Sudbury: School revives trips to German town

German students have arrived at Ormiston Sudbury Academy from twin town Hoxter. The exchange trips

German students have arrived at Ormiston Sudbury Academy from twin town Hoxter. The exchange trips started in 1980 but died out in 2001. - Credit: Archant

A CONNECTION between a German school and a west Suffolk academy dating back to the early 1980s has been revived.

Students from Sudbury Upper School - now called Ormiston Sudbury Academy - first started exchange trips with pupils from König-Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Höxter in 1980. The idea was to enable pupils studying for a GCSE in the language to live with a family in Germany for a fortnight, and learn about the culture.

The English students then played host to their German partners during a return visit.

The initiative, which eventually led to the towns of Höxter and Sudbury becoming ‘twinned’, ran throughout the 80s and 90s but fizzled out in 2001. Languages are still compulsory for Year 7, 8 and 9 students but there are now only 60 pupils at the academy studying for a GCSE in German.

Keen to bring classroom learning to life and to enable students to travel abroad, language teachers at Ormiston Sudbury Academy have been working to reintroduce the international links between the two institutions. After several months of preparation work, they welcomed 19 students from König-Wilhelm-Gymnasium to the academy yesterday morning, along with teachers including Horst Gering - one of the staff members who visited Sudbury Upper during the first ever trip in 1980.

During their stay in Sudbury, the teenagers and their teachers will visit London and Cambridge, enjoy a busy social calendar and spend time in the academy taking part in lessons.

A group of Sudbury students will make the return visit to Höxter in the summer to stay with their host families.

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The academy’s German teacher Jenny Turner, who organised the trip said: “Exchanges like these are perhaps the very best way to learn more about another country and to practice speaking another language.

“They represent a terrific opportunity for students to make lasting international links and friendships. We very much hope that more and more students will take part each year and that in the future, we can expand the exchange to provide work experience abroad for older students.”

Sudbury mayor Jack Owen, academy principal Caroline Wilson, and chair of Sudbury’s Town Twinning Association, Eileen Clayton, attended a welcoming ceremony yesterday morning. Mrs Clayton said: “It’s wonderful that the school has started the exchange again. Town twinning is about involving young people and giving them a chance to see how families live in another country, which also helps break down any prejudices they might have.”

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