insites 101 - Welcome to the Lycée International



insites 101 - Welcome to the Lycée International
May 2011
No 101
The British Section Magazine
Lycée International
St Germain-en-Laye
& Partner Schools
Rewarding alternatives...
life beyond the classroom (see page 16)
Editorial team: James Cathcart, Annie Divaret, Madeleine Hepworth, Yasmin Hollis,
Ian Macleod, Debbie Macklin, Hilary Moser
Student editors: Meriel Clementson and Catherine Russell
Visit the
British Section website
Cover photograph: British Section candidates hit the road during
an international Duke of Edinburgh assessment expedition in the
Morvan, April 2011, by Phil Troke.
In this issue
Lycée International in the news
8 -11
Green action; poetry – live in the classroom;
mapping, and more!
On covering absent teachers; revision tips;
Your Future in Europe; the impact of the Somme
to four members of staff
On stage
14 - 15
16 - 19
Student Shout
20 - 21
The Legend of Arthur – a spectacular musical
On finding alternatives to the screen;
The fun in fundraising; what next for parents after
the Lycée?; Focus on Félix Eboué, and sport.
Views on “the” wedding; thank goodness
for VOX; summer rock concerts and footy.
Journalism Competition
Haute cuisine and political wrangling
Read the winning entries
Insites apologises for grammatical errors in the
article “Making the most of Moodle in Secondary”
on Page 9 of the February issue. These occurred
during the editing process and were not those of
the authors.
Electric and Acoustic Guitar lessons in
English for beginner and intermediate
levels of all ages. Lessons at instructor’s
home in Saint-Germain-en-Laye
(5 minutes from RER)
Rates from 25€ per hour
For more information, contact
Ryan Naylor:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 06 27 00 55 02
Garçon de 14 ans, 4ème d’une famille de cinq enfants,
habitant St Germain en Laye, souhaite passer dix à
quinze jours dans une famille britannique entre le 28 juin
et le 4 août prochain. Elève en classe de 4ème bilingue
(allemand-anglais), Jean est sportif, sympathique,
ouvert sur le monde, il veut améliorer son anglais et
mieux connaître le pays. Jean apprend l’angais depuis
deux ans. Echange possible bien évidemment.
Merci de contacter la famille Villeroy : 01 30 61 95 85
Places are still available on both
Beauville Arts Performing Arts weeks
during Toussaint and Easter holidays
2011/12 for collège students.
Download the registration form and details
from the community pages on BS website or
contact: [email protected]
“Lycée International in
the news”
he Lycée International has been existence of the fourteen national sections, as
attracting the interest of both the well as communal projects such as ‘Arthur’,
local and national press during the ‘Musikalis’ and the Carrefour des études et métiers,
past few months; however, when one to name but a few, the Lycée International has
reads the headlines, one might be forgiven for conceived what my predecessor Philip Shawthinking there were two Lycées Internationaux Latimer termed ‘l’esprit de St-Germain’, binding
in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Indeed, whereas the community together and stimulating
the Courrier des Yvelines notified its readers in and sustaining excellence across successive
March that the Lycée is at a standstill (‘Le Lycée generations. It is not a spirit bred from adversity,
International au point mort’), only two months but one founded on the principles of openlater, the national magazine L’Etudiant visited mindedness, a shared sense of individual worth
and a keen desire to do well.
our school to gather evidence
for their feature article on ‘lycées
Moreover, one must not
d’élite’. So, who do we believe?
“l’esprit de
deny that we are extremely
privileged to have use (for
The source of the Courrier’s
the time being at least) of the
comment is the status of the
château d’Hennemont and,
Lycée International’s development
plan – a €60 million project to improve the despite the relatively poor conditions of the
condition of the existing buildings and to classrooms, the park around the château (which
construct new classrooms, enabling the Lycée is protected in the development plan) provides a
International to welcome up to 300 more pupils lovely environment for pupils to find a welcome
– which is undeniably in limbo. The reason for détente during extremely busy days. Nor is the
this is both administrative and political. First, Lycée International being left to deteriorate
although the Lycée International is one of the whilst awaiting the green light from the région:
few cités scolaires in France to bring together instead of waiting in vain, our Proviseur and
écoles (maternelle and primaire), collège and lycée Intendant are doing their very best to improve
on one site, a law passed in 2006 dispersed the general environment for our current pupils,
the financial responsibility for the different making some notable advances and a significant
levels among different administrative bodies. difference to the everyday life of the lycée. For
Consequently, whereas the département funds example, the school was painted for the rentrée
the école and collège, the région funds the lycée. in 2008, the library (CDI) is being entirely
The problem is: the école, collège and lycée are renovated this summer and grants of over €2
moral entities; physically, they occupy the million have recently been approved by the
same site! Therefore, any plans for developing conseil général for the renovation of the sports
the infrastructure must be agreed by both the hall in Fourqueux and the roof and windows in
département and the région. However, the the primary building.
département and the région do not agree on the
In conclusion, the Lycée International should
need for the development and expansion of
rightly be regarded as an elite school but it is
the Lycée International, and this is a matter of
at a crossroads, not a standstill. We would very
much like an improved working environment
It is perhaps something of an irony that at and more space to admit more deserving pupils,
the same time as we lament the slow progress of but the slow progress of our plans to ensure this
our development plan, the dilapidation of the will never be allowed to inhibit us from striving
Lycée International campus and the frustrating for and achieving excellence.
restriction on pupil numbers due to the lack of
space, the Lycée International is also heralded
James Cathcart
by L’Etudiant magazine as one of the country’s
Director, British Section
leading schools, coming 8 th in its national
[email protected]
league tables!
The success of our students clearly shows
that a school is defined by its community, not
by its buildings. Indeed, it is the motivation of
the pupils, the competence and commitment of
the teachers, and the support of the parents and
wider community that make for such a special
and successful place. Moreover, through the
Pupils proud of
their garbage
Facing the future
he future holds many
challenges for young
people. Climate change
and global poverty are only
two examples. Our current
model of development is
placing an increasing burden
on our planet. In order to
secure the future of children
all over the world, we need to
make decisive moves towards
sustainable development.
The British Section believes we
have a role to play in preparing
our pupils to build a brighter
future. The class projects are
helping pupils to understand
our impact on the planet and
encouraging them to weigh up
the evidence for themselves.
T he many initiatives undertaken by our
pupils show how much they care and it is this
commitment to care which is guiding their
projects. Our pupils in the Ecole Félix Eboué are
actively meeting the challenges of becoming an
Eco-école and at Primary Forum on May 11th, the
school’s Directeur, Mr Robert, described some of
the many activities and local enterprises in which
they have become involved. This year’s 7ème/
CM2 ecology topic has placed its emphasis on
energy and most importantly on the renewable
energies, while the Student Council has enlisted
their help in the recycling of paper.
O n these pages, across some of the
articles written by the pupils, we invite you to
discover their interest and enthusiasm and their
determination to make a contribution.
Annie Divaret
Making wind turbines at Les Fauvettes
Les Fauvettes
Our 7ème pupils spent two days at this
residential educational centre in April, working
on ecological projects and carrying out
experiments with an environmental theme.
Here are some of their reports:
Lichens are a mixture of algae and fungus and
can live up to 9000 years. They travel in the wind and
land on trees, stone walls etc. There are three types
of lichens: crustose which are extremely difficult to
peel off; foliose which can be easily removed with a
knife and the rarer species, fruticose, which look like
tiny trees growing on the bark. But sadly if the
prevailing winds carry pollution the lichens die and
therefore can tell us if there is pollution.
Wind turbines are a renewable source of
energy. The wind makes the propellers turn, that
produces a kinetic energy which is then transformed
into electricity. Our wind turbines did not produce
any electricity but did turn in the wind. We had to
bend the propellers so that they could capture the
wind. Some wind turbines worked better in certain
into the current and timed how long they took to
flow down the 5 metres. We tested several different
parts of the river because we had to decide the best
spot for a water wheel. We chose the far edge
because the water flowed really quickly. But the water
needs to be deep and this is a problem when there
is no rain.
As entomologists we studied insects and
minibeasts. We had to collect as many as we could
from the roots of trees, a rotting tree trunk and under
stones. Then we did some pond dipping and found
shrimps and pond skaters. We discovered that insects
are air breathing with a hard-jointed exoskeleton. The
body is divided into 3 parts, the head, the thorax and
the abdomen. We separated our specimens into
different categories, for example crustaceans,
molluscs, spiders etc. (some people suffer from
Using solar energy to make sun pictures
Biomass. Our experiment was based on the
energy created by decomposition. We collected grass
cuttings, then we put them in a sealed plastic bag and
measured the temperature of the grass. We recorded
22°C. After that we put our bag into a cardboard box
and left it under Callum’s bed. Two days later, we
collected the box with the biomass from under the
bed. We discovered that it was colder than before.
The grass which had been put in a sealed, insulated
box and kept in the salle du fenil was warmer. In
conclusion, the released gas from the grass can be
transformed into energy.
We experimented with solar energy. We
gathered sticks or plants and then put them on our
piece of paper making a design. After that we placed
our sun papers in the sunlight. It worked because the
sticks and plants blocked the sunlight and left the
paper white where they
were placed. The rest of the
paper turned dark blue.
O ne activity I really
enjoyed was the garbage
modelling. We used all
sorts of pieces of cardboard,
plastic lids, egg boxes etc.
This helped save several
kilos of trash from entering
a landfill site. This was art
in a strange modern way
that not everyone can
Water energy. First
we measured a length of
the bank about 5 metres.
Then we collected pooh
sticks. We threw our sticks
Measuring water energy
Operation Ladybird
Ending on a high note!
Inspired by Janet Hadley’s voluntary work
with One International and Muktangan, the
community-based school project in Mumbai,
our 7ème/CM2 pupils decided to dedicate any
money raised at their June 2009 book sale to
helping these two excellent organisations. Since
these tentative beginnings the fund raising has
gone from strength to strength. In September
2009, Anne Aubry and Madeleine Hepworth,
PTG fund raisers, volunteered their support
suggesting the collection of inkjet cartridges for
recycling. This has been a very successful whole
school initiative with collection boxes in all
British Section classrooms. Another book sale
in 2010 raised a further €316, Sarah Barthen’s
card sale raised €98 and Anne Aubry’s tea
towel enterprise earned the project a staggering
€2405.35. The Student Council, represented by
Emma Hadley and Alice Houiller sold Indian gifts
at the Christmas Fête which raised €173.80.
These items had come from the Self-employed
Women’s Association which raises the status
of women in Indian society.
This fundraising project which started in
a small way, driven by the ambitions of our
7ème/CM2 pupils has achieved beyond our
expectations. It has captured the imagination
and support of our community, including an
interesting classroom project
comparing the movement of
population from countryside to
urban life in 19th century Britain
to present day Mumbai and we
were particularly fortunate in
having Vijay Thakur who came
to share his expertise with the
Proceeds from this year’s ‘Quiz
Night’ have swelled the coffers to
the amazing total of €3,529! The
7ème book sale (see poster, right)
on the 28th May will be our last
fundraising event for this cause,
although it will be possible to
drop off your ink cartridges until
the beginning of September.
Watch out for final total
raised, in the November edition
of Insites.
Pupils pitted against pollution!
Since September, the Ecole Primaire Félix
Eboué has adopted a new Projet d’Ecole
that is involving the pupils in working
towards achieving “Eco-Ecole” status.
Here, some of them describe what they
have been doing...
Our primary school, Félix Eboué in
Le Pecq, took on the task of cleaning the
banks of the River Seine. We know that
just one person can make a difference
and this year our whole school is
working to become an eco-école which
is an environmentally active school
working against pollution.
We were given gardening gloves to
pick up the waste. We found a barbecue,
a chair, sponges, nails, bottles of beer
with mud in them. The experience was
great because the things that are buried
in the ground like batteries get horribly
rusty and the liquid inside called
alkaline is released into the soil which
is dangerous.
Afterwards, we weighed all the
rubbish we had collected. We had 305
kilos of rubbish. We learned how rubbish
is checked before it is incinerated and
how it is recycled.
As a reward, the next day we were
shown around a nature reserve, just
down river. This sparkling nature
reserve is part of the water treatment
centre and we saw lots of marvellous
different birds, ducks, herons
and cormorants. We all received a
9ème CE2 & 8ème / CM1 pupils Félix Eboué
he Student Council has
enlisted the help of pupils
in 7ème/CM2 in another ‘green’
initiative. The 7ème pupils are
designing a series of wastepaper
bins which will be placed in
classrooms to collect scrap
paper. The Lycée has no facility
for the recycling of paper so
senior students will collect
the paper and take it to be
Sincerest thanks to all for
your help with this very special
Annie Divaret
Poetry “LIVE” with Matt Harvey
“Flying with both feet on the ground”
This quote is from Matt Harvey’s unpublished
poem, ‘Topsy Turvey’ which he read to all the
10ème/CE1 and 9ème/CE2 classes during his recent
visit. Matt ran 4 poetry readings and workshops for
our young pupils. I say
young poets because
after his workshops every
one of them is now an
accomplished poet!
The children’s
concentration was
remarkable and their
pleasure in listening to
the poetry was surpassed
as each of them realised
that they could write
poetry too! The cherry
on the cake was an
opportunity for each
child to read aloud at least one of their poems to
their classmates. Just like the live performance poet
in the classroom! Matt himself was organising the
readings, giving advice, “Read slowly, quite loud”,
leading the applause, “A clap at the end” and praising
the performances.
Matt began each session by reading his picture
book in verse, ‘Shopping with Dad’. Illustrated by
Miriam Latimer, it recounts a little girl’s trip to the
supermarket with her Dad. Best
of all is the muddled shopping
list they have been given which
includes “well behaved daughter
water” and “a bucket
of worms”. Next on
the menu, writing
another muddled-up
shopping list together.
Then time to try out
writing for themselves,
their own versions of
the list. Here are a
few of the items they
‘Jumping prunes...
Smelly cheese icecream... Vampire
tomatoes... Flying
salmon... Red leopard legs... Bouncing bread...
Coconut sea fruit... Masta pasta (say it)... Rocket
shuttle green beans... Hawks socks... Moon milk...
Frogs ears... Dungeon drink apple juice...
The workshops continued with readings from
Matt’s poems, including a love poem to a potato
and his latest unfinished picture book about a
tennis match - great subject matter from the
Wimbledon Championships Poet of 2010.
Shaping Poetry
upils in 8ème/CM1 have been
exploring different forms of poetry
writing, in particular shape poems and
concrete verse. A shape poem is a poem
where the visual layout of the words
reflects the shape or aspect of a subject.
Concrete poems are very similar to shape
poems although concrete poems can be
presented as sculptures where words
or phrases can be repeated to form a
block of text. The shape of a concrete
poem adds further layers of meaning to
the poem. Here are some examples of
their work.
T hank you to Hilary Moser and the Visiting
Authors Group of the PTG for organising another
memorable visitor for our young pupils.
Matt Harvey is a regular contributor to BBC
Radio 4’s Saturday Live and for the last two years has
written the Desktop Poetry slot in the Guardian. He
is the creator of Empath Man, a mini-series on Radio
4 and he has performed at the Edinburgh Festival.
Matt Harvey’s two collections of poems are both
published by the Poetry Trust, ‘The Hole in the Sum
of My Parts’ and ‘Where Earwigs Dare’.
Jill Johnstone
Mapping the Lycée site
he 11ème/CP pupils found out what
it was like to be cartographers when
they toured the campus, observing
the landmarks and the different buildings
which compose the lycée site. They had
to look closely at the structures and the
building materials and how they differ. They
considered which buildings may have been
built a long time ago and those which are
more modern. Once back in the classroom,
they drew a map, carefully noting where each
building is situated and recording them in
sequence to help a visitor find their way.
We’re off to
Sherwood Forest!
(except it’s Fontainebleau really!)
At the end of May, the 8ème
children, their teachers and a
band of intrepid parents will
leave their comfortable homes
to experience life as outlaws.
For three days we will be setting
up camp in Bois-le-Roi, in a
fantastic centre whose doors
open directly into the forest.
Spending most of the time
outdoors, exploring the forest,
working together and imagining
how life might have been for
Robin Hood and his band of
Merry Men; the trip will inspire
the children’s own writing of a
play script (so watch this space
for a performance too!) The
trip is the exciting culmination
of a yearlong cross-curricular
project exploring the British
Isles, its geography, history and
Stephanie Neville
This drawing was done
by Harry, one of our
pupils in Maternelle 1.
We thought it was
such a super picture
by such a young lad,
and wanted to publish
it in Insites, along with
the accompanying
description of what
is happening.
A high note at the Ecole Félix Eboué Musical
Evening in the Salle des Fêtes, Friday 29th April.
The British Section choir, led by Jules Harding and
assisted by Stephanie Neville, sang a programme of
traditional songs from around the British Isles.
News and events
eputy Directors,
David Jackson
and Nick Baker
explain why teachers are
sometimes absent in the
secondary department and
what happens when they are.
Replacing absent teachers
Sometimes when a teacher is absent, classes
are sent into “perm”. It is then that parents often
pose the question; “why doesn’t the section
provide a replacement?” British Section teachers
are usually in school teaching of course but from
time to time teachers are unavoidably absent. This
might be because of illness or because of official
duties requiring their attendance at a meeting
(for example concerning the OIB or the Brevet
exams) and sometimes it is because of ongoing
professional training. So what then happens to the
classes? In our French host schools, the answer is
fairly straightforward – when a teacher is absent,
the students are sent to “perm”. The children are
either directed to a classroom where they are
supervised by a surveillant or sent to the CDI to
work individually. Our policy in the British Section
is rather different. We try to provide a replacement
(or cover) teacher from among our own staff as
far as it is possible to do so. However this is more
difficult to do than it might seem. At any given point
of the school day, when the “cover” is required,
many of our other staff will be teaching. Therefore
the availability of staff is very restricted. In addition it
is very difficult to find “supply teachers” in the wider
community as would be the case in the United
Kingdom. Despite our best attempts to find local,
qualified teachers who might be available to call
on for occasional supply work, this has not proved
successful. Despite this, the Section does try to cover
lower school classes (6ème to 3ème) as a priority.
Our thinking is that younger students have more
difficulty in working by themselves if they are not
supervised by a teacher but that older students can
be expected to be more responsible for working
on their own. Over the course of a school year,
many classes do get a replacement teacher when it
is necessary but when it is not possible it is not for
the lack of trying!
David Jackson
The impact of the OIB
Every year, at the end of the school year, most
of the Section’s English and History-Geography
teachers take on a different role: that of OIB
T his summer, the OIB orals begin on
Wednesday 22 June. British Section teachers will
be examining OIB candidates from 25 schools, in
nine OIB examinination centres from Brussels to
Aix-en-Provence. Clearly, during this period they
will be not be available to teach their classes at
the Collège Pierre et Marie Curie and the Collège les
Hauts Grillets. Since almost all Secondary teachers
are involved, we will be unable to provide cover for
the lessons affected.
Classes on the Lycée International site will already
have finished by this time, since examinations are
actually conducted there: the Lycée is the largest
OIB exam centre in France, welcoming candidates
from other schools around Paris as well as from
the Lycée itself.
A few British Section teachers are also
committed to marking the OIB written exams,
which take place on 6 and 7 June. This marking,
which is carried out under the pressure of strict
deadlines, causes a little disturbance to classes at
PMC and Hauts Grillets; where possible, however,
we shall cover lessons that are affected.
Although collège pupils lose their British Section
teachers for several days at the end of each year,
there is a long-term advantage. In a few years they
will, as OIB candidates themselves, benefit from the
commitment that our teachers, and those of other
schools, give to the OIB during the month of June.
Nicholas Baker
Record attendance at Open Day
Journée des Portes Ouvertes - Collège les Hauts Grillets
The third annual Open Day at the Collège les
Hauts Grillets was held on Saturday, 2nd April. The
attendance record was the best yet; almost 500
previous, current and future students visited the
school, accompanied by their parents.
As well as an opportunity for next year’s
British Section 6èmes to visit their new school, it
was also a chance for the new Site Coordinator,
Ms Claire Allen, to see where she will be based
from Rentrée 2011.
“I really enjoyed my first open morning at
the Collège les Hauts Grillets, it was great to meet
both current students and the new 6èmes and
their parents,” said Ms Allen. “There was a real
buzz that morning and a very warm atmosphere.
I’m really looking forward to getting to know the
students and parents better come September.”
Many thanks to:
• Claire Allen for her assistance with
presenting the VLE
the Hauts Grillets Contact Parent team;
Anne Cotard, Christine Bruylant, Debbie
Rattier and Iona Brouillet-Lee.
• the 4ème students who ran the guided
tours: Benjamin Shing, Alexander Sy-Quia,
Elise Hagen, Héloise Ely, Lucia Tsoi,
Georgina Connors, Ian Ellis , Zoe Ferry,
Rebecca Boyd and Emma Rattier.
Xana Jones
Like last year, there were guided tours of
the school by 4ème students and the British
Section classroom was open for viewing. This
year’s highlight was a presentation by Ms Allen
and Ms Jones of how the new Virtual Learning
Environment (VLE) has been used to support
and enhance teaching and learning in English and
History lessons.
T he activities proposed by our French
colleagues included demonstrations of science
experiments, a performance by the Hispanic
dance group and presentations of the various
trips and projects undertaken by staff over the
year, like the 4ème Latin class’s visit to Rome and
the Kangaroo Mathematics competition.
From left to right, Mme Leignel, Mme
Ansart, James Cathcart and Anne Cotard.
Help with revision
Talk to your cat!
Francesca Cartier reports on this year’s
Revision weekend for Terminale students.
12.30 Saturday. After four hours in a
Philosophy Bac Blanc, the British Section Terminales
trooped up to the top of the Lycée hill to take the
bus that would take them to Les Fauvettes, the site
of the Revision Weekend. On arrival, Mr Jackson
rapidly set the tone reminding us that we needed to
start “revising actively”. He proposed various study
methods, perhaps the most memorable and original
being his advice of “talking to our cat” to memorize
our course! With three lectures on Saturday and
four on Sunday, we were given the opportunity to
review our different History and Geography topics,
ranging from the Cold War to Globalization, and
the Vth Republic. Whilst Mr Lowe convinced us
through constant repetition (and the bait of sweets
to win us over) that “History is complex”, Mr
Jackson invited us to jump into his “helicopter”so as
to “fly over” British politics, tactfully touching down
on certain important events and locations.
A lthough the name suggests otherwise, the
Revision weekend was also a time for all of us to
relax. Saturday evening started with a session of
rounders, with one of the teams fittingly named
“Maggie” by Mr Tomlinson after Margaret Thatcher.
Needless to say, the team was “not for turning!”
The game was forcefully brought to an end after
an enthusiastic Mr Lowe pitched the ball into the
running stream bordering the playing ground. Mr
Tomlinson saved the day by running in the mud to
retrieve the ball. We then all headed towards the
Common Room where Mrs Davies awaited us with
a very... British quiz. On top form, she brought our
knowledge of England to the test with questions
such as “What are the ingredients of the dish Toad
in the Hole?”* and “What is the translation for the
Cockney expression Trouble and Strife?”**. Sunday
morning began, for a motivated few, with a run
around the park; then followed breakfast, our final
lectures and departure.
Top ten tips
selected by David Jackson
Make a detailed revision timetable on a big
piece of paper and put it up at home. Letting
other people know your plans lightens the
load. Rather like getting married, you feel more
committed to your vows if a lot of people have
seen you make them.
Facts are most available and digestible first thing
in the morning. Start at 9am, and get the bulk of
your revision done early.
When making notes, don’t just write down “The
Cuban missile crisis happened in 1962”. Instead,
put “When was the Cuban missile crisis and why
did it matter?” in one column, and write “ 1962”
and why it was significant in an opposite column.
Cover up the answer and test yourself.
Unplug your computer and turn off your mobile
phone. Simply too distracting.
The word stands for Make Names Easily
Memorable by Organising Nominated Initial
Characters. The website Student UK suggests
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine
Pizzas to help remember the nine planets in
order of distance from the sun (Mercury, Venus,
Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune,
Do as top tennis players do. When Federer and
Nadal need to raise their energy levels, they dip
into their kitbags and unzip a banana.
If you’re studying King Lear for English, it helps
to see the play. For history, you can’t see 60year-old events taking place. But you can reenact them in your own home! Invite classmates
over and share out the parts – one to play
Margaret Thatcher, another James Callaghan,
another Edward Heath. Let the cat take on the
roll of the Trade Unions or the IMF. Work from
the 1973 oil crisis, through the election of the
Iron Lady and the Winter of Discontent to the
1979 election.
Place revision cards in order on each step. For
example, try the main stages leading to Italian
unification. Start at Cavour’s appointment as
Prime Minister in 1852 and by the time you
reach the first turn, you should be at Garibaldi.
If you run out of stairs, do the events up to
1860 one day, the events from 1861 to 1870
the next. If you live in a flat, line up the cards
along the hallway.
Revise with friends. With dates and vocabulary,
it’s better if someone else is testing you.
Don’t try to learn the poetry quotations while
watching Columbo reruns. But that doesn’t
mean you can’t record a favourite programme
and watch it as a treat, between morning and
afternoon revising time.
Most of us looked forward to the revision
weekend with mixed feelings. On one hand,
excited anticipation for our final group outing. On
the other, a sense of foreboding as it foreshadowed
the beginning of the intense studying required of us
for the Bac. We all left feeling (at least somewhat!)
reassured. More importantly perhaps, the teachers
subtly succeeded in guiding us onto the right path
for revision while giving us the opportunity to
thoroughly enjoy our two days together.
A big thank you to Mrs Marks for organising it!
* A: Sausages and Yorkshire pudding ** A: Wife
Revising together-Terminale students at Les Fauvettes.
Debating hot topics...
‘Your Future in Europe Conference’ 2011 Palais des Congrès
s she has done in recent
years, Julie Marks
organised for a group of
students to attend this inspiring
event for young people, held in
Paris. Here is their feedback:
Harold Wilson once said, ‘In politics a week
is a very long time’. I reflected on the truth of this
statement as I sat with British Section students during
this year’s Your Future in Europe Conference at
the Palais des Congrès. Last year we had listened
to Vincent Cable, then deputy leader of the Liberal
Democrats, speak about the financial crisis. I recalled
him saying that a wise economist never predicts
the future but rather presents possible scenarios.
Who could have predicted then that just one year
later Cable would have been appointed Business
Secretary in a Coalition UK Government?
One of the strengths of this conference is that
it attracts excellent speakers who debate Europe’s
most current issues. This year the conference was
attended by more than 2,500 students aged 17/18.
It was a busy day which included seven sessions
presented by speakers, ranging from leading politicians
to experts in European business, economics and
culture. It provided opportunities for students to
both listen to and challenge the experts.
Peter Luff is currently the director of Action
for a Global Climate Community and chairman of
the European Movement. He was also a former
director of Amnesty International and the Royal
Commonwealth Society. In the first session, Peter
looked at the social, political and economic events
that have helped to shape the Union and gave us
an overview of the future of Europe. He reminded
us of how far Europe has come since the Second
World War.
Joe McEvan was a favourite with the students.
He is Communities Manager at Innocent drinks, a
UK company which has grown dramatically since it
started making fruit smoothies twelve years ago. His
message to those entrepreneurial students within the
audience was to believe in themselves and have a go
at developing their ideas.
Shami Chakrabarti was a very popular speaker.
Shami has been Director of Liberty (The National
Council for Civil Liberties) since September 2003.
She is clearly passionate about the need for the
continual defense and promotion of human rights
and values in Parliament, the Courts and wider
society and she transmitted this to the students in a
very engaging manner.
Once again the highlight of the day for many
students was the Question Time session. The panel
of leading MPs and experts consisted of Tessa Jowell,
Labour party member of parliament for Dulwich
and West Harwood since 1992, Daniel Hannan,
MEP, Shami Chakrabarti and Peter Luff. Students
were encouraged to voice their own opinions and
questions which proved to be of a very high quality.
It was intriguing for them to witness some heated
debates between the panelists. The students were
clearly very interested in and motivated by the issues
presented during the day. It was reassuring that
so many were keen to voice their own opinions,
challenging the beliefs and ideas of the speakers.
Julie Marks
Strong emotions
The mere three of us, since the rest of our
group trapped in a Science Mock Exam was
to join us later, proudly marched into the vast
amphitheatre at the Palais des Congrès at 10
o’clock on Saturday 5th February representing
the British section of the Lycée International.
Once the room was swarming with students
from all over Britain, Dermont Murnaghan
swooped the floor with his legendary enthusiasm
and cheerfulness that made him the face of
BBC Breakfast for four years, to welcome the
first speaker to the conference, Peter Luff, former
director of Amnesty International.
This knowledgeable and powerful man started
the day off smoothly with a full introduction to the
creation of the European Union. He was followed
by “the most dangerous woman in Britain”, Shami
Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty (The National
Council for Civil Liberties). Her talk on Human
Rights was most inspiring and one could feel the
strong emotions she felt
about subjects such as
the right to vote for any
human being, including
prisoners. This topic
especially raised much
controversy amongst
the students and the
auditorium was buzzing
with questions.
Next to lighten
the mood came Joe
McEwan representing
the Innocent company,
famous for their smoothies.
His presentation was
entertaining and striking
and the witty points
and amusing examples
he used will help those students contemplating
starting a business. Then as everyone’s stomach
started grumbling Arne Mielken came on stage
to present the “Erasmus Programme for Young
Entrepreneurs”, such a great opportunity for
After the lunch break Tim Harford, from
the BBC programme “Trust Me I’m An
Economist”, talked to us about the recession and
Peter Luff came back to talk about environmental
issues. These subjects brought lots of questions
from eager students which led to a heated debate
in which David Hannan, MEP, Shami
Chakrabarti, Rt. Hon, Tessa Jowell, MP, and
Peter Luff were enthusiastic participants.
At the end of the day, even though some
questions were left unanswered, we felt we had
learned enormously from this rich and diversified
conference that will last in our memories as a life
time experience.
Morgane Singh
From civil liberties to
Saturday looked like a long day: rendez-vous
at school at 8h15 in the morning for a biology bac
blanc of an hour and a half, what all the premières
were looking forward to after a crazy final week of
TPE, and then swept up and dropped off at the
RER to arrive as fast as possible at the Palais
des Congrès. We were to attend “Your future in
Europe” conference, a full day’s programme with a
variety of speakers.
Well, the bac blanc might have been a long
drag, but boy was this conference interesting!
Unfortunately a group of us only arrived in time
for Shami Chakrabati’s speech about Liberty; but
perhaps it is better to think that at least we
were lucky enough to catch her talk. To seize
an amphitheatre full of adolescents in complete
silence for an hour is some accomplishment:
which is exactly what Shami achieved – along
with outbreaks of applause. But what made it
more exciting were the opposing opinions in the
audience. Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
Shami argued passionately that they should; but
not everybody agreed.
The mood swung completely when 26 yearold Joe McEwan, Communities Manager
at the smoothie company ‘Innocent’, walked in
wearing a loose shirt and jeans. His very downto-earth, laid-back attitude charmed all of us into
listening to the great story of how things work
at Innocent. With a clever PowerPoint up his
sleeve to accompany his jokes, we were suddenly
learning the key to success in business life: always
say “yes”.
Later, Tim Harford from The Economist
introduced yet another atmosphere: his challenging
talk concerning the financial crisis of 2008
held our attention as he explained its causes. Of
particular relevance was his analysis of the effects
of the crisis for our generation.
I think all in all though, my favourite part of the
conference was the question time at the end. The
panel, consisting of Shami Chakrabati, Daniel
Hannan MEP, Tessa Jowell MP and Peter
Luff took it in turns to answer questions from
various students. The definite and contrasting
views of Hannan and Luff led to a passionate
debate between the two speakers on the subject
of waiting for trial, whilst Chakrabati vehemently
debated why university fees should not be raised,
against Hannan’s view that they should. This
discussion led to much whispering among the
crowd, who generally supported Chakrabati’s point
of view. I think I share Hannan’s opinion on
this argument though, money has to come from
somewhere and given that further education is a
matter of choice and not indispensable, we should
try to give back at least part of what we are receiving
for our university studies? All these questions
and debates sparked a desire to discuss them more
deeply with the panel, but of course time ran out
fast. These ideas will stay in our heads though,
and I am sure we will take the opportunity to
talk about them between ourselves.
Fiona Macklin
Thoughts on the visit to the Somme
O f all the school visits that a History
teacher can be involved in, there is nowhere
quite like the Somme. Especially when the
sun shines on it as it did for us this year. Once
you have turned east off the motorway at
Amiens you are into the Picardie countryside
and it simply rolls and rolls from one village to
the next and were it not for the cemeteries
and the monuments, one could imagine that
the whole region has never been anything
but the calm and still place that it is today.
But the names of the villages and the fields
that surround them give away their story
– Thiepval, Beaumont-Hamel, Fricourt, Serre.
These places and many others were the scene
of the most fascinating and terrible actions
of the First World War and they are all
part of the giant classroom of the Somme
was - what we see touches our emotions. For
a teacher like me, with dozens of stories from
this place to tell it is, every single year, a thrill
to be there with students, showing them the
place where ordinary men did extra-ordinary
things. There is a trend in education pushing
us to measure progress at every stage, to be
able to show and prove that our teaching is
making an impact on the students. I never
know what impact taking children to these
places has – it is simply impossible to measure
so I have never tried. But I do know that the
place makes a hell of an impact on me.
Teachers of History are always trying to
engage their students in the subject. “This
really happened,” we say. “This is real.” Yet,
while students have never actually accused
me of making up the stories I tell in History
lessons, there have been times (especially on
Friday afternoons) when the involvement of
students in their work has been less than total.
“It was a long time ago,” they say. “How can
this be relevant to me?”
‘An excellent trip. We saw what the trenches
were like so the IGCSE course became more
interesting and felt more real.’
Standing on the fields of the Somme brings
it all home. Suddenly the things we read about
in the text books become tremendously
relevant. It doesn’t matter how long ago it all
Chris Lowe
What the students said:
‘It was incredible to see the Thiepval Memorial to
the Missing of the Somme. So many names...’
‘It was great to see exactly how close the trenches
were to each other and effect the war had on the
villages there.’
‘Being there made it a lot easier to visualize what
the fighting might have been like.’
‘Extremely moving. I thought the best part was
going to the Thiepval Memorial and seeing the
thousands of names carved into the stone. It
created a link with your family and the present.’
our members of staff
are leaving the British
Section at the end of this
school year. Roger Stephens and
Anne Davis are retiring after a
combined 52 years of dedicated
service. John Cannon, who retired
from mainstream teaching at the
end of 2009, will also be ending
his career in the British Section
this summer. Finally, Chris
Lowe, who has made a significant
impact and contribution in a
short space of time is returning to
the UK where his wife, Gaynor,
has been appointed to a senior
leadership role in a new school
for performing arts. On behalf
of countless past and present
pupils, parents and colleagues
- thank you and bonne route!
‘Larguons les Amarres…’
‘It makes me breathless.
It’s like falling and recovering
In huge gesturing loops
Through an empty sky.’
Philip Larkin
When people ask
me how long I’ve
been teaching in the
British Section, I tend
to respond evasively.
“About a hundred
years,” is the standard
réplique. And why
this diffidence? Well,
after one decade it’s
easy: ten years is long,
but OK; a good solid
sort of figure. A second decade is a just graspable
concept; but admitting to a third can be uncomfortable.
Eyes glaze. Smiles become slightly fixed. “Where is
the zimmerframe?” I hear them wonder. So yes,
better to keep it indeterminate.
Looking back, however, into this distant past of
the early eighties, one remembers a British Section
characterised by a kind of happy anarchy, where
experiment and improvisation prevailed in every
area. The Section office, just before it moved into
the old Domaine building, was a prefab, piled high
in that predigital age with paper and innumerable
teetering boxes of files. The English syllabus was a
hazy concept – teachers taught what they wanted to
teach. Trips and outings were spur of the moment
affairs and happened with, by comparison with
today’s processes, no more than a perfunctory nod
to the administration. Eagle Star statements were
handwritten! Exams? Children took and passed
them but they did not loom large in the collective
psyche. And ‘management’ was a term unknown in
the Section, for nobody felt they were managing
or being managed by anyone else. Only gradually
did it make its way into our vocabulary, first with
a facetious snicker, then in a tone of apology, and
finally… with a straight face.
So. Will I miss it all? Probably. The prospect of
abruptly calling a halt to things which have occupied
and preoccupied me so absorbingly for twenty
nine years is an odd one. But it is good to see the
British Section renewing itself so vigorously and
energetically, and it is time I turned my attention to
other important things, the nature of which I shall
leave you to imagine.
Roger Stephens
Happy Days!
The Section has more than doubled in size since
then and its architecture has inevitably become more
complex. But I can’t say I feel nostalgic about these
early days because the essential freedoms in this job
are still there. We still teach, by and large, the texts
which we want to teach in the way we want to teach
them and that is worth a great deal.
Basically there are two reasons why I have had
such intense enjoyment out of being an English
teacher in the Section all this time. Firstly, I have
been able to read a whole body of literature that I
might not have got around to otherwise. Secondly,
and more important, I have been able to share
my enthusiasm for it with several generations of
interesting, thoughtful, funny children. As a teacher
you can’t ask for much more than that. This morning
my 4ème Group 2 spent a double lesson first
debating whether France should ditch its nuclear
power stations, and then dramatizing a poem by
Thomas Hardy. The preparation, particularly for
the dramatization, was lighthearted and funny and
a little chaotic and I’m not sure they realized just
how good their performances were at the end.
But it is moments like these which bring home why
the classroom is such a great place to be. We are
fortunate as teachers in the British Section to have
many such moments.
And finally, the Collège Pierre et Marie Curie. My
colours have been nailed to this particular mast since
September 1982. I began with a 6ème class of eight
and a 5ème of 13. Now we are more than 140.
There is no space here to trace the history of the
Section’s development in the Collège. The numbers
tell us something, as does the constantly improving
performance of our children in the second cycle at
the Lycée International. The real strength of PMC,
though, lies in the fact that it is a normal school with
a normal social mix, where good sense and sanity
have always prevailed. It really is a very good school
for our children to spend their Collège years in and I
am proud to have been associated with it.
When we arrived in France I little thought that
23 years later I would be writing a ‘farewell’ to the
British Section of the Lycée International. Originally
our tour was for three years, and, like many
people who come to France as ‘expats’ the move
necessitated several changes and adjustments to our
family. Our elder daughter was in the middle of A
levels and the other three children were at different
stages of their education. A friend told us about the
Lycée International, so, knowing nothing much about
it, we applied for places for the two boys. On the
day of the interview, we were horrified to realize
that Edward, our younger son, had left his shoes in
England. All he had to wear was a pair of old, scruffy
trainers! However, our embarrassment was relieved
when we met Richard Moxham, who some may still
remember, because he was wearing even scruffier
trainers along with an old T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
In the end Edward never came to the Lycée because
we did not finally arrive in France as a family until
Christmas, so the two younger children went to the
British school and Edward stayed there. Sophie did
come to the Lycée in sixième and so, before I was a
teacher in the British Section, I was a parent – and
a parent of two children who did Français spécial,
one of them in Seconde....
Happy Days!
A s parents, we greatly appreciated all that
the Lycée and the British Section had to offer
our children. As well as academic challenge and
inspiration, our children were able to benefit from
the many activities in the Lycée, particularly, in their
case, theatre and music. Naturally, they became
bi-lingual and were then able to criticize their
parents’ French accents, grammatical mistakes and
general incompetence in the French language.
Both of them have benefited enormously from
being bi-lingual and bi-cultural and both still have
a wide circle of friends from their Lycée days. So,
as a Mum, I would like to say a big ‘Thank you’
to my colleagues in the Lycée and in the Section
for their hard work and dedication and for the
opportunities they gave our children.
When we came to France I did not know that
I would be working in the British Section. In fact I
was not too pleased about moving to France, since,
after years of working part time while I brought up
our four children, I had not long had a job as Head
of History in a girls’ boarding school. Just as I was
wondering what I was going to do with myself in
France I spotted an advertisement in the Times
Ed, and the rest, as they say, is History.
It is hard to believe that twenty-three years
have gone by, but I count myself very lucky to have
had them. Being paid to do something you love in
a country you love, with friendly, interesting and
inspiring colleagues and delightful pupils, seems
a very good deal! Of course, like most teachers,
for me the pupils are the biggest attraction. They
are a constant delight and I never tire of their
company and of being able to teach them things
that I find passionately interesting. That is what
I will miss most, I know. Over the years, there
have been many children and young people to get
through exams or to initiate into the discipline and
joy of History but the thrill and the challenge of
each new rentrée never lessen.
I’ll be thinking of you all and missing you next
Anne Davis
Not ready for Falstaff
I was made to read Hotspur and then
Enobarbus by Bill Johnston, my English teacher
(with a double first from Oxford in History
and English). He must have known something
about me and my relationship with authority
and my idealism. I wonder what part he’d give
me now? I’m not ready for Falstaff so perhaps
Feste would suit. Certainly ‘the whirligig of
time brings its revenges’; it’s forty years since
I resigned from Stockport Grammar School
to an uncertain future and here I am doing
it again, a permanent adolescent as Yves
Lemaire calls me.
Before I thank you all, I want again to
thank - as I did when I arrived 20 years ago as
a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Deputy Head
- my teachers especially those still with us,
notably Dennis Hamley who like myself had
his first job under Bill as my English teacher.
Harry, my French teacher, still sends a card
every year. We owe so much to these
important people in our lives.
The Lycée, the Section, and
over the last fifteen years the
Classe d’Accueil have all made a
difference for so many. I’m only
too grateful for what these and
all the parents, pupils, colleagues
and friends in the offices, CDI,
canteen and maintenance have
done for me over the years and
I trust I’ve been able to make a
contribution in my turn.
a Principal Examiner with the International
Baccalauréate now with over four and
a half thousand schools taking part in its
programmes and over 51,000 candidates
doing their Literature examination in English, I
am proud that we in the British Section were
major players at school N°13 in the system!
As Stockport County after a proud history
drop from the Football League and Mario
makes his final coffees, I too must give way to
new teams. I wish them well.
My sincerest thanks to you all. Keep in
touch. I’ll be staying here in France so see you
in the Bitter End at Christmas if not sooner.
John Cannon
[email protected]
John Cannon (second from right, back
row) and Stockport Grammar School
Debating and Literary Society 1966-67
Reflections on the
past two years
Louis Falgas and Laura Green, 1ères, interview
Chris Lowe (below with Freddie and James)
What suprised you most about France, or French
Attitude to family life. We have been overwhelmed by the affection that local people and
neighbours have given our family. The two boys
are ‘public property’ – they get kisses and gifts from
all sorts of people and we are treated with great
respect and courtesy in restaurants, museums, trains
and so on. At the Musée d’Orsay recently we were
taken to the front of a long queue simply because
we had little Freddie in the pushchair!
What was your greatest experience as a teacher in
the Lycée Intenational?
Being able to focus almost entirely on teaching
History. It may seem odd but back in England there
is so much bureaucracy now that there were times
when my role as a classroom teacher was lost in
the bureaucracy and politics of daily school life. That
hasn’t happened here and I think I have been a
better teacher because of it. There have been lots
of other highlights though – visits to the Castles with
5ème, revision weekends with Terminale, the Somme
and the Dublin trips were fantastic. Telling a group
of students about the Easter Rising in Dublin outside
the General Post Office, moments after seeing a play
set during the Rising, was very special.
Was teaching at the Lycée different to other
Yes, in lots of ways. Most children in England
don’t speak two languages (and more!) fluently! On
the other hand, children are children, whether it’s
inner city Birmingham or leafy Saint Germain-enLaye. They love a good story and I am lucky to teach
a subject that has the best stories!
“Mr. Lowe is a Great teacher.” Using the
documents and your own knowledge discuss this
Ha! Well I’m pleased to see that you’ve got the
hang of an OIB style exam question! Let me give
you the classic OIB response – on the one hand,
it is true that Mr Lowe is a great teacher, but on
the other hand I think he still has some improving
to do….!
I have adored the Lycée
and all it has stood for in
International education. As
On stage
The Legends of King Arthur
his mega whole-school
musical, performed in
March, was masterminded by Serge Seguin – who
demonstrated, yet again, that
he is far more than a maths
teacher. Numerous British
Section staff, pupils and parents
were among those who helped
to turn the vision into reality.
Anyone who came to see the show will have
understood the gargantuan educational project that
it represented. Serge Seguin’s vision was to create a
musical for the whole school, written by the French
staff, translated into English by the LV1 students,
overseen by their teachers and refined by British
Section students and staff. The music for the songs
written by Jacques Monnet was specially composed
by Francis Mimoun. Further music required for
battles, ‘magic moments’ and scene changes was
sensitively composed by Beatrice Langford-Powell. A
full orchestra of parents and students, led by Simon
Lockwood, brought the music to life.
Also Serge engaged the expertise of students
from the Lycée Poquelin to come and create the
hairstyling which, together with the fruits of Elizabeth
Nolan’s excellent costume team, Agnès Leclercq’s
imaginative backstage workshop, Nick Alldridge’s
impressive props, Christophe Busserolles’ lighting
and Maritza Léger’s make-up artists, provided a feast
for the eyes. An ex-BS student, Etienne Hendrickx,
and Antoine Gouny provided stunning special effects
and Barbara and Alain Fléchais - present at every
rehearsal and all the performances - will provide a
DVD of the show (and the ‘making of’) edited by Ben
Studer (another former BS student). Students from
CM2 to Terminale were involved on and offstage;
many from the British Section. From the elves making
their own hats to the Terminale soldiers carefully
selecting their battle belts, the attention to detail
was astonishing.
In the same educational spirit, students from
Shenley Academy in Birmingham were invited to
attend the Saturday night performance and were
hosted in British Section homes over the weekend.
The students have been truly motivated in their
GCSE French studies since and it was a great
adventure for them as most had not been abroad
before. Many thanks to the host families.
This was a real team project which stretched
across the whole school (and beyond!) and wished to
avoid the ‘star syndrome’. As many as possible were
to have their moment of glory. 150 students were
involved across many of the Sections and far from just
having a handful, there was a constellation of shining
stars in the vast firmament that was The Legends of
King Arthur. For me it exemplified everything that
the Lycée International should represent and thank
goodness for such a visionary Maths teacher, Serge
Seguin, our own Merlin the magician!
Claire Lewis
Creating the costumes
From Birmingham to Paris
Coordinating costumes for Serge Seguin’s plays is
something I have always enjoyed; he is well organised,
gives me a clear idea of what he would like and then
lets me get on with it without interfering. King Arthur
is a perfect costume topic but I must admit that I was
daunted by the quantity: 250 costumes for 105
students on a tight budget.
Among the spectators at Saturday’s performance
was a group of GCSE students who had travelled all
the way from Shenley Academy in Birmingham,
accompanied by their teacher, Angela Keepax, who
sent this letter, along with some enthusiastic
comments from her charges:
First of all, I asked my friends for help then sent
out emails to all sections. We got together a very
international team including 4 students who came to
help every Tuesday evening during rehearsals.
We set up an atelier in my living room, with 2
sewing machines, 2 overlockers and a good steam
iron and board. Some sewed at the atelier others at
home or both.
One of the difficulties was getting the measurements of all the students. In the end, we resorted to
“one size fits all” using the weeks’ rehearsals for any
necessary adjustments, except for the character
dresses. We had finished almost all the basic
costumes by dress rehearsal week, but then had to
fine tune the costumes, add a number of capes for
the knights, the jewellery, headdresses and so on. It
was only by watching the full dress rehearsals that
we could see what was needed or more fitting.
The logistics of handing out 105 costumes each
evening was quite a challenge until some bright
spark came up with the idea of giving each student
a number to mark their coat hangers and costumes
with, and classing them in order. The student would
then know where to put them (providing they
could count!), where to find them and we would
immediately be able to put away any lost items.
This system proved to be very efficient and I would
recommend it for large casts in the future!
The work is not yet finished though, we are still
busy tidying up the grenier so that we can make
space for all the costumes. So anyone who would
like to give a hand is most welcome!
Elizabeth Nolan
Having just returned from a wonderful weekend in
St Germain-en-Laye with 12 of my GCSE students, I
wanted to write and share with you the positive
feedback I have been getting from the pupils. For
many, it was their first trip to Paris and they were
nervous at the thought of visiting another school and
staying with families where they would have to try and
talk French. However, any anxieties were dispelled on
the first night when they were settled into very
hospitable, kind families who made our pupils feel very
On the Saturday we crammed in a whole day of
sightseeing in Paris, including, of course, the obligatory
ascent of the Eiffel Tower (we did it the hard way... up
the stairs!).
The performance of King Arthur was the focus of
our visit and it did not disappoint – the whole spectacle
blew us away, with amazing costumes, great special
effects, and most of all, some very talented actors!
O ur host families couldn’t have been more
accommodating and they made our pupils feel very
welcome. We are so grateful to all the families for
their kindness and hospitality, and a very big well done
to all the pupils and staff involved in the play – an
impressive performance!
Special thanks also to Claire Lewis who, somehow,
amongst her busy schedule, managed to coordinate
our visit. You’re a star!
“It was my first trip to Paris and it was amazing!”
“It was nice to stay with a family who spoke French as it
allowed me to develop and practise my language
speaking skills.” (Robert)
“I wish we could have stayed longer!” (Audric)
Angela Keepax – Shenley Academy, U.K.
Do you like singing? or Can you play the piano?
Come and join the choir Lux Perpetua made up of parents, teachers and students
who meet on a Friday night from 20.30 till 22h in houses in the St Germain area to
prepare works from composers such as Fauré, Mozart, Whitacre, Brahms and
Cherubini which we perform locally and in Paris. It is also a good social night out as
we always have a drink and a chat at the end of the evening. We are looking for
sopranos, tenors and basses. If you would like to come for audition please contact
Claire Lewis [email protected]
We are also looking for a rehearsal pianist. If you are interested also contact Claire.
Parent Teacher Group
What’s in a name?
oticed anything?
For the eagle-eyed
among you, the
change will be obvious: we
have dropped the ‘BS’ from
our name and will henceforth
be known as the ‘Parent
Teacher Group’. What does
this mean? Hopefully, that
we will be able to say the
name without tripping over
our tongues, but above all
that you will find it easier
to identify with the team
of parents and teachers that
organises British Section
extra-curricular activities
for you and your children.
Another welcome change to the team is
the arrival of Mike Thompson as the Sports
Coordinator. Mike’s role is to support and
represent our sports coaches (cricket, netball
and football) and I know his experience working
within the Section will be invaluable to us.
As we enter the madness that is May and
June in the British Section, I would like to take this
opportunity to thank all the team members for
their help and support this year, and particularly
Sarah Finet, Primary Forum leader who ends her
mandate, Anne Cotard, HG CP Coordinator
who is leaving us for sunnier climes and Jane
Clinton, our Social Coordinator, who is moving
away at the end of the school year. They will be
sorely missed and I wish them and their families
the best of luck for the future.
Nicola Bullough, Chair, PTG
Rewarding alternatives for
the screen generation.
Contemplating the
DID YOU KNOW THAT the following ‘British’
activities for your children are available locally?
Working in France – A ‘Check-in to France’
The 1st Bougival Scout Group, part of the UK
Scout Association, is linked with the British Scouts
Western Europe and Scouts & Guides de
France. The Beaver Colony, Cub Pack and Scout
Troop meet at the British School of Paris.
The Bougival scout website is
Belonging to the biggest voluntary organisation
for girls in the UK, the Brownies and Guides are
part of the British Guides in Foreign Countries.
Girls get involved in all kinds of fun and rewarding
activities, make lasting friends and learn positive
values for life.
Contact Christine Salisbury at [email protected]
I had heard of Check-in to France but usually in
relation to new families. Set up about 10 years ago
by volunteer parents from all Sections, their main
aim is to help new families settle in to life at the Lycée
and in France. They run a welcome programme each
September (this year’s sessions in English are on 12th
and 19th), produce a “Survival Guide” for newcomers
and their website is a
mine of information and definitely, dare I say it,
worth checking out, even for old stagers.
Working in France is just one of the areas on the
website and you’ll find all the information from the
seminar there. It was a day which didn’t disappoint
and frankly had I signed up elsewhere I would have
expected to pay quite a bill for it. Slick presentations
by volunteer speakers covered all areas of working
life in France, from (re)defining a job search project
(Bénédicte de Langre) and writing a CV (Hans
Vranken) to French employment laws and setting up
a business (Marie Sophie Denies and Catherine
Dottarelli from Pole Emploi and Pierre Lavazais from
Association Cadres et Emploi). Their presentations
were interspersed with the personal experiences of
many inspiring people who either jumped in to
employment at the deep end on arrival in, or return
to, France or who have chosen to set up businesses
as a response to their changing circumstances. The
Check-in to France team’s own very professional
organisational skills were evident throughout the day
and the lunch break provided the opportunity to
taste the fruits (and other culinary successes) of one
parent’s business venture whilst networking (or just
having a chat) with other participants. The seminar
itself was followed up by a series of workshops on
writing a CV and preparing an interview etc.
This scheme is the international programme for
the Duke of Edinburgh Award and provides the
opportunity for young people to: Give useful
service to others; be encouraged by a spirit of
adventure and discovery; develop personal interests
and practical skills and to participate in physical
Further details are available at
Are you a parent who would like to get involved?
We are looking for parents to help with the
training for the International Award. If you would
like to help and can provide enthusiasm and
commitment along with your skills and experience,
full training is provided!
If you are a student going into 3ème
next year and are interested in doing
the International Award, or a parent
willing to become a trainer, please
contact Kate Salkilld at [email protected]
Backpacking in the Morvan
as part of the international
DoE assessment expedition.
Is there life after the Lycée? Not an existential
question but a practical one raised in Check-in to
France’s invitation to its “Working in France Seminar”
on 31st January. It caught my attention because it’s
a question we concentrate on so hard in relation to
our children but one which we non-working (outside
the home) mothers almost forget to ask ourselves.
With one child safely delivered to the hallowed halls
of higher education and the other following closely
behind I am starting to realise that my own postLycée life might just take a little planning. Of course I
signed up for the seminar.
I found the day both informative and inspiring and
have been hugely impressed by the whole (free)
service offered by Check-in to France. I would
encourage all new families to contact them through
their website and any old stagers, who might be
wondering about the “afterlife”, to sign up for the
next seminar or even offer their services.
Jill Lakin
Plenty of Fun in Fundraising
Quiz Night - Teachers’ revenge!
Ladybird, Ladybird fly away
This June will see the conclusion of the
7ème’s highly successful Operation Ladybird
Project which has raised a whopping
€3,584 to date for children in Mumbai!
Congratulations to the 7èmes for their hard
work and to everyone at home who has
supported the scheme.
Last year’s victors, the teachers’ team - The Haut
Grillets Power Team - were able to take pleasure in
grilling the grey matter of parents for a change at this
year's Quiz Night at the Collège les Hauts Grillets. By
the looks of it, the parents were more of a handful
than their children!
Many thanks and congratulations to Quiz Night
organiser, Jane Clinton – pictured in banner photo,
3rd from left – for her hard work and for being in the
winning team, The After Eights, and to the army of
3ème student helpers who worked so hard to
decorate the room, served with a smile and cleared
up at the end. The evening raised a welcome €305
for Operation Ladybird.
Above right; asking the questions, David Jackson
with Haut Grillets Principale Mme Ansart; right, the
Truffles Team.
The good old British Banger...
... has also played its part in raising money
for the Section’s Visiting Author Programme.
So far, a sale and delivery service has raised
€432. Many thanks to Dominique Rivet for
organising this tasty initiative
Focus on Félix Eboué
In the last issue of Insites we asked our Contact
Parent team to turn the spotlight on the Collège
les Hauts Grillets; this time we focus on another
of our partner schools, l’Ecole Primaire Félix
Eboué, described here by Contact Parent
Coordinator, Catherine Knight.
Set in a quiet residential area of Le Pecq, by the
river, Félix Eboué is in most respects just like any
other primary school in France. Pupils arrive on foot,
on bicyles, on scooters, as well as in cars driven by
their overworked chauffeur parents.
It is only if you pay closer attention to the groups
of parents chatting outside the gates (and boy do
they chat) that you will notice a rather larger
proportion of English speakers than you would
normally expect “dans la Boucle de Seine”.
That is because Félix Eboué, as one of the partner
schools of the Lycée International, is a school attended
by a third of all British Section primary pupils; those
who live “on the other side of the river.”
Les Anglais, as they have come to be known,
ignoring any Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Australian,
American or Indian origins, are integrated into the
French classes. This means that they have a network
of local friends, both French and English-speaking,
reachable in many cases by bike (for the older
children that is – in other cases, please see reference
to chauffeur parents). The children don’t just attend
the same school, but often the same music
conservatoire, the same tennis clubs, football club, or
gym club. There is undoubtedly a strong sense of
community among Le Pecq pupils.
Entrance into 11ème is made less traumatic by a
summer visit to their future school by the last year
maternelle pupils from neighbouring Jehan Alain.
“Nearly all my friends from maternelle moved to the
primary school with me” remembers a 7ème pupil.
T he French teachers at the school are kind
enough to avoid core subjects during British Section
hours and find that it can be quite a bonus having a
large number of British Section pupils in a class since
they all disappear twice a week... “Having Anglophone
pupils in the class is a wonderful opportunity for us
and provides an opening onto the world for the
French students”, notes Monsieur Landuyt, a teacher
on the French “side” of the school. Although the
curricula do not allow much interaction between the
French and British programmes, when it comes to
pantomime time for the 10ème class, their French
camarades usually get the benefit of a preview
(“They laughed a lot but they forgot to say: ‘Oh no it
isn’t’ ” recalls Josephine).
And at the end of primary, the children get their
own guided tour of the collège PMC, where the
delights of the 6ème await (including chicken and
chips at the cantine, a clever ploy to lure them into
thinking that food at collège will be edible...).
F élix Eboué is a busy, dynamic school, with
plenty of projects on the boil. The last week of
spring term (Sustainable Development Week ) saw
groups of pupils in wellies and gloves cleaning up
the river banks (two classes gathered 182 kg of
refuse!); the children have performed at the School
Choir evening, which took place just after the Spring
break. This event has proved so popular that eager
spectators have to be turned away because the Salle
de Fêtes in Le Pecq gets too full! Members of the BS
choir always contribute with an offering of traditional
British songs, led by the inimitable Jules Harding.
Training has also started for the May cross country
race, which brings together all the primary schools in
Le Pecq for a strenuous run in Parc Corbières. Then,
of course, we have our end-of-year Kermesse, a sort
of games day-cum-barbeque-cum-fundraiser. And
rumours are that Monsieur Robert, the Directeur, is
planning a Bingo for this year!
Catherine Knight - FE Contact Parent Coordinator
Felix Eboué pupils collecting 182kg of refuse along
the banks of the Seine as part of the school’s project to
obtain ‘Eco-Ecole’ status. (See also Primary pages)
The Felix Eboué teaching team, from top
left: Mme Fossier, Mme Huygue, Mme Gope,
Mme Leroy, Mme Le Mélédo, Mme Leccia,
M Landuyt, M Robert (Directeur), Mme
Cattier, Mrs Thorley (British Section), Mme
Derbali, Mme Veyrat-Masson, M Raymond,
Mme Bougault, Mme Charlopeau.
Parent Teacher Group
End of Season Sports Round Up
The Netball season
The netball season closed for the older girls
(CM1 to 3ème) just before the Easter holidays and
to celebrate the end of the year, we held a Mums
and Daughters Awards Dinner at La Fontana in St
Germain on 31st March. In between pizzas and
pasta the girls were each awarded a club medal in
recognition of their enthusiasm and play ethics, whilst
some of the girls received additional certificates and
trophies for outstanding performances in different
categories. This year the overall prize of coaches’
player of the year was awarded to Shivani Abensour
(6ème PMC).
). It was a great evening enjoyed as much
by the mums (we hope!) as the girls and is definitely
something that we will be repeating next year.
NB Although the netball season is at an end
for the older girls, we have kicked off our six session
introduction to the game for the juniors (CE2 to
CM1) also held on Saturday mornings in Le Pecq –
enquiries to [email protected] and [email protected]
Dani Allen and Allie Betts
The Netball
Coaches’ ‘Player
of the Year Award’
is presented to
Shivani Abensour
(6ème PMC).
coach, Gaynor
Lowe (back row,
far right), with
her winning
team of Netball
Our final word on this year’s netball is a series
of thanks. First and foremost to the girls, who were,
without exception, a pleasure to see and coach
each Saturday morning – see you all in September!
Second, Allie and I take the opportunity to thank
the Mums, who spoiled us with wonderful flowers
and chocolates at the Awards Dinner – sincere
thanks from both of us. Finally it is time to say an
enormous THANK YOU to Gaynor who has really
shared her passion for netball with all of us week in
week out (maternity leave apparently being for the
wimps!). Gaynor, we don’t know where we will be
without you next year but you’ve given us the spirit
to know we will have good fun trying to replicate
your style!
Cricket – it’s a wildlife!
T he summer season is well underway at
Thoiry Cricket Club. This means that the young
cricketers from 6 to 17 years old move from the
indoor facilities in Croissy to the outdoor facilities
at the Parc des Omnisports as well as a few special
games at Thoiry CC in the safari park (but well
away from the tigers...)
Joining Thoiry CC enables Lycée children to
play proper cricket at a club and to learn about
the game. Several fathers at the Lycée help with
coaching. There is still room for more Lycée
pupils to join. The cricket is taken quite seriously
but there is plenty of fun. The U11s have now
started using a hard ball for the first time which is
certainly concentrating the mind. Contact Oliver
Ash ([email protected]) for further details.
Furthermore, after-school cricket sessions
just for British Section children have started at
the Le Pecq Sports ground, Fridays from 17.00
to 18.00.
We currently have around 12 cricketers but
there is room for more, from classes CE1 to 5ème.
Most of the players are from the sites in Le Pecq
but children from the other BS sites are equally
welcome. Each session we combine a few
exercises with a match where everyone gets
to bat and bowl. Come along and have a go.
Contact Jeremy Munday 0603577974.
Oliver Ash
Jeremy Monday
The U11’s
Cricket team
enjoy the ‘Great
and sunshine
at Thoiry
Cricket Club.
Tournoi des Etoiles
The football season for BS players of all ages
drew to a close on Sunday 22nd May at the Stade
de Chambourcy; finals day of the Tournoi des Etoiles.
All the classic ingredients were in abundance: clear
blue skies, sunshine, a fair breeze, superb pitches,
professional refs, dedicated dads, cheerleading mums,
supportive staff, flag-waving friends and families and, the centre of all attention, the teams.
No winners’ trophies this year for the British
Section players, but no shortage of talent, determination and team spirit. And there’s always next
Here is a brief round-up of the season and the
day’s results.
Not found wanting…
The second half of the season went very well for
the British section Grands. Brit 2 installed themselves
as the best second team in the tournament by far,
even drawing on Finals day with USJ, before going
down on penalties. Under the expert guidance
of Jean-Jacques Vironda, they have played some
excellent football, and this has been an excellent
springboard for the Grands squad for next year.
Brit 1 had a “sans faute” during the second half
of the season, dominating all the teams they faced,
with some fine flowing football, and a fabulous
team spirit. Unfortunately they got ambushed in the
semi-finals by the eventual champions, ASH, before
comfortably disposing of ESP in the 3rd place playoff. The players met with Triumph and Disaster, and
treated those two imposters just the same; theirs will
be the world and everything that’s in it....and what’s
more, they will be Men. Weighed, measured, and not
found wanting...!! Thanks to the coaching team, Chris
Lajtha and Peter Lakin, whose unflagging support and
enthusiasm has been invaluable for many years.
bigger opposition, but have steadily improved and
will be the foundation of a strong first team squad
next year.
Coaches: Dave Turner, Bruno Berthon, Salvatore
Morando, Andrew Hodder.
Giving it their all
The top four teams this year were so closely
matched that any team could have easily won the
Tournoi des Etoiles – it was really all about who
would show up on the day. And boy did the Lions
show up, registering a determined, skilful 3-1 victory
against the league champion Spanish team in the
semi-final. They gave it their all in their final against
USA, who they had beaten previously in the league,
going ahead in the first half before conceding two
early goals in the second against the wind. Despite
throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the USA
goal, they just couldn’t register the equalizer. So
once again, the Lions ran out, runners up after a
season of great progress, some superb victories
and wonderful drama showing fabulous team spirit
throughout that will stand them in good stead for
the real world.
Some revenge for the Lions defeat was gained
by the Bulldogs (8èmes) who beat USA2 by a
resounding 8-0 margin in the 7th/8th place playoff.
The Foxes (Mini-Poussins) also sealed victory in one
of their two matches.
T he Brits definitely won the battle of the
supporters with flags waving all over and even Mrs
D in a spangly Union Jack waistcoat!
Rob Steggles
Jerry Macklin
A strong season
The senior of the two Moyens teams, Brit 1,
had a strong season, only narrowly missing out on
trophies. In the league they lost only one match,
finishing 2nd out of 7 teams, a highlight being a
victory against eventual champions ASH. In the
Tournoi des Etoiles, they overwhelmed IPJ 7- 0 in the
semi-final with one of their best team performances
to meet ASH in a windy final. Despite hitting the
woodwork several times, Brit 1 were 3-0 down
within 10 minutes as ASH struck with some
brilliant individual play. Brit 1 fought back bravely
in an entertaining match, three times narrowing
the goal deficit, but were finally beaten 7-3. Brit 2
played some of their best football in the 5th/6th
play off against ASH/Spain at the Tournoi des Etoiles,
dominating much of the match, before losing 1-0 to
a bizarre goal against the run of play. The younger
squad have had a tough season against older and
VOX Auditions
Last leg of an eventful term
For those who couldn’t make
it in May, keep your eyes
peeled for September...
Bring enthusiasm and a smile!
any of you are now or
Vox is
The highlight of my week
Vibrant, Original and eXhilirating.
soon will be on holiday.
After a long school day when your head aches
All you need to do is prepare
from learning or just from trying to concentrate
So enjoy and happy
in class; you’d be surprised how rewarding and
a short 1 min song and then
holidays! For others however....
relaxing it is just to sing for a few hours. I joined
sing your heart out.
here comes the last and most
Vox at the beginning of Seconde to find that it
Open to students from all
would become the highlight of my week. Singing
challenging hike: exams.
sites, who next year
is one of my passions and being able to share it
Looking back however, it has
will be in 2nde and above.
with a group of students who understand when I
been an unbelievably eventful
say that my timetable is driving me crazy, is such
a relief from all the pressure. I became musical
term; with Arcadia, Vox, King
director alongside Guy Emmanuel at the beginning
Terminales will agree with me when I say that they
Arthur, Tournoi des Etoiles and
of this year and I was so excited about running such
will miss their Monday afternoons at Vox practice.
soon the Summer fête... It’s
a bubbly and lively group. The project seemed huge
I encourage all those who love singing to audition
but we were all motivated to learn new songs and
amazing how much variety and
for Vox (if you haven’t already) in September! It’s
get ready for the end of year concert. Luckily, I was
how many events there really are, also helped by wonderful Bea Langford Powell, a a great experience that will make you smile even
on the gloomiest of Mondays. However if singing
talented music prodigy, who wrote most of our
when you put them all together.
is not your thing, then I encourage you to pursue
Of course there were moments when
your hobby, whatever it may be, even when work
There is an exceptional amount of scores.
tiredness and tensions started to show but it would
energy and enthusiasm that flows only last a few minutes and we would be back gets hard and you feel like you have no free time!
Hobbies and passions make you the happy and
to our normal cheerful selves. The concerts went
through students, teachers and
interesting person you are today.
extremely well, thank you to all those who came
parents alike which I think must
to support us. We will all keep memories of fun Chloé Guinaudie
be truly cherished. In this edition and excitement and I think (and hope!) that most
of Student Shout, students have
portrayed this excitement through
their personal experiences
within a few of the previously
mentioned events. Benjy Hollis
also introduces Rock en Seine,
a close and amazing festival
which I personally recommend
to anyone who isn’t too scared
of being crushed by the crowd!
Break a leg to all those up to
their necks in revision and as
Mrs Lewis would say: MERDE!
Of course, please don’t hesitate
to send as an e-mail with an
amazing summer holiday
Royal Wedding – slightly overdone?
destination, or an account of
a wonderful experience you
The world talked about it. Britain obsessed ceremony to actually start. Even worse, Britain
was given a day off work and school – something
over it. We despaired.
wish to share. We are always
I certainly did not support as I endured two hours
happy to have contributions
thousands of pounds have probably gone into of French geography. Entire towns organised
from anyone, as any year.
the dress alone, I found it rather sad that this was celebrations and the tourist business soared, as
[email protected]
[email protected]
the only news the BBC showed for a week before
and after the event. I have heard tales of parties
where the participants started watching the
television at eight in the morning and slouched
in front of the TV until noon, waiting for the
did the marriage merchandise. A site was even
created, detailing every step William and Kate
would take to arrive at the cathedral. Does the
word “overdone” ring any bells?
....from Haribo sweets to Heineken beer and from burgers
to Thai stir fry!
There’s only one thing on every student’s
mind at this time of the year. Depending on
the person, it’s either the Bac or the summer
holidays. I’m not ashamed to say that in my case
it’s the summer holidays (sorry mum). We all
have plans for our holidays by now, especially
those few bliss weeks immediately after the
exams when the feeling of freedom will really
kick in. In my case I often find myself looking
forward to the very last weekend of the holidays,
this year the 26th, 27th and 28th of August. I am
talking about “Rock en Seine”, a music festival
that many Lycée students will know a great deal
about. Bands from across the world gather in
the Parc de Saint-Cloud to play music, whether
it be Rock or Pop, Metal or Rap. Blessed with
headliners such as Oasis, The Prodigy, Bloc Party
and Calvin Harris in the past few years, 2011’s
line-up will not disappoint.
My friend Daniel first told me about “RES”
and since then I have been every year and this
summer will be no different. If I’m perfectly
honest, I knew I would be back from the
moment I first got there. RES offers a wonderful
experience, whether you’re a music buff or you
merely claim to be (myself for instance).
The Parc is lined with stands offering
food from all corners of the world,
from Haribo sweets to Heineken beer
and from burgers to Thai stir fry. The
atmosphere is incredibly friendly and
don’t be put off by the general image
attributed to rock festivals, there is a
surprising variety of people, from the
12-year-old Justin Biebers to the more
elderly Paul Mccartneys. I was also
surprised by the number of foreign
voices that could be heard. On one
occasion I found myself singing along to
a band, in English, with a Spaniard. Of
course there are vast numbers of Brits too, but
that probably goes without saying.
Of course the best thing about RES is the
music, which brings me onto this year’s line
up. Many bands will be playing but this year’s
highlights will definitely be the Arctic Monkeys,
The Wombats, Kid Cudi, Tinie Tempah and The
Foo Fighters. If you are thinking about going, I
recommend checking the website where you
can see the whole schedule for yourself. Rock
en Seine is a great experience, one that I always
enjoy and would recommend to anybody. Its
easily accessible, only a walk away from the SaintCloud train station, you can get a considerable
discount using Tick’art and even without that
discount it’s a lot cheaper than any of the large
English festivals, even though it always offers an
impressive line-up. For those brave enough to
camp it, there’s that too.
I really enjoy making the Rock en Seine
pilgrimage every year and hope you will join me
and the hundreds of others, I’ll see you there!
This article was written before the Tournoi
des Etoiles, whether Brits won or lost, this
is what Milan Berger was thinking a month
before the much awaited day.
Bring it on: “Tournoi des
Etoiles” 2011
There are two possible reactions when your
alarm goes off at 7.30 on a Saturday morning:
either you lie comatose in bed dreading your next
4h of bac blanc or you jump energetically out and
get geared up and ready to go to football training.
This year, there are two British Section Grands
teams, however whichever team you play for, the
spirit remains the same and everyone does their
best to promote British supremacy in the Lycée
tournament. Most of the first team have been
playing together since primary, which over the
years has helped us to develop not only impressive
skills, but also great solidarity when it comes to
defending our stripes on the pitch. For me, the fact
that the team is above all a group of friends makes
the sport all the more fun. Everyone takes pleasure
Benjy Hollis
in playing for the British Section every weekend
as the atmosphere within the group is excellent,
unlike some teams (mentioning no names). Even
though we have lost to IP (Italians and Portuguese)
three times running in the final, I would never
want to swap sides, and am certain that no one
else would either. What makes the British Section
special is that not only can we play football, but
what is said on the pitch stays on the pitch and
we can also have a laugh and a drink together off
the pitch. Another vital element to the team’s
near-perfect functioning are the coaches: Jeremy
Macklin, Chris Lajtha and later Peter Lakin, have
coached us since a very young age with devotion
and unending enthusiasm. Jean-Jacques Vironda
joined the coaching team this year and has put
a lot of effort and energy into the second team,
nearly earning them a place in this year’s finals day.
All the coaches have contributed
immeasurably to our progress
and without them, none of it
would have been possible. The
experience has taught me how
C e r t a i n l y , i t sneaking away on their honeymoon, as the press would
far friendship and perseverance
was a chance for probably hound them back to Buckingham Palace.
can take you.
Britain to celebrate
This royal wedding mania resembles that of Charles
I would like to take the
something, and and Diana’s wedding, where royal marriage merchandise
to thank everyone
probably brought them quite a bit of money, but at the first appeared, and Britain was also given a day off to
who has played with the team,
same time I find it sad that poor Kate and William are celebrate. One aspect I did find amusing was the Queen’s
the second team and the
forced to become public icons on their wedding day. yellow outfit. I know the colour probably represents some
coaches for all the laughter, tears
They had to invite presidents of numerous countries just happy marriage sentiment, but she stood out more than
and excitement over the years; it
for friendly relations to remain intact, and would certainly the bride.
really has been an amazing and
not have wanted them for a more personal celebration.
I would not be surprised if they decided to wait before Meriel Clementson
unforgettable journey.
Milan Berger
Journalism competition
Fine features
udding journalists in the
British Section had an
opportunity to submit a
feature article for the section’s
first Journalism Competition,
open to pupils at lycée level
(2nde to Terminales). With
a limit of 800 words, and no
subject restrictions, there was
plenty of scope to demonstrate
journalistic talent. Insites is
delighted to print the winning
entry, ‘Vive la Cuisine Anglaise!’
by Madeleine Lowe, deemed by
the judges to have broad appeal
to the target readership, valid at
publication time, well written
from a personal perspective and
in an engaging style peppered
with humour and irony.
The runner-up is Antoine Koen,
for his fine piece ‘A Tale of Two
Presidents’, written back in
March on the tense situation in
the Cote d’Ivoire. Times have
since moved on, with Alassane
Ouatarra having just been sworn
in as the country’s new President.
The entries were judged by
James Cathcart, Hilary Moser
and Debbie Macklin.
Madeleine Lowe, competition winner
Vive la Cuisine Anglaise!
odified by Escoffier in the twentieth
century, French cuisine has ruled the
culinary roost for a long as anyone can
remember. No doubt the title of “European
Food Capital” was well deserved in the 1950s,
back when Julia Child was promoting Rouen’s
oysters, soles meunières and fine wine as an
“opening up of the soul and spirit”; today the
French are resting on their laurels - or should
I say their “lauriers”? As an English girl in
France, I am frequently told how lucky I am
to live in this mecca of “Haute Cuisine” but I
am not totally convinced.
point of view, this ignores all post war
developments in the kitchens of England.
Having joined the common market in the 70s,
we no longer depend on root vegetables and
twenty varieties of apples as our sources of
vitamins; the selection of fruit and vegetables
in our supermarkets is on a par with the rest of
continental Europe and consequently our
tastes and cookery skills have evolved.
The fast food revolution has taken its hold
more on the UK than in France; the French
have only a few burger chains and nowhere
near the amount of coffee shops that one finds
on the UK highstreet - their
Whereas in England, the mass
loss, I say! Anyone who has had
media is teeming with charismatic
to eat in a French motorway
“I do look
TV chefs, and the likes of Jamie
service station will be wishing
and Nigella are household names,
forward to my
there were a “Welcome Break”
the French manage only a cookery
five miles down the road with
spot in their morning magazine
an M&S Simply Food and
show. Similarly, any British
KFC outlet. And even when
super-market worth its salt will
is fast food “à la française” display a fine range of gourmet products, for
at paninis leaves a lot to be
example three types of risotto rice, Beluga
lentils and cheeses from most european desired and makes one wonder if this is not all
countries, whilst its counterpart in France a cunning plan by “boulangères” to keep us
would only carry own brand risotto rice and a eating bread that hurts the roof of our
poor excuse for “jamon iberico”, lest the mouths.
customers get a taste for it. The British middleIn a more serious light, one does wonder
classes have been rattling their pots and pans about the nutritional content of the average
for the last decade in a way that would give the French meal. The predominance of red meat
French a good run for their money. Don’t get and cream in the French diet is so extreme that
me wrong, I’m the first to enjoy my foie gras vegetarians find it difficult to eat out in France.
and camembert and the simple French French restauranteurs seriously think that
omelette will never fall from gastronomic grace “lardons” can be consumed by vegetarians.
but the average French diet is far from what it
Lately, France’s food culture has been
is cracked up to be.
brought into the media for various unflattering
If truth be told, in a country where steak reasons: In March 2011, an article was
and chips is ubiquitous and considered to be a published by The Guardian exposing a pair of
“Plat National”, where roast lamb is vegan parents accused of contributing to their
accompanied only by a mountain of 11 month old daughter’s death. Harsh as it
“flageolets”, and where Smash (Mousseline) is may sound, the French jury linked the child’s
regarded as a vegetable, their efforts to consume bronchial infection to the mother’s diet and
“5 a day” are somewhat lacking. The the fact that the baby was only fed breast milk
average roast dinner in the UK would throughout her short life. Yes, it is true that
involve a few slices of meat with three the infant’s diet could have been a contributing
or four vegetables - and in today’s factor but what this case mainly highlights is
kitchens these are not cooked to France’s flat out misunderstanding of
death - while the French focus vegetarianism and veganism.
more on the meat content, the
Having lived in France all my life and
accompaniment being a side matter
enjoying more than my fair share of “steak
in every sense of the word.
frites”, I do look forward to my trips to Blighty
The French idea of English for my perfect bacon sandwich and bowl of
cooking is a greasy, cooked breakfast, Shreddies and a few Cream Eggs.
heavy suet puddings and a gelatinous
highly coloured substance (jelly)
which is extremely suspect from their Madeleine Lowe
A Tale of Two Presidents
here are many ways a country can be divided
politically: there is the essential political
pluralism of democracies, and there is also chaos.
At the present, the latter is more striking, with
the scent of jasmine sweeping over the Middle
East. Yet the world seems to have forgotten
another place wracked by division; away from
the headlines, the struggle for power in Ivory
Coast between two presidents continues.
200,000 internally displaced
persons (IDPs) in Abidjan alone,
and more than 50,000 IDPs in the
west of the country.
Yet, why haven’t the citizens of Ivory Coast
already erupted in revolution and swept the
old order away, as in northern Africa? Despite
months of tension, the country actually is on the
brink of civil war: armies loyal to both presidents
are actively recruiting and intense fighting is
taking place, mostly in Abidjan, but also in
the west of the country and Yamoussoukro. In
addition to that, whole towns are being seized as
well, and pro-Gbagbo forces even opened fire on
a crowd of peaceful women protesters on March
2, killing at least six people.
Over 75,000 people are fleeing
Ivory Coast to Liberia, which may
plunge the latter into war once
Where does the support for Gbagbo come
from, and what is the international community’s
role in this? The Ivorian government controls the
south of the country, and the opposition mainly
resides in the predominantly Muslim northern
part of the country, with the Forces Nouvelles.
Both sides benefit from heavy artillery and seem
willing to use it, and one of the greatest concerns
at the moment is the safety of civilians caught up
in the fighting. The United Nations Operation
in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) is supposed to ensure
their safety. However, their presence is barely
enough to protect Ouattara in his besieged
Golf Hotel. Even worse, Gbagbo uses this
international presence to appeal to nationalists
and stoke xenophobia by designating UNOCI
as neo-colonialism. The dire sanitary situation is
also a pressing concern for civilians: cut off from
water and electricity in some areas, many fear
epidemics, such as cholera, which would have
devastating consequences.
But why is the UN not intervening more
strongly, as in Libya? Unfortunately for Ivory
Coast, it is neither close to Europe, strategically
located, nor does it enjoy the advantage of an
internationally sought-after resource... apart
from chocolate. The UN felt obliged to “protect
civilians” in Libya; are those of Ivory Coast less
important or worthy of aid?
L’Etudiant visits
the Lycée
In total, nearly half a million
people have fled their homes due
to the violence between the two
As violence escalates, the African Union as
well as the UN have tried pressuring Gbagbo
to leave comfortably; however, he resists
any such proposals. Despite probable future
reinforcements of peace-keeping international
troops, it is to be feared that the country is
heading for a full-fledged civil war. As the world
watches the unfolding tragedies in Japan and
Libya, it must not forget Ivory Coast, for the
outcome of this conflict will determine whether
or not democracy will progress in one of the
parts of the world where it is most needed.
“There’s only enough room for one of us
in this country”
Incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, President since 2000,
vs Alassane Ouattara, legitimate President-elect
Antoine Koen
As you will have read in Headlines,
a journalist and photographer from the
French monthly magazine L’Etudiant
spent a day visiting the Lycée International
in March. Their mission: to find out more
about the school, ranked third in France
for results in the Concours Général.
Jessica Gourdon’s report, due out in
this month’s issue of L’Etudiant, focuses
on the country’s top ranked Lycées. Ms
Gourdon explained that whereas the
Lycée Henri IV (ranked 1st) and Lycée Louis
Legrand (ranked 2nd) have a nationwide
reputation for excellence, the Lycée
International results are less-well known.
Ms Gourdon and photographer,
M Hervé Thouroude popped into the
Director’s office while the Insites
Editorial team was meeting. Their
impression of the school: “Trés bon! Une
force de frappe” said Ms Goudon. In spite
of the heavy timetable, she admitted to
being very impressed by the level of
extra-currciular activities and the relaxed
James Cathcart congratulates
runner-up, Antoine Koen
In pictures
Medals awarded all round for
all the Netball Girls!
Students in Seconde Acceuil
back in February on a trip
to London to see ‘Romeo and
Juliet’ at the Unicorn Theatre
with John Cannon and Mme
Hachemi, CPE for Terminale.
Sean Lynch (far right) moves on from his role as
Director of the American Section at the end of this
year to take up the post of Director of the Lycée
Français in New York. His career at the Lycée is
without precedent, having been a pupil, teacher
and Director at the school. He is pictured here
with Kelly Herrity, his successor (second from
right), Mme Slagmulder and James Cathcart.
Boogying in Bougival:
3ème students enjoying
an excellent ‘Junior
Prom’, organised
jointly by the British
and American Sections,
which took place at
the Holiday Inn.
A surprise ‘Send off ’ was organised by PMC Contact
Parents for Roger Stephens who retires this term. The
event, which included drinks and a gift presentation
on behalf of British Section students and parents,
was attended by Contact Parents past and present,
Mr Cathcart and PMC British Section staff along
with Madame Lecomte and Monsieur Drouet.
Our Big Read
Right and below, this year’s
Carnegie Medal shadowing
is well underway at all three
sites for the 4èmes, while
the 5èmes are reading last
year’s shortlisted books.
Lycée 4èmes
Imprimerie Jasson Tabou reau - Tél : 01 34 75 00 50 - Adhérent Imprim’Vert
The success of First Aid courses for 2nde
students run by BS parent, Sarah Pope
(centre, back row), prompted several parents
to ask if they too could find out what to
do if ever faced with an emergency!
Hauts Grillets 4èmes
Pupils in 11ème/CP exploring the
fascinating world of butterflies during
the recent visit to a butterfly farm.
Please send in photos of British Section activities
and events for our photoboard. Send to:
[email protected]