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Twinning teens share culture and friendship at Yarmouth high school

PUBLISHED: 15:36 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 01 March 2017

More than 60 students from a high school in Yarmouth's twin town of Rambouillet experience their first ever assembly. The weekly ritual is not something that happens at the French college.

More than 60 students from a high school in Yarmouth's twin town of Rambouillet experience their first ever assembly. The weekly ritual is not something that happens at the French college.

Archant

The first thing anyone does with twins is spot the difference.

Brian Granger, treasurer of the Great Yarmouth Twinning Association, was among those who helped to bring about the link between Great Yarmouth High School and College Rondeau in Rambouillet. Brian Granger, treasurer of the Great Yarmouth Twinning Association, was among those who helped to bring about the link between Great Yarmouth High School and College Rondeau in Rambouillet.

And so it was at Great Yarmouth High School today when more than 60 students from the town’s non-identical double Rambouillet visited for the first time.

With a much longer school day and no uniform on the continent there was plenty to compare - but the focus was on forging links and friendship.

Although bridges had been built with other schools and on other occasions it was the first time in the town’s 60 year twinning history that such a sojourn had been staged en-masse.

The students had taken a day out from their trip to London to visit the town.

Some of the French students and Great Yarmouth High School headteacher Louise Jackson gather for a souvenir snap in the school's reception. Some of the French students and Great Yarmouth High School headteacher Louise Jackson gather for a souvenir snap in the school's reception.

Having arrived by coach their first port of call was the beach which student Prune Crouzet, said was “beautiful.”

But the 14-year-old was not so keen on wearing a uniform, adding that being free to wear what you wanted allowed students to express their personality.

Next they made their way to the high school hall to experience their first ever assembly - the regular gathering not being a feature of the Gallic timetable.

For Brian Granger, treasurer of the Great Yarmouth Twinning Association it was a great step forward which boded well for the future of the association which was “above Brexit” and nothing to do with politics.

With small links already making connections elsewhere across the borough, bringing so many youngsters to their twin town would cement the bonds, he said, adding that some of the young people were already pen-pals and eager to meet.

For Tricia Walton, head of languages at GYHS, it was a “fantastic” opportunity to hear another tongue at the diverse school where more than 25pc of pupils do not speak English as a first language.

And Joanne Martel, who teaches English at Le College Rondeau said the children had been looking forward to the visit for a long time.

The pupils were given a tour of the school in groups lead by year 10 guides, spending some time in lessons and viewing the facilities.

Later they were due to tour the town hall with councillor Barry Coleman and civic events organiser Laura Goodman.

The French school day

The pupils travelled from the College Rondeau, a 300 pupil school for 11-15 year olds, in Rambouillet, around 14 miles south west of Paris.

There is no assembly and no school uniform.

The school days runs from 8am to 5.30pm.

There are seven lessons a day, each an hour long, and an hour and a half for lunch.

The compulsory age to start school is six but in reality many children attend “maternelle” from aged three to six.

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