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Year 6 enjoy a trip to Hastings

Posted: 4th July 2014 | Category: Year 6

Thursday 19th June saw the departure of Year 6 on our visit to Battle Abbey and the site of The Battle of Hastings, for a morning of fieldwork as an extension to our studies in History.

This term we have been learning about the events leading up to 1066 and the final victory of William of Normandy, in what is possibly the most significant and iconic battle fought in our history on English soil.

Beforehand, due to their local knowledge, the pupils reminded me it was not exactly a trip to Hastings itself (I think there was an expectation of a quick visit to the Amusements next to the sea afterwards and a few quid spent in some overpriced Visitors’ Centre!), but they accepted my response readily that it was not called ‘The Battle of Hastings’ for nothing!

The journey down passed by and soon, dipping down over the ridge like The Saxons, we found ourselves ushered through the entrance. Mr. Sun was shining brightly upon us in the sky.

English Heritage is a brilliant organisation; not only do they respect the need of our young ‘Anglo-Saxons’ to know their heritage, but the trip was ‘free’ for school groups. Their commitment extended to me being able to make a pre-visit to the site where I was able to plan and devise an appropriate questionnaire. This proved extremely popular as we visited the displays in the Abbey Gatehouse, and most groups finally discovered what the ‘Garderobe’ was (a Garderobe is a medieval toilet!).....much shock and surprise here, if nothing else, if you fell in and dropped down....perish the thought!

The Visitors Centre was complete with replica armour and I was becoming impressed with our pupils’ diligence in focusing on their task, with their questionnaire orientating them to the facts/information I wanted them to find.

A small cinema ran an excellent looped, 10 minute reconstruction of events in 1066 to which the children remained riveted. I remember thinking....’They really know ‘their stuff’’ as they came out discussing with each other the relative merits of the claimants to the throne in 1066.

On our way out, we took a short break for a snack, or not so short as there appeared to be some three-course ‘Snackeens’. Also my best bit, the much needed boost of Caffeine, courtesy of Mrs. S and Mrs.N!.......and then down to the Battlefield itself! Or is it? some were saying, in the light of recent research.

The glorious sunshine made a really worthwhile walk around, with the pupils totally focused on their coursework in the best classroom I can offer them as a Historian. They duly responded in kind and left me feeling fully satisfied as their teacher that they had made the most of our short trip. We finished off by standing on the spot where history has it that Harold Godwinson was shot in the eye and died, and the final scary wall walk back to the van in the car park.

We dashed back to school, getting back just in time for lunch. I reflected that it was a short and I hope, enjoyable trip for the pupils. However I was astounded a few days later with the quality of the pupil responses on the topic in class which for me, if not the pupils, made it all the more worthwhile. I boast a talent in asking parents to support me on trips, and again I was delighted with the company of Mrs.S, Mrs.N and Mr.M. Mr. M proved particularly good value and a good sport  in taking ‘one in the eye’ at the location of The Saxon Shield Wall, and I thank them all for their excellent company and humour. I really enjoyed the trip.  

Mr Attwood-Bloomfield

View photos of the trip.

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