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Huntcliff School History Brings our Past Alive

“Students at Huntcliff are really fun to work with,” says Miss Hannah Mohon. “They are so interested, creative and enthusiastic.” Hannah shares history teaching at

Huntcliff School with Head of Department, Mr Richard Allan and recent recruit, Mrs Becky Alderson. “Our aim is to bring history to life and to work closely with the community to achieve this,” she says. Their success is shown by the buzz that comes from lessons, the fact that seventy per cent of pupils choose to take the subject for GCSE and the keenness of local residents to get involved. Hannah has been particularly

pleased about the impact that the Timeline project has had in 2009-2010. She wanted the children to understand the length of different historical periods and the display of events from 1000 AD to 2009 includes other school subjects, Saltburn events and Chinese history, reflecting Huntcliff’s developing links with a school in Bao Ding. “We were very grateful to members of Saltburn Photographic Society who came and took pictures of the Timeline before the plastic cover was put on, so we have wonderful resources to use in class as well as being able to welcome older Primary School children to visit the Timeline as part of transition work,” says Hannah. She is full of enthusiasm for the school visits the

Hannah at Beamish

history. Hannah hopes to involve members of the community in this. “Last term, we worked with

Sa l tb ur n Communi t y Ar t s Association to celebrate the Community Centre centenary,” explains Hannah. Fol lowing research, students chose the most significant twenty events in the last hundred years and wrote about them to create a leaflet. “SCAA will choose eight of these and create an art feature to celebrate the centenary.” Hannah is pleased with the

development of four panels, measuring four feet by eight feet, now displayed in the school hall. “Each one shows a different century of Saltburn life: smuggling in the 1700s, Victorians in the 1800s,

World War Two and beach car racing in the 1900s and surfing in this century. Lots of community groups are represented on the final panel.” In the school library, a splendid mosaic of Henry

Pease created with Saltburn Forward is displayed. The organisation asked pupils to think about signage for important features of Saltburn. The mosaic and other resources have become a valued permanent school feature. Hannah adds: “I must also pay tribute to the

History Department organises. She and Becky are planning to take Year 8 children to Ypres in the summer, where they will see how close the German and British trenches in World War I were and the vastness of the graveyards. This will be followed up by a presentation to a November school assembly and possibly a community event, showing what they’ve learnt. “The two minutes’ silence will then mean much more to them,” explains Hannah. Each year, visits are made to Arbeia Roman Fort with Year 7 and to Fountains Abbey with Year 8, some of whom also go to Beamish Museum. Year 9 pupils visit Eden Camp. Lessons in school often involve handling artefacts

from the past. Reconstructed Norman helmets and real World War Two ones are handed round and tried on. A Roman soldier from the Re-enactment Society is invited to talk to Year 7 annually. Hannah and Richard are constantly building on initiatives that have worked, as these have a lasting legacy. At Parents’ Evenings, parents say: “History was never like this in our day!” Hannah strives to work closely with the local

community, as she wants children to understand local as well as national and international history. For the Saltburn 150 celebrations, the History Department is creating postcards contrasting pictures of the town from the past with modern photos taken by students. Next summer, working with the librarian, students will produce a special edition of the school newsletter themed on the town’s

contributions made by Rex Chester and Cath and Tony Lynn who have fascinated pupils by their talks about World War II. Cath and Tony are always inspiring and we appreciate their regular visits.” As a school governor, I remember being invited to a

wonderful exhibition of Huntcliff School history work at Kirkleatham Museum. “Yes,” says Hannah, “we responded to a generous offer of display space. Huntcliff Art Department produced a backdrop upon which we mounted schoolwork on the Romans. Jefficus, the Roman soldier from the Re-enactment Society performed and an ICT software company allowed us to use Roman computer games. Kar2touche, a gladiator clip art package, was also popular.” Hannah is enthusiastic about the opportunities that

ICT provides. As well as five computers in her classroom for research, she has an interactive whiteboard and can show quick videoclips, items from Pathe news and invite pupils to annotate information on the board. Hannah has a Master’s degree in ICT, so is very proficient in its use. Hannah took a History degree at Teesside

University and has a second Master’s degree in Action Research. She is pleased when students decide to take History at A level or even a degree, but that’s not the main point of her teaching: “I aim to ignite a love of history in every child that

stays with them for life,” she says. Rosemary Nicholls PDF Created with deskPDF PDF Writer - Trial :: 35

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