Year 8 have been informed, educated and entertained this week on two separate themes: London and the background to WW1. London walks, led by official guides, explored the Famous Square Mile, Tower Bridge and the greener spaces of Southwark. The boys were introduced to the engineering behind the bridges, roadways and sewers. Told about Dickens’ life in the blacking factory and his father’s penury in the Marshalsea Prison and shown the iconic Bank of England.
In the afternoon students visited the National Gallery or Tate Modern for a cultural taste of what is on offer there for free over the summer holiday. Despite the heat the boys were enthusiastic, inquisitive and resilient.
In school on Wednesday they attended three sessions all aimed at developing their awareness of the centenary of the Great War. They watched a theatre company perform a short play, ‘Back to Blighty’ which explored the different experiences of working class men and women and the aristocracy in 1914. Then they all took part in small, short workshops that focussed on key themes: the role of women; General Haig’s motivational speech, the rival nations and plight of the soldiers with shell shock. There was a poetry workshop that interrogated ‘Dulce et Decrum Est’ followed by a sonnet writing competition. In the last workshop the boys explored propaganda and created their own poster using a Cambridge University website and the new tablet computers.
The theatre company actors were highly complimentary about the boys’ enthusiasm, behaviour and intelligence. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable day.