The Sister Cities at the Time of WW1

ww1LMGMembers of the regional science course in class 8 of the Lise Meitner Gymnasium in Leverkusen are planning a WW1 exhibition. They have written to Augenblink asking for contributions from Bracknell schools.

They write that regional science is a mix of history, geography and politics. The exhibition entitled “The Sister Cities at the Time of the First World War” will be mounted in September 2014. The pupils add that they would be very happy if Bracknell students took part in the exhibition. They will also be illustrating the topic with drawings.

Please contact the newsdesk to find out how you can contribute.

Hundreds of children perform ‘Lest We Forget’

Lest-We-ForgetMore than 600 Bracknell Forest school children performed a musical extravaganza to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and conflict since 1914.
The special ‘Lest We Forget’ performance involved the children singing, dancing and narrating to provide a tribute conflict as well as to deepen their understanding of events that happened during the First World War.

Songs from the time of the First World War were sung, including a moving performance of Silent Night which was sung in both English and German.

Lots of hard work was involved in the production and it was a special event.
It was great to watch all the young people perform and the narrations were particularly thought provoking.

The German School System in Brief

1000px-BMBF_Logo.svgThe German School System in Brief

By Vivien Aljic and Shqipdona (Käthe-Kollwitz-Schule, year 10)

Regardless of nationality or state (we have 16 of them in Germany), six-year-old children must attend school. The children have to go to school until the age of 18. The students study full-time for 10 years and after that (depending on their degree) they continue their studies or they do part-time studies at a college and at the same time they are trained for a job.
School begins after the summer break. When exactly school begins depends on the different states.

The summer break is 6-weeks long and the other holidays (Easter, Whitsun, autumn and Xmas) are 7 weeks altogether.

Education is free and most of the schoolbooks are free too. We have no school uniforms.

German Education is divided into 3 parts: The first one is primary school (Grundschule) from age 6 to 10 except Berlin and Brandenburg (age6 to 12). The second one is secondary school, which offers 4 different types of school: a) Hauptschule : basic and general education from fifth grade to tenth grade. b) Realschule : Students who go to a Realschule get a broader education than the students at a Hauptschule. c) Gymnasium (grammar school), which provides a higher level of secondary education for students from year 5 to year 12. At the end of the twelfth year students pass exams to pass their A-Levels. With your “Abitur” you can go to university.
The 4th type of secondary school comprises the other three ones: it’s called Gesamtschule and teaches the same subjects as the other schools from year 5 to 10. The Gesamtschule (or comprehensive school) integrates organizational and pedagogical contents of the three other secondary schools, but subjects like Maths or English, from the 7th grade, are divided into advanced or basic courses. If your marks are good enough and you had at least 3 advanced courses, you can do 3 more years and then try to pass your A-Levels . Our School is a Gesamtschule.

Our system is a little bit complicated because of the many different types of school and the many different states.

Käthe Kollwitz Goes Cultural

Getting started
Getting started
Thousands of shreds
Thousands of shreds




A Famous Poster by Käthe Kollwitz

A Famous Poster by Käthe Kollwitz


by  Tamara Ebner  (year 11)

On Culture Day the pupils of Käthe Kollwitz Secondary School in Leverkusen do something on the subject of culture. Often, they go to the museum, visit art exhibitions or they pick the artist simply by themselves and invite him/her to  school. So did class 11 recently!

On 06/02/2014 two artists came from Villa Zündfunke to our school with the intention of bringing us closer together as a team. For this, they worked out a project, which would encourage and require the creativity and teamwork of the students. Out of almost 100 pupils, four teams were formed. These teams had the task to create a portrait (2 x 1.6 metre) of the artist and human rights activist Käthe Kollwitz.

First of all we were told something about her life. Second, our great school is named after her. We learned that Käthe Kollwitz was a socially engaged artist from Berlin, who had lost her son in the First World War.  Driven by grief and anger about the war she drew anti – violence images. Unfortunately, she died a few days before the end of the Second World War.

Thereafter the artists Winfried Becker ( and Andreas Baschek ( explained to us how to proceed. First we had to abrade the four large wooden plates and coat them with clear lacquer. Then the portrait of Käthe Kollwitz, that we were to work on, was shown to us. Subsequently, each group was given the task to shoot pictures with our mobile phones outside in order to map various colors, patterns and structures.
These images were collected and whilst they were printed, we all ate pizza together. After lunch, we went to work. The printed images were then torn into small shreds and glued at the appropriate places. In order to create a good image, it was necessary to liaise with each other. This gave rise to get in touch with students, who we never knew of before. Often it was very funny and a sticky affair.

Finally, four artistically creative and abstract portraits came together. A jury was summoned, to evaluate our portraits, based on certain criteria. In a small ceremony with music and good vibes, the winners were honored. The group with the most abstract image won a visit to the cinema.


Immersion English

Immersion English

The kindergarten ‘Die Rheinpiraten e.V. ‘ in Leverkusen-Hitdorf is a bilingual kindergarten. The concept is called ‘Immersion English’; it means that there are teachers who only speak their native language. There are three native speakers, two of them are from the United States and one is from Ireland.

The kindergarten has links to the University of Limerick, Ireland. That’s the university where Sarah, one of the native speakers and a teacher,  is studying. It’s part of her studies to be six months in Germany, so she can improve her German. She has been here since July and this December she will leave Germany. In January there will also be another student from Ireland to do the same as Sarah did.

The native speakers should only speak English. If they want to speak to the parents of a child and there are children around them then they must also speak English. In comparison to the younger children (under 3 years) the older children are more used to English. The native speakers speak more slowly  when they are talking to the younger children. The children don’t have to learn vocabulary, they learn it while they are playing English games or reading a book in the so called ‘Mittagskreis’. When the native speakers speak they use their hands to show the children what they mean. In German that is called ‘GUK’ (Gebärdenunterstützende Kommunikation, i.e. communication supported by gestures). There is more hand action when speaking to the younger children.

The concept of the kindergarten has existed since 2004. By the time this text was written there were six native speakers in total.

Celine Dumont, year 10 (Käthe-Kollwitz-Schule)

Welcome to Leverkusen

LeverkusenLeverkusen on the River Rhine is a large and multi-faceted city. Its roughly 161,000 citizens are spread out over urban areas as well as idyllic rural ones. Village charisma and the vibrant city life are often just a stone’s throw apart. Sometimes they are even directly adjacent.

Leverkusen became famous as the industrial town where globally renowned company Bayer AG is headquartered. It offers much more, however: It is a city with many relaxation offers, lots of greenery

in particular at the outskirts of the Bergisches Land and with the romantic banks of the River Rhine in the North.

Leverkusen is known as a city of sports far beyond its borders. The soccer players of the national league club “Bayer 04 Leverkusen“ are one of the top national league teams and have often been highly successful in Europe. The BayArena is and remains one of the most beautiful soccer stadiums in Europe.

With this special mix of well-structured urban offers, Leverkusen was able to hold its own well between the much older cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf with their much longer history.

Leverkusen was founded in 1930 when the villages of Schlebusch, Steinbüchel, Rheindorf and Wiesdorf were combined under this name. The new town‘s name is symbolic for its history:

Pharmacist Carl Leverkus built his ultramarine dye factories here starting in 1860, thereby laying the foundation stone for the later Bayer factory and thus also for town development. Before the time

of industrialisation, the area on which Leverkusen is located today had only small villages with farmers, cattle breeders and fishers. Once the factory opened, many workers from other German regions came flocking to the Rhine. Since the area had no infrastructure, it had to be built quickly. A settlement grew around the factory and influenced the surrounding villages. Workers would go shopping in the villages, which would soon also send men and women to work in the new factory. The relationships that developed at the time were made of- ficial when Leverkusen was given town status. With the community restructuring of 1975, the town was expanded around the Rhine, the former country town Opladen and into the Bergisches Land.

Click here to download ‘Welcome to Leverkusen’ pdf.


Shrewsbury Biscuits

shrewsbury-biscuitsA Shrewsbury cake, often called a Shrewsbury biscuit, is a traditional English dessert that bears a strong resemblance to shortbread. It draws its name from the English town of Shrewsbury, where it is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages.


125g butter or block margarine

125g caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

225g plain flour

Grated rind of 1 lemon or orange


1.         Grease two large baking sheets.

2.         Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add ½ of the beaten egg and mix well.

3.         Stir in the flour and grated lemon rind and mix to a fairly firm dough with a round bladed knife.  Add more egg if needed – you need a firm dough which will roll out, but is not too sticky.

4.         Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.

5.         Roll out to about 5mm thick.  Cut into rounds with a 6cm fluted cutter and place on baking sheets.

6.         Bake in the oven at 180oC Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes, until firm and a very light brown colour.


Variation:  Add 50g chopped dried fruit to the mixture with the flour.

Leverkusen Bracknell Youth Exchange October 2013

At Monday morning the 21 October we started our journey to Bracknell the twin city of Leverkusen. Twelve boys and girls and two youth workers started their way to the ferry in Calais. After some traffic jams we hit the ferry in the last second and we all were very happy to get in time to Bracknell.

After 10 hours driving we finally reached our accommodation at 05:00 p.m. We had a great welcome from our English hosts with an original English Tea Time.

The next day we did some great activities at our accommodation. Together with the English youngsters we proofed our archery and climbing skills. After the Lunch we did caving a very special activity witch no one of us did before. We tried our best in climbing through the artificial caves. The cave was full of spiders so we had big fun in scaring Julia, one of our youth workers.

In the evening we did a big campfire and we get teached from the English youngsters to melt marshmallows the right way. They were very delicious. But a big thunderstorm interrupted the very nice campfire evening. So we had to escape and went back to our accommodation and then we all played together some funny English and German group games.

On Wednesday we visited London all of us were very excited. Sightseeing and shopping that were our big plans for the day in the British capital.

We visited London by air and water. We did a ride on the London Eye and a riverboat trip on the river Thames. So we had a great experience from the whole city for the short time we had been there.

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In the afternoon we discovered the Oxford Street for all of us it was the shopping paradise, especially when we found out where Primark was. One girl of our group bought herself a pig onesie. It’s very funny the English youngsters are wearing them all the time. In Germany we see stuff like this only at carnival.

After our shopping trip we took a look at the Buckingham Palace and hoped to see a member of the royal family. But afterwards we found out all of them stayed in Windsor at the baptism of Prince George.

We found out that the beautiful red English phone boxes having Wi-Fi access. That was quit new for us, because in Germany we do have just a few phone boxes in public.

After that we returned to Waterloo Station to get our train back to Bracknell. After this great day in London with so many great experiences everyone was very tired and satisfied and everyone fell into their beds.

On the next day we continued our sightseeing tour in the wonderful city of Windsor. On a Bus-trip around Windsor we enjoyed the nice landscape, the castle of Windsor and the Eton College. The weather was fantastic, blue sky and sunshine.

After this we had lunch in a pub and everyone tried Fish and Chips. In the afternoon we came to see the Ice skating ring in Bracknell. English youngsters and us had much fun in testing our ice skating skills.

Directly after the ice skating adventure everyone was hungry and we had the chance to get coffee and cake at an English Youth club.

The Youth club was very nice and all of us agreed that the best was the free WI –Fi they are having.

After the dinner we met some other English youngsters. Especially our girls were very happy that many British boys came to see us. We all get along together very good and many friendships began to start this evening.

Although the Mayor of Bracknell visited us and we told them about our stay and the great Programme during the week.

After this we returned to our accommodation because on the next day we had to go back to Germany and we had to pack our luggage together.

On the next morning the goodbye was very sad for everyone. We had a great time during the week and get to know a great hospitality from the English youngsters and youth workers.

We got to know many new people and all of us are hoping that we can welcome them in 2014 in Leverkusen.


Sandhurst students on school mission to aid Rwanda orphans

Deputy Head Teacher Sam Hunt and Senior Science Technician Brenda Davies with the students going to Rwanda.

from The Bracknell News :

STAFF and students from Sandhurst School are preparing for a trip to Rwanda after raising more than GBP 50,000 (€ 60,300) to help victims of the country’s genocide.
The youngsters set up the Reaching Rwanda charity in 2007 after learning about the 1994 atrocities that left around one million people dead and many children orphaned.
Deputy headteacher Samantha Hunt said: “This event is very timely as 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.
“Teenagers today often receive a very bad press, however, this group of young people have truly shown what it means to be a good citizen and to care for those who are less fortunate than themselves.”
The school has also been raising money for the charity Survivors Fund (SURF) which provides support in a variety of ways including:

  • Providing cows, chickens, goats and training in animal care and husbandry to the orphans of Ntarama
  • Sponsoring 22 survivors to go to school and to enable them to financially support themselves in the future
  • Providing funding to set up 14 small businesses such as market stalls and a garden centre which provide an income for more than 70 survivors
  • Building a clean water facility in the village of Kamonyi, providing safe, clean, free water to more than 300 survivors.

The 17 Sandhurst pupils and adults will fly out to Rwanda on February 14 to meet the orphans the school is supporting.
Mrs Hunt said: “During the visit, there will be the opportunity to work in a school with our orphans, and to decorate and furnish two new houses for 10 homeless orphans.”
The group will also deliver cows to widows of the genocide and create three new businesses to enable survivors to generate an income.
Mrs Hunt was nominated for a Pride of Bracknell award in 2008 after launching ‘Reaching Rwanda’ the previous year.
She added: “I believe this is a positive story showing that with just a little effort, you can change people’s lives forever.”