World War 2 History Project at Sherbourne Fields Special School
There was a welcome break from their studies for some of our Year 9s, who maintained the long established tradition of helping to staff a History project for Key Stage 3 pupils at Sherbourne Fields.
With little time to prepare and few resources to use, all of those involved rose to the challenge and made this a memorable week for both schools. This year we were tasked with reconstructing some of the themes and key events of the Second World War, with a particular emphasis on life on the Home Front.
Faced with the challenge of 35 students with 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.
The first challenge, as always, was to get ourselves into homemade period costume.
We had some amazing evacuated children, Land Army girls, Home Guards, prisoners of war and regular servicemen this year, creating an authentic backdrop to the war years.
Learning at Sherbourne has to be very sensory, which we tried to create through our activities. There was a range of story-telling, art work, sports, music and games to occupy each day and fire the imagination.
There was also a chance to use ICT using the “Green Screen” to put ourselves in the middle of the action.
We felt this was a way of getting the Sherbourne students to remember the events of the Blitz, the Great Escape, Evacuation, Dunkirk and the Home Guard, getting them to think about the issues affecting the people at the time.
The project brought the opportunity to connect with the lives of children in the 1940s. We covered the bravery and danger of living through the Blitz. Yet we did discover a lighter side of life, learning about the “spirit of the Blitz” through some of the songs and dances of the time. We also learnt about the restrictions of rationing, with the absence of any fast food other than fish and chips proving very concerning amongst students from both schools.
A particularly popular activity was the “code-breaking “challenge. To prevent a bombing taking place students had to discover images of the war which contained a scrambled message that had to be calculated back in their classrooms.
Another popular part of the project was the craft work. Students made some stunning images of the Coventry skyline during the Blitz and, with the help of Miss Phillips, produced their own Anderson shelters.
The President Kennedy School students maintained high spirits all week and were praised for their amazing care and understanding by all of the staff at Sherbourne Fields. This was proved on the final afternoon as we entertained Sherbourne with our very own concert party, with all of the entertainment acts provided by our students. We have some hugely talented comedians, singers, dancers and impersonators.
Rumanjeet and Rohan deserve a special mention for providing the biggest laugh of the afternoon! But everyone was a winner at the end of the project with Mr Finney handing out awards to all of those involved, before we had a special VE Day style banquet and said our final goodbyes.
A big thank you goes out to the following for their efforts and good humour which went into making the 2018 project such a success:
Ebony Flitcroft, Maylee Jeffs, Sinead Child, Rohan Dhadda, Mya Birdee, Lauren Penzer, Ellen Boakye, Spencer Fisk, Lucy Rafferty, Esha Gupta, Cassidy Woolaston, Cameron Scullion, Aliza Hussain, Nikola Pawlos, Riadeep Dhillon, Zac Adams, Ojasvi Nag and Rumanjeet Sandhu