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Swinging 60's at Sherbourne Fields Special School

As always, June brings the exam season, the pressures of revision and the worries over next year… but it also brings the Sherbourne Fields History Project and the chance for some our Year 9 students to shine in a new setting and make new friends.

Faced with the challenge of working with Key Stage 3 students at Sherbourne, who have a range of needs, our team of students worked tirelessly to help, entertain and learn with them. The Project is always a challenge and a fun way of learning about history, whilst taking responsibility for other young people. Like every other group to have been through this project, the class of 2016 found that it has provided them with lasting memories. For Isha Patel it was a great opportunity to find hidden talents; “Working with the students at Sherbourne made me realise how lucky I am.” and it made me appreciate the abilities I have”.

Learning at Sherbourne has to be very sensory. This made the 1960s an excellent theme, enabling us to go over the top with our costumes, music, food, dance and fashions. It also helped us to recognise the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy and Sherbourne Fields Schools, both of which opened in 1966. After 2 weeks of preparations, we started with a story - telling session which focussed on 4 iconic themes of the 1960s; the assassination of JFK, the moon landing, Beatlemania and sporting triumphs like the 1966 World Cup!

We were able to develop these themes later using the “Green Screen” to put ourselves in the middle of the action.

Back in the early 1960s it seemed there was a new dance craze coming out of America almost every week. These famously included the Twist and the Locomotion, but can anyone recall the Turkey Trot, or the Wah-tuhsie, or the mashed potato? We did them all, demonstrating to the Sherbourne students who joined in. We also held a fashion show, modelling our carefully prepared costumes down a catwalk.

The 60s were also a really creative time, not just in music and dance but in fashion and the art world. We had a really fun time working on our own 60s designs on Thursday morning. This included making rockets as we remembered our first steps on the moon. This gave us a real opportunity to pair up with Sherbourne students and see for ourselves how they learn.

There was also an opportunity for us to go off in search of pictures of famous people of the 1960s in an event known as the Pickles Challenge, named after the dog who found the stolen World Cup trophy. It was hard work finding the pictures during a torrential downpour which flooded 6 classrooms, but we persevered and managed to find and each one and match it to the correct name.

The last morning was spent preparing food for our picnic in the afternoon. The 60s were not renowned for their great cuisine, but dishes like cheese straws and celery, dipped in cheese, washed down with cream soda and ice cream were the perfect way to end a truly memorable week and the usual awards ceremony.

To Ce-ce Ryan, the week was a really important part of her own education; “This experience was great! The kids were lovable and surely unforgettable. I hope many others can have this opportunity in the future.” It was difficult for the    group to leave at the end of the week having had so much fun whilst learning in a completely new way. Shifah Khan claimed “This was truly an amazing experience, these children and taught me to value life and not take it for granted. I also enjoyed working and learning with the children”.

They think it’s all over? It is for now, but we’ll be back with another great History Project next year.

The History Department would like to thank the 17 students who helped to staff the project this year:

Caide Samra, Ayodola Ayorinde, Dante Azaka, Shifah Khan, Sabah Rehman, Zohaib Malik, Nathan Moss, Leah Willock, Robert Rhodes, Sam Isong, Reyna Sandhar, Ce-ce Ryan, Isha Patel, Giuliano Brown, Toni Harland, Paige Lees and Chloe Webb

The week did not end without us replaying the famous World Cup final of 1966.