Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School and Dietrich Bonhoeffer Gymnasium completed their sixth exchange programme in July 2000. The exchange is organised by Mr. Parkinson, assisted by Mrs. Hudson. This year twenty BRGS students took part, twelve Year Nine students and eight Year Ten students.
In October 1999, BRGS students entertained their partners from DBG. The programme consisted of excursions to Liverpool, Wigan Pier and York. The German students spent two days at school, experiencing assemblies, lessons, canteen lunches and school buses. They also experienced a very wet Bonfire and Fireworks Night at Marl Pits.
The wet weather became an omen for the exchange. Usually, July is a hot, sunny month in Heidelberg. The weather became cool and wet as the group arrived and changed to hot and sunny as the group left!
This year the exchange had a new addition, work experience. The eight Year Ten students were sent to a variety of work placements. These included a veterinary surgery, a doctor's surgery, a swimming pool and a library. All the students agreed that it was worthwhile and had been a success.
The twelve Year Nine students followed a programme of excursions and days in school. The excursions were to Heidelberg, where Frau Brinkmann gave a guided tour. The second excursion was to Rothenburg, which has an amazing all year round Christmas shop. This is quite a surreal experience, walking through a Christmas grotto in July! The Criminal Museum was also visited; unfortunately there were no hands on exhibits of racks and thumbscrews for the staff to try out on the students. Speyer was the next town to be visited. Everyone enjoyed the film at the IMAX cinema. The local Cathedral is the burial place of several Holy Roman Emperors and is very plain and simple inside. This was a great contrast to York Minster. The final excursion was to Bad Wimpfen and Burg Guttenberg. All the students enjoyed playing Medieval games, followed by a medieval lunch in Bad Wimpfen. Unfortunately, the weather became very wet. It remained wet at Burg Guttenberg and the flying display of birds of prey was cancelled.
The days in school were rather a shock to the system. German school begins at 7.45 p.m., which is 6.45 BST. A very early start although to compensate this school finishes at 1.00 pompon the first day in school the students met the Headteacher, Herr Becker and had a tour of the school. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Gymnasium is about twenty-five years old, a light airy building with wide corridors, the exact opposite of BRGS. The students then joined their partners in lessons. The students spent three days in school.
The final event of the exchange was a barbeque. An outdoor event at the end of a wet week! Everyone must have prayed hard. The clouds cleared, the sun came out and the event was a great success, possibly the best end of exchange party ever. The party spirit obviously took hold, everyone enjoyed dancing, especially Thomas and Peter, who partnered each other so well!
Then it was time to return home. Another successful exchange completed. Time for the staff to have a well earned rest, before beginning the planning for the seventh exchange in 2001.