Daily Archives: July 9, 2014

France 2005 – Paris

In October 2005 we travelled to France for a Half Term Break with my (Graham’s) parents. It was a great week away staying on a Fleur Holidays campsite near Paris

Day 1 – Journey to La Croix du Vieux Pont

It was an early start to catch the Eurotunnel train across to France, but a great way to cross the Channel. We were going to France to celebrate Bekah’s 5th Birthday (and Anita’s 36th!).

Crossing the channel joined the fast moving French toll roads, stopping only for a picnic at a Bois D’Arsy.

We arrived at our Mobile Home for the week situated on the ‘La Croix du Vieux Pont’ about an hour from Paris. It turned out that this was the same one we had stayed in on our previous visit.

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Visit to Longpont and Pierrefonds

Having settled in we made the most of the afternoon and visited two local towns.

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Day 2 – Coucy le Chateau

Coucy le Chateau – a great place to visit.

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Day 3 – Disneyland Paris

One of the  highlights of our holiday was a visit to Disneyland Paris.

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Day 4 – Chateau de Sept Monts

Another day another Chateau.

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Day 5 – Vic Sur A’sne, Carrières de Confrécourt and Fort de Condé A day in three parts. Starting with a visit to the local village of Vic Sur A’sne. Having visited the local market we then travelled out and off to Carrières de Confrécourt, caves hidden within a woodland copse and home to the French Resistance. These were really hidden away amidst fields and mountains of sugar beet. Having stopped by a canal we travelled on to Fort de Condé, which was built in the time of the revolution.


Day 6 – Paris

A visit to the region just had to include Paris – so an early morning drive to a tube station and a train into the centre. It was a gorgeous sunny October day, perfect views from the Eiffel Tower of the city below.

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Day 7 –  Journey Home and Lille

We broke our journey home with a visit to Lille.

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It was a great holiday, a fabulous time together – little did I know it would be the last holiday with my Dad, who passed away the following year.

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Café, Curriculum, Catalysts and Computing

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So back to Legoland for a second day. This time I have the important but less glamorous task of manning the base, a role that basically involves sitting in the café at the entrance and waiting for any issues that might crop up, being a point of contact, drinking coffee etc.20140709-102712-37632989.jpg In this case it’s a mocha and a chocolate orange muffin. Even so it’s a long day ahead and hopefully not too exciting.

All this time gives me a chance to do some work – for me that involves looking at the schemes of work in my new school in Mwanza. Isamilo International School is a British Curriculum School. At the moment it looks as though I will have classes in Year 9, Years 10 & 11 (IGCSE) and Years 12 & 13 (A level). The curriculum is a little different from the GCSE I am currently delivering so I need to spend a little time. A few hours here will help.

I have stated elsewhere the positive reasons that I have chosen to give up teaching in the UK and move to Tanzania. As with all decisions there are negatives although in truth these are catalysts for action rather than reasons in themselves.
As a Chemistry Graduate and former science teacher I recognise the role of a catalyst in speeding up reactions (effectively stimulating them) to occur which otherwise wouldn’t occur due to a barrier known as the Activation Energy. The catalyst lowers this barrier and since in Chemistry all reactions rely on probability (chance) more reactions occur.
I have always wanted to teach in Africa but things got in the way, the barrier has been too high. In this case the catalyst has been the recent reforms to Education in the UK. In the case of ICT there has been a systematic undermining of the subject through policy and pronouncement by an education secretary (politician) who knows little about education and has been influenced by powerful voices in Computing. Now I have nothing against Computing, it is a valid and worthwhile subject and a vital element for the future, but do is ICT – the use of computers is as important as their programming. It is more than simple spreadsheets and PowerPoint. To hear government speak ICT is dull and boring (those words have been used by the Education Secretary) – I’m sure that like all subjects this can be true at times but it is a characterisation with which I heartily disagree. The government want more students studying Computing and (in theory) ICT. However, the over promotion of one subject over another with the perceived negativity towards one has been unfortunate. The result of this is that schools are making ICT optional rather than core. In my current school both ICT and Computing are going to be options next year. Perversely although we have polled strongly in the options, less students will leave school with a qualification in either in the years to come, which saddens me.

As I said at the outset all of this has been a catalyst to action rather than a reason for leaving. It remains to be seen what the knock on effect will be internationally, though I hope the errors made in the UK will not make it overseas.

In spite of all of the above I am moving to a Mwanza for many positive reasons. Just 10 days to go 🙂