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Slightly off the topic perhaps, but I thought I might mention a book written by one of my relations in Canada about his World War II experiences. He was shot down in a Lancaster over Holland, hidden for a short time by a Dutch family, captured by the Germans and imprisoned, nearly died on the long march from East to West as the Russians approached - and survived. In 1983 he went back to Holland and tracked down the Dutch family who sheltered him. He also managed to correspond by letter with the German fighter pilot who shot down the Lancaster. He gives talks in schools all over British Columbia. See "Almost a Lifetime" by John McMahon, originally published by Oolichan Books and now published by Shamrock Publications, British Columbia:



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Toulouse Meeting: 18th-21st March 2004

This was a joint meeting of teachers from England and teachers from the International School of Toulouse (IST) involved in the Aviation Project.

The meeting was held in Toulouse and was organized by Richard Jones-Nerzic, a member of the history department of the European Virtual School (VS) and the head of humanities at the IST. Meetings were attended by John Simkin (VS), Nick Falk (VS), Andy Davies (VS), David Faure (VS/IST), Les Albiston (IST), David Ardley (IST), Adeline Braud (IST) and Peter Flynn (IST). The meeting was also attended by two other members of the team working on the Aviation Project: Andy Walker (head of e-learning at Dartford Technology College) and Anne Jakins (head of special needs at Sackville School). Anne’s attendance was funded by the Seed Project. Bamber Gascoigne (HistoryWorld) also attended meetings on Thursday and Friday (18th –19th March).

Thursday 18th March

14.00 Les Albiston gave the visitors a tour of the International School of Toulouse. He outlined the ethos and purpose of the school and how it is supported through the building design and curriculum. The tour provided an insight into how ICT is used in all curriculum areas to aid learning.

14.30 Individual subject meetings about the Aviation Project: (History/Special Needs, Design & Technology, Science). Nick Falk reported back that David Faure and himself had discussed how the VS Biology could contribute material to the Science framework already in place.

15.30 Bamber Gascoigne gave a presentation of his HistoryWorld website. Bamber has been writing this material since 1994. It went online in 2001 and the following year won the New Statesman New Media Award for education. The site contains more than 30 detailed interactive curriculum timelines.


Bamber told us that Charles Clarke is an enthusiastic supporter of HistoryWorld. Bamber has been appointed to the DfES advisory History Group (convened by Gordon Marsden MP, chaired by Charles Clarke). Bamber is currently in discussion with Ceris Bergen at BECTA about the development of this website for use in the classroom.

The whole group were extremely impressed by the quality and depth of information on the website. It was also felt that it needed an input from experienced teachers in order to make it more usable in the classroom. It was decided that a small team should be formed to produce a guide on how the material could be used in the history classroom. John Simkin, Andy Walker and Anne Jakins all agreed to develop some ideas on how this could be done. It was suggested that we should develop a pilot project to show the educational potential of this tremendous resource. It was agreed that we should concentrate on the timeline for the 19th century. The main focus would be on producing differentiated activities that could be used at both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Nick Falk was keen to use the resource to explore the development of scientific concepts in this period and to investigate the impact of these developments on our present understanding. Activities could be produced to support the science curriculum at KS3,4,5. John Simkin agreed to explore the different possibilities of providing the funding for this pilot project.

16.30 Members of the Aviation Project (Andy Davies, Richard Jones-Nerzic, John Simkin, Anne Jakins, David Faure, Nick Falk, Andy Walker, Adeline Braud and Peter Flynn) discussed the teaching materials that they have produced so far.

Friday 19th March

09.30 Discussions on the Aviation Project.

11.00 Visit to Airbus. Andy Davies, Richard Jones-Nerzic, John Simkin, Anne Jakins, Nick Falk, Andy Walker, Bamber Gascoigne and Les Albiston were given a guided tour of the Airbus Mock-Up Centre (A380, A340 and A319CJ). This led to detailed discussions about the way that the Virtual School and Airbus could work together to produce educational materials for the Aviation Project (see details of Sunday’s meeting).

15.00 Discussions on the Aviation Project.

17.00 Richard Jones-Nerzic interviewed Bamber Gascoigne on Digital Video for the VS History website: ICT Pioneers and Innovative Practitioners Project.

Saturday 20th March

All day visit to Oradour-sur-Glane to obtain information for a history department Virtual School project on the Second World War.

Discussions about the development of the International Education Forum. Several members voiced concern about the unwillingness of senior members of the VS to get involved. However, the administrators were pleased that the forum had been very successful at persuading large numbers of people to join (523) from a wide variety of different countries (28). It was also decided to create a student version of the forum for collaborative projects.

Sunday 21st March

9.30 It was agreed that the visit to Airbus was an inspirational experience. It was decided to develop a large cross-curricular project on the A380. The following reasons were given for this decision:

(1) The A380 is one the most important technological development of the early 21st century.

(2) Airbus is a successful example of European Cooperation.

(3) The A380 has the potential to play a leading role in developing and maintaining European unity.

(4) Over the next ten years the A380 will play a major role in the economic development of Europe.

It was decided that over the next year the A380 work would become the main feature of the Aviation Project.

Andy Davies (Design & Technology), John Simkin (History) and Nick Falk (Science) promised to produce material as part of their Virtual School contract. Andy Walker (Sociology) and Anne Jakins (Special Needs) also offered to produce materials for the project. I will explore ways of how their work can be funded.

Richard Jones-Nerzic agreed to coordinate the VS work with that of the staff of the International School of Toulouse.

Andy Davies intends to put forward a project proposal. This will include producing materials to deliver A Level/IB.

Nick Falk pointed out that the A380 project and had the potential to be a rich resource for development of science educational material.

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I'd like to add my words of praise to those of Nick and John. Richard and the IST organised really stimulating programme. Fascinating also to meet that "cultural icon of our times" Bamber Gascoigne.

Interesting work and excellent company - a grand combination :P

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Visit to Toulouse 18th-21st March

I would like to thank Richard Jones-Nerzic for organising such an interesting and stimulating programme over the four days we spent in Toulouse.

Following our arrival on Thursday 18th March Les Albiston, the principal, gave us a tour of the International School, Toulouse (IST) which proved to be one of the highlights of the trip. IST has established itself as a school that makes excellent use of ICT to deliver and enhance the learning opportunities it offers its students. The school benefits from a high level of technology and a teaching staff who are highly skilled computer users. IST is probably the only school in Europe where you will find more computers than students.The school, which is primarily for the children of Airbus employees, is comprehensive in its intake and offers an English language based education for pupils aged 4-18. It is situated in a stunning building with a wide corridor which ascends into a high cathedral style roof creating a calm and quiet working environment. A high standard of artwork was on display.

All students from eight years upwards have their own notebook computers for use in school and at home. Every member of staff also has their own notebook computer for lesson planning. Demonstrations are carried out using LCD projectors which are part of the standard equipment in classrooms.

The pride taken by the students in their school and their commitment to work was very apparent. The timetable is flexible and independent learning is encouraged. Late on Friday afternoon the students could be seen enthusiastically rehearsing flamenco dancing to display during their forthcoming annual culture week.

During our time at IST Bamber Gascoigne gave us a presentation of his impressive History World Web Site. We all joined in his quiz and enacted our own version of ‘University Challenge’ with Bamber asking the questions. This was great fun.

As part of the Aviation Project we discussed the needs of students with special needs and those for whom English is a second language. At IST intensive oral and vocabulary courses are available to these students in order to boost confidence and instil a working knowledge of the English language. It is seen as essential that all students access the curriculum successfully.

I hope to be able to extend my work on differentiation and forge links between International School, Toulouse and Sackville Community College where I am Head of Special Needs.

Thank you again to Les Albiston and Richard Jones-Nerzic for such an interesting and enjoyable trip and for the memorable visit to Airbus.

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The pride taken by the students in their school and their commitment to work was very apparent. The timetable is flexible and independent learning is encouraged.

This is one of the best presentations of a school I have ever read.

I have produced some material on acrobatic flight with my students. It is still in progress and we'll develop it in the next weeks.


Edited by Caterina Gasparini
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This is one of the best presentations of a school I have ever read.

I have produced some material on acrobatic flight with my students. It is still in progress and we'll develop it in the next weeks.


This is an excellent website. I do hope you can become involved in the project. It is a shame you were unable to visit Toulouse to experience the guided tour of the Airbus Mock-Up Centre (A380, A340 and A319CJ). The problem is obviously one of funding. Most of us were funded by the Virtual School. Any ideas on how others outside of the Virtual School can get funding in order to attend meetings?

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Aviation – where next?

The next phase of the projects development will be an increase in the number of learning objects and content.

I intend to create an interactive feature on the theme of the molecules of flight.

Perhaps more important is that we should consider ways of integrating the material form different curriculum areas into common themes were possible. The Virtual School site can host the learning activities with these drawing on the material created.

This could be an expected outcome of the next Aviation project meeting.

Nick Falk

Virtual School Chemistry Department

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Might be interesting to look at how three different countries reported the moving of the first of the A30 wings today.

This report appeared in today's Western Mail.

The first wing for the Airbus A380 super-jumbo has begun its journey from North Wales to France.

The 45-metre-long wing for the 555-seater aircraft was yesterday loaded on to a 96-wheeled trailer at the Airbus factory in Broughton, Flintshire, for the first leg of its journey.

It marked an historic day for the Broughton factory, which employs 3,000 staff making Airbus wings.

The wing and trailer combination, which weighs 200 tonnes, made a journey of just over a mile to the River Dee where it was loaded aboard a specially built craft for the journey to the Port of Mostyn. The first two wings will leave Mostyn in the next few weeks, to be shipped to Bordeaux in France, from where they will be taken by specially constructed haulage vehicles to the Airbus base in Toulouse.

Airbus UK general manager Iain Gray praised the rapid turnaround in producing the wings at Broughton.

He said, "Much has been achieved in such a short space of time - especially considering the complexity and enormity of the A380 project.

"The decision to launch the programme was only made at the very end of 2000 and the first metal was cut in factories around Europe in mid 2002.

"Main assembly of the first wing began only 10 months ago, it was removed from the jig in November and today we see the first completed wings."

The Airbus programme sustains 100,000 jobs across the UK and Mr Gray stressed the importance of the project.

"The scale to which Airbus has now grown means that in the UK it has become one of the mainstays of the aerospace industry and as such is of real significance for the UK economy," he said.

"As well as being, without doubt, the most exciting civil aircraft programme of our time, A380 is making a valuable and growing contribution to the UK economy through the boost it is providing to the country's aerospace and manufacturing industry."

Industry Minister Jacqui Smith described the project as "groundbreaking" for civil air transport.

She said, "These wings, indeed the entire A380 project, are a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved through teamwork and co-operation between industry, workforce, local authorities and national governments all coming together to turn the vision of a new super-jumbo into the reality we can see here."

The first two wings from Broughton are not destined for a flying aircraft. They will instead be used for ground-based structural testing of the A380 airframe in Toulouse.

With a wingspan of just under 80m the A380 will be the biggest aircraft produced by Airbus.

The European consortium has already had orders for 129 of the super-jumbos from 11 different customers.

The first delivery, to Singapore Airlines, is scheduled for 2006.

There have been recent concerns that the whole Airbus project could be hit after the Environment Agency's refusal to allow dredging of the Dee Estuary.

The craft used by Airbus to transport the wings have a draught of 4m and there have been concerns that without the channel being dredged it will halt the supply chain.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan recently described the dredging issue as "hyper-Byzantine".

"What we are trying to do is be a referee in a 15-round heavyweight contest between an exceptionally important industrial logistic chain and an exceptionally important estuary of huge environmental importance," he said.

This is what the Daily Telegraph had to say about it:

The largest commercial aircraft wing ever constructed began its journey from the Airbus factory in Broughton, north Wales, to Toulouse in France yesterday.

The 45m-long, 38 tonne wing will form part of the Superjumbo - the double-decker Airbus A380 aircraft designed to hold 555 passengers and scheduled for take-off in 2005.

The journey is expected to take until the end of April, with the wing transported along the River Dee to Mostyn and then by ship to France. Iain Gray, managing director of Airbus UK, which designed and managed the wings, said the A380 project is the "most exciting civil aircraft programme of our time".

Airbus UK has invested almost £2billion in the aircraft.

Finally the Washington Times

Production workers in Wales began moving the first wing of the first A380 superjumbo to Toulouse, France, early Moday, the BBC reported.

The massive operation to transport the Airbus wing from Flintshire to Toulouse in France will take four weeks, by land, river and sea. But Airbus says the long-term future of the operation is under threat if a ban on the dredging in the Dee Estuary continues.

The Port of Mostyn was refused permission last month to dredge so barges can get in and out at all times of the day.

"We need it to be dredged so the wings can go out in the medium term from the facility," explained Brian Fleet, director of manufacturing for Airbus.

The first wing will be lifted onto a huge transporter, with a 96-wheel trailer, which will travel along a special track to the River Dee and be loaded onto a barge.

The barge is not expected to leave for Mostyn docks for a few days.

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I have finally got round to completing the website of the Toulouse meeting. It includes photos and some of the video (more to be added later). The address is http://www.intst.net/humanities/vs/toulouse2004/index.htm

To update on John's post. The first of the Rolls Royce engines for the 380 arrived yesterday(?) and last week the fuselage made its way through our local villages and past the Ratelier. David Ardley went along with a camera and estimated a couple of thousand people were out on the streets late at night. Hopefully we can put some of those photos up in the next few days.

Also a reminder that the Airbus site has a section dedicated to the progress of the 380. bandeau_a380.gifhttp://www.airbus.com/a380/default.aspx

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David Ardley went along with a camera and estimated a couple of thousand people were out on the streets late at night. Hopefully we can put some of those photos up in the next few days.

Hello folks. Following on from what jonsey has mentioned I have a few still images and a couple of videos showing the first components of the 380 fuselage passing through L'isle Jourdain in the Gers here in France earlier this month (April 2004). I was rather annoyed because I passed the components on trailer in the daytime for the first time but was without my camera. By the time I got back it was dark! There were about 1500 to 2000 people gathered to see the lorries off on the final part of thier journey fropm L'Isle Jourdain to Airbus at Blagnac (Toulouse), a distance of about 30 km or so. The convoy, despite its bulk, actually moves quite quickly. I counted 20 Gendarme motorbikes and 6 Gendarme vans in support. The whole thing was really impressive. The infrastructure that has developed over the past couple of years to support the logistics of this enterprise has been phenomenal; New (A380 use only) roads, access and rest points (such as that in L'Isle Joudain), the burying of electricity pylons and telephone poles along the routes, the development (and redevelopment) of towns and villages along the way plus the unfortunate downsides to such development such as the culling of trees and loss of green belt areas in some regions and so on. There is so much to look at with this project - not just from a Design & Technology perspective, but History, Geography, Modern Languages, Math, Economics, Science.....a wonderful educational opportunity for all. This aviation thing should be quite a good asset and a lot of fun for everyone! Bye for now. David

Video 1

Video 2





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This is rapidly becoming an archive of the history of the A380 but will be useful later.

Late yesterday evening, just before midnight, the first wings of the A380 made their way through our villages to the west of Toulouse. Made in north Wales, they came by sea to Bordeaux. They made it to final assembly in Toulouse in the early hours this morning. There were fantastic images on regional TV.

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The various parts of the A380 fuselage have arrived


The new final assembly line for the A380 is due to be inaugurated in the next few days. The process of attaching wings to fuselage has begun.


Found one great image of the fuselage being transported through the village of Levignac, next to the Ratelier hotel:


This Airbus site http://www.airbus.com/airbus4u/articles_de....asp?ae_id=1467 contains some interesting material for the technology people about the logistics of shipping the various components across Europe.

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