Japan visit for Kirk Hallam Community Academy pupils

Teaching assistant Marie Simpkins, Olivia Ravenhill, Asha Lawson-Haynes, Megan Gillott, and Sue Tadman with the Japanese students at the front.
Teaching assistant Marie Simpkins, Olivia Ravenhill, Asha Lawson-Haynes, Megan Gillott, and Sue Tadman with the Japanese students at the front.
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Students from Kirk Hallam Community Academy are eagerly looking forward to going to Japan as part of an exchange initiative.

This month, Megan Gillott, 14, Olivia Ravenhill, 15 and Asha Lawson-Haynes, 14, will travel to Japan and visit Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima island and Toyota City.

During their week-long trip they will stay with Japanese families and attend school.

Derbyshire is twinned with Toyota City and the academy is one of five schools involved in an exchange programme aimed at boosting cultural understanding between students in the two countries.

Megan said: “ We’re really excited about going over to Japan.”

Olivia said: “I’m looking forward to going to the Japanese school and seeing what it’s like, apparently they wear slippers to school. I’m also excited about seeing the temples.”

Three Japanese students, Azusa Hotta, 14, Ai Sugimoto, 14, and Yuka Shinoda, 15, were given the opportunity to experience life at Kirk Hallam Community Academy, attending lessons and taking part in activities.

They stayed with host families and visited Chatsworth House, Derby, Bakewell and London.

Activities they took part in included watching a cricket match and an athletics event and they were given the opportunity to try horseriding and bowling.

The girls also visited Ladywood Primary School and were shown around by head teacher, Melanie Lawson, before teaching the pupils some Japanese words.

At Kirk Hallam, they cooked scones and had afternoon tea with students and staff members Sue Tadman and Marie Simpkins, made friendship keyrings and had a farewell meeting with the four other schools involved to celebrate the end of the week and say goodbye.

Azusa, who stayed with Asha, said: “Everyone has been so friendly. In Japan the students are very shy. I have really enjoyed being at this school. “

Megan said she had enjoyed hosting her Japanese visitor. She said: “It’s been a great experience and I wanted to be involved because I was keen to learn about a different culture.”

Martin Ebbage, head teacher at Kirk Hallam Community Academy, said: “We were delighted to welcome our Japanese visitors to our wonderful school community and we hope they enjoyed their stay.

“An exchange like this is a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn about a different culture and we are sure that their trip to Japan will be an unforgettable experience.”