We are delighted to announce that from 2023, Stamford will become fully co-educational at all stages. For more information, please visit Stamfordcoed.org

History of the SES German exchange

History of the SES German exchange

The academic year of 2019/2020 has been historic considering the Modern Foreign Languages department, with two of our exchange programmes hitting big anniversary milestones; marking the 60th year of the German Exchange (read more here) and the 25th anniversary of the Russian exchange (read more here).

In celebration of this, our Schools Archivist, James Buckman, has research into the history of some of our most popular exchange programmes, including the longstanding German Exchange.

Ernst Kalkuhl Gymnasium

Written History:

Stamford School

In 1958, Michael Chew arrived at Stamford School to become Head of the Modern Languages Department. He would develop the German Language in the School not just through ‘dynamic classroom teaching’, but by reaching out and forming links with the Ernst Kalkuhl Gymnasium (EKG) in Bonn.

In 1959, he wrote a letter of recommendation to the EKG and organised a job as an English Language Assistant for one of his pupils, David Baines, who then went up to read Modern Languages at Oxford.  This was likely the beginning of the long-term friendship between the two schools.


Stamford High School

Stamford High School began its own exchange trip in 1962. Esther Brodie began to consider a holiday in Germany.  After many negotiations between Miss Wright and the Liebfrauenschule in Bonn, two families were found for Esther and a friend.  It was a bold approach.  Nevertheless, it turned out to be a success.  Esther made some really good friends, she was ‘able to see German life through the eyes of the Germans themselves, a thing not often experienced by the ordinary tourist’.

Encouraged by this success, fifteen girls formed a group in 1963 and a second exchange was organised; ‘This was largely successful and the girls settled down well to the German way of life. Most of the girls took full advantage of all the opportunities offered to them and made a marked improvement in their German’.

In 1964, a third and equally successful exchange took place strengthening the link between SHS and the Liebfrauenschule.

In 1973, the EKG became co-educational, and the Stamford School exchange became a joint venture.


Students’ thoughts from the time:

Ernst Kalkuhl Gymnasium

Browse the Stamford Endowed Schools’ digital archives yourself, here. 

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