In 1976, two English Language teachers from Oathall School (now Oathall Community College) visited Traunstein, Germany. While there, by chance they met teachers from a local Traunstein school, the Reiffenstuel Realschule. This led to regular annual exchange visits between the two schools.
By 1988, the schools partnership had transformed into the Freundschaftsclub (German Friendship Society) Haywards-Heath Traunstein and the Haywards Heath and District Anglo German Society. Just five years later, in 1993 the seeds of friendship had flourished and transformed into a fully-fledged formal partnership. The Official Twinning Declarations (between the two town councils) took place in Traunstein and Haywards Heath in April and September 1993 respectively and in 2013 celebrated 20 years of our twinning with Traunstein.
Now, in 2016 yet another new partnership has been forged. The Chairman of the Traunstein Freundchaftsclub, Günter Miedaner and headteacher Mrs Pam Cripps of St Wilfrids CoE Primary School, Haywards Heath, agreed to set up various exchange programmes with two Traunstein primary schools (Grundschule) - Ludwig-Thoma-Grundschule Traunstein and Grundschule Haslach. During the visit, Günter made a tour of St Wilfrids School where teaching staff provided a wealth of information about a ‘typical day in the life of a UK primary school’.
Günter originated the idea of presenting Her Majesty the Queen with a picture as a means of conveying both the children of Traunstein’s appreciation of the Queen and that of Traunstein’s people friendship between our towns and our nations.
Traunstein primary school children are introduced to the English Language at an early age. As part of the process, children are taught about life in the United Kingdom , its culture, for example how Christmas is celebrated, typical breakfast time, fish and chips, Sunday roast, family life etc. Günter and his fellow colleagues set up a drawing competition and which involved the two Traunstein primary schools.
The 9-year-olds were given the exciting project ‘draw a picture to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday’. A select panel from Traunstein judged the 90 entries. Fifteen winning entrants were chosen plus the outright winner - a picture representing the Union Flag with a picture of the Queen in the centre. All 16 winning entrants pictures have been displayed in the Traunstein Town Hall. Traunstein Town Hall will send the outright winning picture to HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The picture will bear the signatures of all 16 winning entrants.
Copies of the Tribute Pictures have been incorporated into an annual Art Trail Tour in Haywards Heath as well as being displayed in public buildings.
The Golden thread that runs through the above is the importance of educating our children and protecting the future. They are our pathway to friendship, understanding, and tolerance. So it is very fitting that in this wonderful year of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday that Traunstein primary school children should make this fantastic tribute to our Queen.