Williamstown Primary School – Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative: “Drawn to the Past”

School name: Williamstown Primary School

Name of lead person: Mrs Alison Hall

Role of lead person: Headteacher

Lead person e-mail address: Alison.Hall@rctcbc.gov.uk

Lead person telephone number: 01443 432186

Local Authority: Rhondda Cynon Taf

Phase:Foundation Phase to key stage 2

Context and background to case study:

Our project was developed as a whole school entry for the John Hopla Society history awards and WHSI. It was art/history based, using artwork relating to local history as an inspiration and stimulus for historical enquiry. Pupils and their families in all classes from Nursery to Year 6, including our two local authority provision classes, were invited to create a piece of artwork on a historical theme: a building, statue, person, place, scene or artefact.

This artwork was then used as a starting point for research and study.

Pupils drew, painted and constructed pictorial/model representations of places and artefacts focussing on their locality. Many pieces were linked to personal family experiences. Artwork and artefacts were displayed in the foyer for an ‘open week’. Families, governors and community were invited to visit.

The project gave us a greater awareness of local landmarks, national and global events, and how they were interlinked. It also made us aware of how our past has shaped our environment, its people and daily lives.

Nature of strategy or activity:

All displays were created and initiated by pupils. Pupils produced 2D and 3D display boards from a variety of media: sketches, paintings, pastel pictures, collages, models, a photographic slideshow, QR codes, PowerPoint presentation, written reports, interviews and accounts from class visits to the locality and from local experts. Exhibits incorporated primary and secondary sources from family members, artefacts and a time line of local, national and global events related to the artwork used as stimulus and topics studied. All pupils gave an oral presentation based on an aspect of their locality. These presentations were peer marked according to age appropriate success criteria.

Questions were devised by pupils and used as a stimulus and focus of research. A variety of evidence was used, from primary and secondary sources, including visits to the Heritage Park and Aberfan memorial garden and cemetery, talks from elderly former school pupils and senior church members.

Children studied websites, Rhondda library resources, documents, pieces of art including statues and first-hand accounts.

Skills developed at an age appropriate level in: chronological awareness including using a timeline to sequence events; historical knowledge and understanding including differences in way of life and significant people and events; interpretation of history including ways in which the past is represented and interpreted in different ways; historical enquiry including asking and answering relevant questions and planning an investigation; organising and communicating including selecting, recording and organising historical information and communicating ideas in a variety of ways such as extended writing, ICT, visual/oral presentations.

Impact on provision, teaching and learning and/or leadership:

Pupils learnt about aspects of daily life for children and adults spanning a period of 200 years. They discovered how lives were impacted upon and shaped by our history, geology, community and humanity. They understood the link between significant people, events and buildings within their locality within a local, national and global context.

It was an excellent opportunity to develop cross curricular links through a meaningful, rich task which involved every pupil and the wider school community.

Projects were pupil led and well-suited to group work and all abilities.

Pupils formed a real empathy and respect for ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ individuals and places which were involved in life shaping events for the people and culture of Wales.

Where is the effective practice recognised?

Our previous Challenge Advisor Mrs Chris Tuff and Mr David Maddox

Evidence in WHSI awards booklet for 2017