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A WST Experience – Homewood School visit Amsterdam

Thursday January 15, 2015

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Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre is a large mixed comprehensive school in Tenterden, Kent with 2,300 students.

The Art Department’s trip Art & Design trip to Amsterdam was made up of students from age 14 to 19, who were studying Graphics, Photography, Fine Art or Textiles. Group Leader, Cheryl Reed told us the main objective for the trip was to resource and prepare for upcoming exam papers and coursework in February.  A visit to Amsterdam allowed the students great opportunities to take photographs around the city as well as in the art galleries to gain insight, knowledge and inspiration for their exams and coursework. Cheryl was also keen that the students benefitted from a cultural experience in another country.

The preparation for the trip was quite simple. As this was Cheryl’s first time organising a trip abroad, she looked for a tour company that would reassure and help in the planning of the trip, ‘with your help it was so much easier and having your support made it far more comforting.’ After going through the usual administrative procedures to launch a school trip, Cheryl was then able to launch the trip to students in September with a departure date set for January. Payments were split into 3 payment schemes to make the cost more affordable. WST worked with Cheryl when numbers changed at times, to ensure the price stayed as affordable as possible.

Prior to departure Cheryl arranged a meeting with parents and students to go through what to expect on the trip and talk through the itinerary. This was also a great opportunity to give students a ‘what to pack’ list and also to remind them to not forget essentials. Camera chargers were high on the list for this group of students!

Whilst in Amsterdam the itinerary was packed with educational visits to support the learning objectives. The big 3 museums on Museumplein – Stedelijk, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh – were a must. They also focussed on some market visits to support their learning objectives. The Clara Maria Cheese & Clog Farm was a favourite with some great opportunities to buy some personalised souvenirs.  

Cheryl told us students loved the architecture and feel of Amsterdam and they really enjoyed the sights and sounds of the city. ‘They have all said they want to come back later in life.’

We asked Cheryl what the highlights of the trip were for her. She said the opportunity to visit the art galleries was a real highlight and also the fact that the trip gave them so much value for money. Poignantly, she said that the students’ behaviour was a highlight too. They were given free time around the city and she was so pleased with how the students respected the trust the teachers showed in them. In fact they came back to the meeting point early!

Cheryl’s top tip for any teachers thinking of taking their students on a school trip is ‘it’s not as scary as you think to give them a little free time in the city’. Her students were always in small groups and had maps to find their way around. A great tip is to tell them to remember the iconic buildings to help get your bearings for where you are.

In terms of Amsterdam as a destination for Cheryl and her students the main thing that stands out is that everyone is so friendly, kind and helpful.

This is the first trip that Cheryl has organised and she’s now looking forward to planning Homewood School’s next trip to Berlin with the aim to have a trip in the calendar each year. When we asked Cheryl if the trip achieved its learning objectives she answered with a resounding ‘definitely!’