Children at two rural north Norfolk high schools are heading for the Far East this summer - and that does not mean Lowestoft.

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About 20 pupils from Stalham and Broadland high schools will be spending a little over a week visiting China in June, attending lessons at Shanghai schools and staying with the families of Chinese schoolchildren. Their hosts will be paying a return visit later in the summer.

The 13 Stalham children would be going to classes at Longyuan Middle School where pupils were the same age as at a British high school, according to Jo O’Donoghue, director of inclusion at Stalham High School and one of the organisers. Broadland pupils would be attending a different school.

Despite having slightly fewer pupils than Stalham’s 471, Longyuan was a five-storey building with a race track, volleyball court, six basketball courts and an indoor stadium.

The Norfolk pupils would experience their Chinese peers’ long school day, beginning at 7am with an outdoor exercise session and the Chinese national anthem.

But there would also be time for them to see some of the local sights, including the Oriental Pearl Tower, Yu Garden, and the waterfront Bund area. They also hoped to cram in a river trip and a visit to an acrobatic display.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for these students to experience a completely different culture. Everything will be very different - language, food, even the toilets,” said Ms O’Donoghue.

Fundraising to help with the costs of the trip for Stalham pupils included a Chinese New Year dinner and auction of promises at the school on February 8 which made around £1,500.

Speaking after the auction Ms O’Donoghue said, despite a crisis whereby they had problems with the kitchen so had to cook food for the event in the technology block, that people had been “ very generous” and it was a “fantastic result.”.

And on February 28 at 5pm the school is hosting Stalham’s Got Talent auditions open to all. Judges at the final, on April 26 at 7pm, will include Ms O’Donoghue’s son Danny Roberts, who is a talent scout for Decca Records, and Ronan Parke, the Poringland schoolboy who was runner-up in ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent series in 2011.

● Visit the Stalham’s Got Talent Facebook page or email talentcomp@hotmail.com for entry details.

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