At the end of the Easter holidays, a group of students from years 10 and 11 headed off to France to brush up their French before their forthcoming examinations .On arriving in France, we headed straight to the University of Lille for the first of two language sessions prior to checking in at the Château d'Ebblingham. Staff there had been briefed to speak French to the students at every opportunity.

Saturday started with a visit to a baker, with a hands-on chance to make croissants and pains au chocolat. A stroll around the market in the elegant seaside town of Le Touquet was then followed by a visit to a Chocolatier. Any calories consumed there were burned off in a keenly contested evening of bowling! Sunday’s itinerary was certainly not at snail’s pace, although it did start off at a snail farm! Most overcame their initial prejudices and ate some, although students with a sweet tooth preferred the next demonstration at a sweet maker. Last stop was a dairy farm to learn how Sire du Crequy cheese is produced. All the tours and demonstrations were conducted in French which not only helped to develop listening skills, but also reassured students that they could actually understand and respond to native French speakers.

We returned to the University on Monday for another intensive language session before heading home, tired but flushed with a new found confidence to speak French. Bring on the exams!