my teaching practice, importing what I have learned into the classroom environment.

Following Central Lancaster High School’s recent trip to Berlin, one student also created a video highlighting top moments from their trip. Take a look at their fantastic Berlin video here: