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Bringing history to life

Three girls sqTo support their study of the Victorian period, the whole of Year 6 spent a morning at school, but not a day as they know it! The teaching staff team re-created a school day, as it might have looked during the reign of Queen Victoria.     

To start with, each pupil came to school dressed as a Victorian child, either as a boy or a girl, and was asked to bring a penny with them to pay for their education.   

The teaching staff have also been in character to help demonstrate the difference in teaching styles. We do know that the teachers used to be very strict, and that school was often a grim place.   

They have then led a traditional school curriculum which included:   

  • singing and hymns  
  • the three R’s (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic)  
  • cross-stitch, and  
  • PE (which was called drill in Victorian times).  

Because the school classes were so big, everything used to be done in a regimented way. The teacher would write things on the blackboard for the children to copy onto their chalk boards and learn. A lot of teaching was repetition, learning the names and dates of kings and queens, or reciting the times table by rote.   

Today, at Redmaids’ High Junior School, and in keeping with tradition, the girls have been taught as one big group, while sitting at individual desks, in rows facing the front. Their teachers have also role-played being stern, serious and scary (… to the slight amusement of the girls)!   

Of course, we know that many children had to go to work in Victorian times, and work was sometimes very dangerous as it included tasks like climbing up chimneys, cleaning factory machines or travelling down dark mines.   

We certainly didn’t make our girls do that, but we do hope they’ve had fun experiencing a very different kind of school day!   

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Date Posted: 20 November, 2021

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