With the sights and sounds of last weekend's 13s expedition to Berlin fresh in his mind, the Head explains why he believes school trips have an important educational value.
Headmaster, Mr Hooke, Head of Design, Mr Murray and Head of Sixth Form, Ms Heller, spent the Bank Holiday weekend with 15 Harrodian 13s (Year 8s) discovering the sights, sounds and stories of the city of Berlin. The group took in spectacular and iconic city landmarks including the redesigned Reichstag and the hugely moving Holocaust memorial on foot as well as taking to two wheels to explore the wide open spaces of the Tiergarten.
‘Berlin was divided when I first visited it and it still fascinates me: its history and its amazing sights. It’s also a place that’s very easy to explore on a bike,’ says Mr Hooke. ‘I reserve a slot in my diary for the weekend in Germany every May.’
I’ve noticed how often a school trip marks a significant and sometimes unexpected leap forward for an individual’
James Hooke, Harrodian Head
Mr Hooke believes that the trips the school offers as part of the Co-Curricular programme can often have important educational significance in a pupil’s journey through the school: ‘I’ve noticed how often a school trip marks a significant and sometimes unexpected leap forward for many individuals,’ he says.
As well as the 13s weekend in Berlin, the Head also makes a point of always joining two other trips catering for different age groups. ‘I’ve always played a big part in the 11s spring trip to Rome and Sorrento,’ he says. ‘For many 11s the six-day Italy trip is a rite of passage in terms of personal independence, marking the first time the children have spent such a significant time away from their parents.’
The Head’s favourite trip of all – the Sixth Form ski trip to Val d’Isere – is finally back in the calendar after a lockdown-enforced gap of four years. ‘I love the Val d’Isere trip. It gives me the opportunity to share my passion for the mountains and skiing with 6th Formers, most of whom I’ve got to know well,’ says Mr Hooke. ‘Christmas hasn’t quite seemed like Christmas without it so I’m delighted to see it back.’