In the Classroom: Waterlooville school welcomes pupils for taster session

Kieran Doswell and Elise Sissons, both 12, from Oaklands RC School, work with St Peters Catholic Primary School pupils from left, Freya Bijumon, six, Nathan Jos, seven, and Lily Rushton, seven. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150017-6)
Kieran Doswell and Elise Sissons, both 12, from Oaklands RC School, work with St Peters Catholic Primary School pupils from left, Freya Bijumon, six, Nathan Jos, seven, and Lily Rushton, seven. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150017-6)
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

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Here at Oaklands Catholic School, we have been working closely with our feeder schools, writes head of history Victoria Masson.

We want to offer them exciting taster and experience mornings. So on Friday, Year 2 pupils from St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Waterlooville ventured over to Oaklands to start their brand new topic on Kings and Queens.

I started off the morning by giving a presentation to the children. I wanted them to have a think about why anyone would want to be a king or a queen.

The general consensus was to be able to boss other people around. The pupils then had to think what a king or a queen might look like.

What followed was some frantic and detailed drawing to show crowns, capes and thrones.

The bulk of the session was run by the history club at Oaklands. This 30 strong group of Year 7 and Year 8 students meet regularly to complete projects and research time periods of their choosing. After going over to St Peter’s to deliver lessons to small groups last year they felt that they were ready to invite the Year 2 students up to Oaklands. When they were told that they had to choose just six monarchs the history club debated at length as to which six to choose.

But they finally settled on Elizabeth II, Victoria, Charles I, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and King John. The Year 2 students had to circulate.

They spent 10 minutes at each station. While there they had to collect information about how long the monarch had ruled. And as part of it, they were tasked with giving a positive and negative aspect of their rule. They were helped along the way by activities and clips that had been sourced and created by members of the history club. When the session concluded the Year 2 students then had to choose the monarch that they felt was the most important.

They also had to give a reason why, a task that most of them could do.

All the students left with smiles on their faces.

The history club were very impressed with the ability and focus of the Year 2s who were enthusiastic and keen to learn. We think it went very well and we hope that more cross-phase activities like this will allow students to learn from each other in a situation that is more relaxed than a classroom environment.

What the pupils say...

Elise Sissons, 12, Year 8

‘I love working with younger children, they are fun and you can learn a lot by looking after them. I also love the fact that you can help them and be there for them to share your knowledge and help them to learn. I really enjoyed teaching them all about kings and queens.’

Joshua Masson, seven, Year 2

‘I had a good time learning about the kings and queens.

‘My favourite was learning about Queen Elizabeth I and why she won against the Spanish Armada.

‘The Year 8s made the learning fun. I want to learn more about Henry VIII now and why he had six wives.’

Kieran Doswell, 12, Year 8

‘History is one of my favourite subjects at school and I was keen to work with the younger children to show them how much fun it can be.

‘When I was in primary school we didn’t do much history and so I wanted them to look forward to coming up to secondary school.’

Max Twinham, 12, Year 8

‘I enjoy working with the Year 2s because it gives them knowledge that will give them a real head start when they encounter some topics in the future.

‘Another big reason is just that they are always so enthusiastic and eager to learn.’

Lauren Pragnell, 12, Year 8

‘I love history club and have enjoyed the activities that we have done this year. I wanted to pass on some of the fun we have learning about history to the Year 2s. History can be fun and it is good for them to learn outside of their classroom because then they will remember the information.’

Former MP is a guest as part of celebrations

Ann Widdecombe, former MP, star of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, author and TV panellist, was the guest of honour at Oaklands Catholic School prize giving ceremony, writes headteacher Matthew Quinn.

The school hall was packed full of staff, former students, parents and guests to celebrate the school’s examination success at A-level and GCSE.

The evening started with a short address from myself.

I made reference to the outstanding performance of students, particularly at A-level and GCSE.

I also talked about the considerable success of students in raising money to support schools in Kenya and the passion students displayed for extra-curricular activities.

The highlight of the evening was the address given by Miss Widdecombe who stepped down from being an MP in 2012.

During a motivating speech, she talked about what she had learned during her career.

She went on to give the students some advice using as an analogy the advice her father had given to her when she was learning to drive; in addition to watching out for your own mistakes, ensure you watch out for other people’s!

At the end of the evening Miss Widdecombe stayed and chatted with students and staff.

During the ceremony, students and guests were entertained with excerpts from the next school production, Oklahoma and a dance display.

It was a fantastic evening. I was delighted to secure someone with the gravity of Ann Widdecombe.

With so many students achieving so well it was fitting to have someone of Ann’s calibre. She is a fantastic supporter of Catholic education and has a great story to tell. I am very appreciative.