During the early part of the Easter break, around 50 Year 10 pupils headed to Berlin for the annual GCSE History trip. Despite a long delay on the coach journey to the city, the group arrived in time to tour the Reichstag. This visit, like so many places in Berlin, challenged pupils to consider how Germany’s past and present interact; how the past might be remembered and for what purpose.
The following few days saw the group visit just a handful of Berlin’s excellent museums and fascinating historical sites, including the ‘Topography of Terror’ (site of the SS and Gestapo headquarters during the Third Reich), the 1936 Olympic Stadium, the TV tower, the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, Sachsenhausen, the Museum of German Resistance and the beautiful town of Potsdam. Much to the surprise of staff and pupils it turned out that the hotel we stayed in even had an important historical link as it used to be the barracks of the former East German secret police, the notorious Stasi!
The group were an absolute pleasure to take to Berlin and the staff would like to congratulate and thank them again for their exceptional conduct. Their willingness to learn as much as possible by asking answering so many questions, and engaging the excellent guides in thoughtful discussions, was testament to their mature and inquisitive approach. Every guide who took the group around a site commented on their level of knowledge and understanding and their keen focus. It seems appropriate, therefore, to let the pupils say something about their experiences:
Comments from pupils:
“It was very interesting to go and see the different places we’ve been studying in class this year… The highlight for me was when we had a tour of Berlin in the evening and we got to see the city all lit up with bright lights. The visit to the Berlin Wall was fascinating and it was a real eye opener to get to speak to people who shared their own personal experiences of how the wall affected their lives as young children. The Berlin trip was amazing and I would recommend it to everyone, as it was by far one of the best trips at CVC!” (Florence W)
“The highlights of the trip for me were going to Potsdam and Sachsenhausen. I learnt more about how the war impacted the lives of people in Berlin after the war and how it affected others around Europe. This trip really benefitted me and I really enjoyed it, as it gave me a better understanding of World War 2 and every day we learnt something new. This trip made me realize how real the war was, as I didn’t live through it and the war was only a lesson, a book or a work sheet to me. Going to the concentration camp and the Potsdam conference showed me how it wasn’t that long ago, that everything that happened has changed everything we know today. I really recommend going on the Berlin trip, as it is an amazing trip and, alongside that, really inspirational.” (Harry R)
Comments from parents:
“We are writing to thank you and the History Department at CVC for giving our son a wonderful opportunity to experience Berlin on a school history trip… Upon his return from Berlin, he remarked it was “the best and most interesting trip” he had ever been on, whilst being a great deal of fun as well… Your efforts in offering this trip, making it so interesting, educational and yet enjoyable are very much appreciated .”
“I just wanted to say thank you for the fantastic school trip to Berlin. My daughter had a brilliant time (‘the best school trip ever!’) and certainly got an awful lot out of it…It must take an awful lot of planning and preparation to pack so much in to the few days you had there.”