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Canons High School

Italian Exchange Visitors

featuring trip to 'Romeo and Juliet' at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.


We recently gained the 'International School Award' from the British Council, and as if to reinforce this new status, we have just spent a wonderful week hosting 17 visiting Italian State High School students and their teachers, here at Canons High.


Tuesday 12th March  |  A Wet Welcome...
Our Italian visitors, from Liceo Statali 'Giovanni Pascoli' in Firenze (Florence) had chosen accommodation in Shepherds Bush, which was far more central for all the exciting sights and sounds which any visitor to London would want to explore. But these would have to wait for the evenings and weekends, as they would be spending the normal school days with us in our position on the North-West outskirts of London.


It is usual for Italian state schools to be named after a famous person, in this case, Giovanni Pascoli. 

Giovanni Placido Agostino Pascoli was an Italian poet, classical scholar and an emblematic figure of Italian literature in the late nineteenth century. 



So, on their first day visiting Canons High, they travelled over to our local Queensbury station on the Jubilee line. Here they were met by our International Coordinator Ms D Matomby and other Languages staff, and walked the short distance up to our school. Unfortunately, it rained heavily all day that day so waterproof coats and umbrellas were to be seen in great numbers.
A room in our school had been allocated to be their 'base' during their visit and breakfast had been arranged in our canteen for any who were feeling peckish as they'd set out quite early.
A morning meeting had been arranged for Mr Bullock to officially welcome them all to Canons High. School maps were also handed out along with our new Canons 'goodie' bags, the outline of the week presented and the structure of the British education system explained.
Student Ambassadors then led groups of our visitors on informal tours of our school. After lunch the Italian Students joined in with some Year 9 Language classes. It must have be strange to them to be in a lesson where their native language was being taught.

Wednesday 13th March  After breakfast...
...Our very own Italian 'Italian' teacher, Mr F Egidio, led a general conversation session with our visitors, discussing everything from our British school curriculum to similarities and differences between our two countries. Presentations had been prepared by a Year 10 student group and our Languages Assistant, Ms C Cogoni ensured everything was clear and understood.
The Italian students later experienced a Year 9 Assembly before joining in with a Year 8 Computer Science lesson and a Year 12 T-Level lesson during the afternoon.

Thursday 14th March  |  The Best of British (Scones and Shakespeare)
There was a focus on Sixth Form teaching and activities for part of the day but also time to visit Miss M Campbell in our Food & Nutrition room. Our Italian visitors and ourselves learnt the names for the ingredients in each others languages, before having fun making that classic traditional British treat, the humble scone. They were to be enjoyed warm , with jam and thick cream, although the argument about which is spread on first was avoided (it's obviously jam!).


 Miss M Campbell between our visiting Italian teachers, with Ms D Matomby.



 "Guarda cosa abbiamo preparato."

[ Look what we baked ]



Cultural Highlight of the Week

On that Thursday afternoon, our new Italian friends, along with our Year 8 students, travelled right into the centre of London to watch an exciting performance of 'Romeo and Juliet' live on stage at the world renowned Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's South Bank.



For our visitors it must have been as if the planets had all aligned! How so?...

  • They study Shakespeare back in Italy, and they study it in its original English language as part of a joint language and cultural topic.
  • The actual play they are currently studying is 'Romeo and Juliet', which just so happened to be being performed at the time of their visit to the UK.
  • 'Romeo and Juliet' is set in Verona in Italy, just 100 miles north from their home city of Firenze (Florence).  These coincidences made this an extremely poignant visit for them.


Shakespeare's Globe.

An amazing timber-framed and thatched, historically correct replica Elizabethan theatre.


Open air, circular and with lots of standing room.

Our new Italian friends with our Head of Languages Mr J Fenn who said that this visit to the Globe was the cultural highlight of the week.

Unlike modern theatre, the actors actively interact with the audience. Whilst in character, some of the actors invited members of our Italian group to 'join their gang'! But would it have been the Montagues or the Capulets?


Our Year 8 students getting ready to watch the play from the 'Pit'.




Friday 15th March  Last Day and Sad Goodbyes... until the next time!
On their last day with us the students sat in on music and computer lessons and a Year 10 assembly, as well as some GCSE Italian lessons.
The whole week had been extremely successful and very enjoyable, but hard work and stressful for those who'd worked so hard to arrange and run it all.
But it must have been seen as very enjoyable and successful by our new Italian friends, who very hopefully spoke about "when we do this again next year!"
A few final words from our Languages team..





"An amazing week of cultural and linguistic exchange expertly planned and run by the dynamism of the amazing duo of Ms Matomby and the Italian staff"

Mr J Fenn  |  Head of Languages


"This has been a very positive experience for both our students and teachers. It was so interesting comparing everyday school issues with our Italian counterparts.

I loved seeing our visitors and our students getting along so well, helping each others and teaching each other English and Italian. It brought a lovely fresh energy to our classrooms and school."

Mr F Egidio  |  Languages Teacher


"It was wonderful to see the curiosity amongst our students that our Italian visitors created. It opened up their eyes to horizons outside of Edgware, London and just the United Kingdom. Several students were motivated to enquire about other languages they could possibly study.

The interaction between our visitors and our students was fascinating and lovely to see. Their minds operated in the same way as mine, with a love of languages.

It has been very hard work organising this exchange and the week has just flown by, but it's been so worth it and I'm so happy and proud that it's gone so well.

Liceo Statale Giovanni Pascoli have been a partner school with us since November last year and I am very excited that a return exchange visit by us is in the early stages of planning and is pencilled in for the next academic year."

Ms D Matomby  |  Languages Teacher & International Coordinator