The Headteacher, Jan Fleming, and Esther Ternan, History Geography Co-ordinator have both put a lot of effort in behind the scenes and without the school’s support and hard work, it’s unlikely this project would have happened. Esther and Sharon Court, the Project Leader spent quite a lot of time in the months before the project launched, preparing and researching the materials and resources that would be needed to make this happen, including a detailed scheme of work.
But the big breakthrough came with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has enabled all that hard work and preparation to really take off!
The whole school from Reception right up to Year 6 participated in the project, which was deliberately planned to compliment the school’s existing curriculum planning. The topic of Somerstown Stories enabled the children to develop their literacy and numeracy skills as well as developing skills and understanding in history, geography, science, technology, and art.
During the first week, the children explored their own personal timeline using photographs and memories of their own experiences, to understand the passage of time. Then, in Week 2 went on to consider the stories and experiences of other people older than themselves, who had lived in the area for a while. We were grateful to have the Grandmother of one of the staff and the Chair of Governors, himself a former pupil, to come and share their memories and photos with the children.
In the 3rd week, some of the children spent time looking at archive maps of the area, dated 2010, 1952, 1933 and 1870. The map from 1952 showed the children an area before their school was even built. A Somerstown without Winston Churchill Avenue, or the familiar tower blocks. The children also looked at photos of the area and were surprised at how much had changed, and how much hadn’t!
Click on the images below to enlarge them and read additional information about the activities
In the 4th week children across the school continued to explore maps, photographs and also to think about the various shops & businesses there used to be in the area. Year 5 & 6 were especially fortunate as they were able to take part in Somers Road Study Day, which was planned and led by Year 9 students from the City of Portsmouth Girls School. The girls came from the Gifted & Talented History group and worked in three’s to devise and carry out a variety of activities. These activities included walking around Somers Road and taking photographs of the area, comparing those contemporary images with archive materials and then re-constructing a map of the area to assess what had changed. The students and children also made a visit to the Omega Centre, which is behind Somers Park Primary School, and which used to house the local infant & junior schools before the war. There they heard from Jan Dod, a local resident who had worked at Omega Centre as a student teacher.
Meanwhile, children in Years 3 & 4 were enjoying excerpts from The Goon Show and The Children’s Hour as well as watching clips from British Pathe newsreels and finding out more about what children did for fun!
The school project culminated in a reconstruction of some of the former shops and traders from Somers Road, and each class took on a particular theme, complete with goods to sell. There was Sweet Shop, a Post Office, a Butchers (most popular, as this class ran a barbeque!) as well as a Tailors, a Clockmakers and much more. The News, our local newspaper, printed a report on the event, which attracted over 150 parents and carers. The article can be read here: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/lifestyle/tn2-saturday/a-weekend-with/colourful_history_of_a_community_celebrated_1_3227477