French exchange pupils enjoy their time in Leigh

Pupils at Bedford High School in Leigh and the French school of College Jean Jacques Rousseau at the Bedford Bistro during a tour of the North West
Pupils at Bedford High School in Leigh and the French school of College Jean Jacques Rousseau at the Bedford Bistro during a tour of the North West
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STUDENTS at a Leigh secondary school provided breakfast in the Bistro for a group of teenagers from their French sister school.

The young people from Bedford High School met up with their fellow pupil from the College Jean Jacques Rousseau in Thonon les Bains, a small town in South-Eastern France close to the Swiss border, during the French school’s recent tour of the region.

The French pupils were introduced to the English school system with a day in lessons, including a breakfast of croissants and toast in the Bedford Bistro.

The visit was a follow-up to an exchange visit made by a group of Bedford’s Year 10 students to Thonon les Bains last year, including a visit to Geneva and Evian, the site of the famous mineral water springs.

The exchanges allowed both groups of pupils to experience the culture shock of two very different ways of schooling children. In French schools there is no school uniform and pupils face a longer day, with many schools even having extra lessons on Saturdays.

Schools on the continental side of La Manche - as the French refer to the Channel - also have a strong sense of community, with the entire school coming together to eat at lunchtimes.

In addition to their day at Bedford, the French students got to visit several of the region’s other attractions during their trip, as well as exploring their base town of Chester.

Bedford’s head of modern languages Gabriel Calwell said: “This is a great chance for the French students to get some experience of a typical school day at an English school.

“It is also a fantastic opportunity for them to learn more about our school and the town of Leigh and for both sets of students to practise their language skills.”

Headteacher Stephen Preston added: “We are really fortunate to have such a strong relationship with Jean Jacques Rousseau.

“Not only does it help our students language skills but in an increasingly global marketplace for jobs and opportunities, we feel it is vital for our young people to have first-hand experience of the life and cultures of people in other countries.”