Year 5 have travelled back in time to 1889 in their History lessons this week. T3 was transformed into a Victorian classroom, with desks in rows, slates to write on and no electricity. When the children arrived , they were instructed to line up in two lines outside of the classroom - one boys, one girls. The classroom was also split into boy and girl rows. ‘Miss’ read out the rules of the classroom, which included waiting for permission to speak, not asking questions, standing when a teacher entered the room and worst of all for some - using your right hand at all times for writing.
The lesson started after a hands inspection, which some children failed. ‘Miss’ read a poem about everyone having to do their best and the day started with handwriting practice, copying a very important sentence ‘Children should be seen and not heard’. Then it was on to maths, reciting the 7 times table and then writing it out on slates. Bible reading followed, with each child having to write down a fact they’d learnt. This lesson ended with the Lord’s Prayer. The History lesson was all about Queen Victoria’s life so far, reciting and memorising dates, as well as celebrating the power and importance of the British Empire. The day ended with the class standing to sing the National Anthem.
During the lesson, Mrs La Farge came in to do an inspection and was shocked at the state of some of the children’s fingernails, as well as their inability to stand up straight. Many children had to be punished by standing in the corner wearing the dunce’s hat, for poor and slow work. Others were punished for bad behaviour with a ruler on the hand and one or two were even caned! Much to some children’s disappointment, these were acted out, rather than the real thing...
When Ms Atkins returned to being ‘herself’ again, the class were able to finally relax and feedback on what the experience was like. Some comments included: ‘I was really scared of you!’, ‘It definitely had a Victorian feel to it’, ‘It was really fun because we’ve never done it before’, ‘The work was really boring’, ‘The handwriting was really difficult’, ‘I can’t believe that the teachers were that mean’, ‘I was really intimidated by you’, ‘I liked wearing the dunce’s hat’, ‘It was really hard writing with my right hand’, ‘I loved it!’. Although it was quite scary, everyone thoroughly enjoyed having a taste of what Victorian school was like. Luckily though, it was just for one day!