Six Year 8 students (Raffy B, Hannah G, Martha G, Evie G, Grace R, Charlotte T) travelled to our Erasmus+ partner school in Finland for a week’s programme on our Sports and Healthy Lifestyles project, accompanied by Miss Medcroft and Mr Ackland. They met up with students and staff from our partner schools in Norway, Finland and Germany for an exciting and varied programme of activities. Students stayed in homestay accommodation with families from the school, giving them a valuable insight into life and culture in Finland.

The week began on Monday with the group having a tour of the school, visiting classes, attending whole school assembly and giving presentations on national sports. Our Year 8 students chose to give a presentation about Rugby, which was watched with interest by our European peers. The whole group learnt and practised an exciting and fun newly devised game called ‘Battle Ball’ in their country teams, as well as playing bubble football and ascending the climbing wall.

On Tuesday, the group had a lesson with a physiotherapist, who gave useful advice on posture, avoiding ‘text neck’ and how to move safely. The group went on an afternoon outing to Aulanko, where they visited an observation tower to see the stunning view across the Finnish landscape with beautiful lakes and trees, then to an outdoor ‘Go Ape’ style climbing park, called ‘Hugo Park’. The students were very adventurous and enthusiastically welcomed the challenge of reaching the highest parts of course.

Wednesday’s activities involved a visit to Varala Sports Institute, where students took part in more exciting challenges, such as climbing a giant ladder and a trapeze jump from a small platform on top of a very high pole. Afterwards in the sports hall, the students had the opportunity to participate in a game of ‘Kin Ball’, as well as a different ‘hockey’ style game. In the afternoon the group enjoyed a visit to the town of Tampere.

Thursday’s programme was an inspiring forest adventure at Evo Nature Park. The group had the opportunity to canoe on the lakes, hike through the forest, and to try their hand at archery. The scenery was amazing and the weather was perfect. It was an unforgettable experience.

On Friday the group were back in school for a lesson in computer coding, a tournament of the new ‘Battle Ball’ game and a ‘healthy living’ cookery class. The UK group wrote and performed the ‘anthem’ for the start of the sports tournament. Afterwards fair play voting took place, and Hannah G from Saint Gregory’s won the award for the best fair player across all the countries involved. In the evening the homestay hosts were invited to join the end of week gala. Our Year 8 students performed a dance and said thank you to their hosts.

Travelling back on the Saturday, the group had a short time to enjoy some of the sights of the countries’ capital Helsinki, swimming in an open air pool and visiting the impressive cathedral. It was such an amazing week; the students making memories that will last a lifetime.

Further details can be found on the project website – see link

Miss D Medcroft
International Co-ordinator