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History at Neston High School

History at Neston High School

Year 7 History at Neston High School began in a flamboyant fashion this year, all stemming from when students were asked to articulate their ideas on a simple question; “What is History?” Many ideas were expressed, and although all were correct and relevant one idea in particular stole the show. An individual Year 7 student suggested, quite rightly so that “History is the study of the accolades and mistakes of man.” This eloquent turn of phrase would go on to epitomise the whole first term at Neston.

Over the course of the first term in History at Neston High School, students in Year 7 have been learning about the Norman Conquest and the different contenders to the throne in 1066. As a reward for revising for and completing their Year 7 History Baseline, students were given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of one interpretation of events (the Bayeux Tapestry) through the medium of drama – freeze frames to be precise. Students were very excited at the prospect of completing this task, especially given that they were permitted to bring in replica medieval weapons to bring their scenes to life! One student unfortunately missed the ‘replica’ part of the brief and brought in an actual military flail that turned out to be a family heirloom. The students took great enjoyment in showing each other their scenes and using the variety of replica (plastic) swords, shields, axes and armour to recreate their respective freeze frames from the battle. Some of the most convincing students were those on horseback (chairs turned around the wrong way) and those who had fallen on the field of “battle”. In the end this culminated in a full class Mannequin Challenge style freeze frame set to the song Black Beatles. This was very popular is 2015/16 and there has certainly been a revival in the History department at Neston High School this year too. Examples of the recorded scenes can be found on the Humanities local area.

As well as this, students had already been looking into the historical skill of interpretation. Even though this is a high level, challenging concept, students were able to grapple with the ideas of what an interpretation is, and how interpretations are skewed and biased. This roused the question from many students – is the Bayeux Tapestry a fair interpretation for the Anglo Saxons? As a class we decided it was not, and so set about the task of creating our own Anglicised Bayeux Tapestry that included the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and the Anglo Saxons’ heroic last stand at the bottom of Senlac Hill. There was an excellent turn out for this piece of Homework and the scenery of the Bayeux Tapestry flowed extremely well.