Year 7 History Trip to Sawley Abbey and Clitheroe Castle

Earlier this term, over the course of two days, all of our year 7 students had the opportunity to spend the day visiting two impressive historical sites located in our area. In the morning, students visited Sawley Abbey, which has been ruined since its dissolution under Henry VIII in 1536. The monastery was founded in the 12th century and students conducted a full site survey, discovering the location and function of each of the rooms. This complemented the students’ classroom study of monastic life during the Middle Ages. The students were then treated to a play in the grounds of the abbey, performed by our students, which charted the significant moments in the monastery’s history., This included its founding in 1149, the arrival of the Black Death in 1348 and its eventual dissolution. Using props and costumes, the students gave a lively and entertaining performance!

In the afternoon, the students made the short journey to Clitheroe Castle. Here, they were divided into groups and attended four workshops on castles and castle life, led by the museum staff. The students participated in medieval games such as quoits (a primitive version of badminton) and a medieval board game. They enjoyed an engaging practical demonstration from a blacksmith who quickly made a nail and an arrowhead. In the keep was a very memorable talk by a knight in armour, who allowed the students to wear medieval helmets and wield swords. The final workshop was led by a cook who showed the students the duties of a castle servant and the different types of food that the lord of the castle would have eaten. The finale of the day was a fight between two knights in different types of armour and the blasting of the castle cannon.  The students had a fantastic time learning about medieval history in both Sawley and Clitheroe and conducted themselves superbly during the trip. I would like to thank the staff who volunteered to help supervise the students on the trip and become honorary members of the history department for the day! 

Mr Herbert

Curriculum Leader for the History Department

Year 9 Mock Trial Competition

As part of the mock trial that year 9 students participated in earlier this term, Heather and Maisie submitted entries to the Court Reporter and Court Artist competition. Heather has written a fantastic piece using the trial as a means to explore the issues of appropriate online behaviour and culpability for crimes committed on the internet. Maisie contributed by completing a superb sketch of a key moment of the trial and the prosecution’s examination of key witnesses. Here is the article along with the artwork.

Mr Herbert

Curriculum Leader for History

History Haiku Challenge 2022

May has seen the History Department hold the ‘History Haiku Challenge’. Students from across Years 7, 8 and 9 were all invited to submit a haiku inspired by one of the topics they have studied in History since September.

We were flooded with entries and it was a very difficult job judging who the three winners from each year group would be. Thank you to everyone who entered and well done to the following students:

Year 7:

William Wallace

A hero to all the Scots

Hanged drawn and quartered                    

Lauren B (7RSN)


The monastery 

Many monks live peacefully 

Rules of Benedict                                          

Keonie B (7GFO)


They are changing us

Normans forcing us to build

Their castles of wood                                    

Sian K (7GFO)


Year 8:

Expanding westwards

Native people forced to change

Unable to hunt                                               

Phoebe B (8RFR)


Lincoln v Davis

Loyalty will be tested

A fight for freedom                                     

Hattie C (8EHO)


On the Pendle Hill

Women wrongfully murdered

False claims of magic                                  

Eden F (8NRH)


Year 9:

Waiting in the lines

Trapped by the German forces

But then came the boats                             

Lottie J (9RMV)


Called up to defend

Leaving behind family

When will I be home?                                  

Heather P (9SHS)


Dead man on the road

Let’s play a trick on Hitler

Fake news in dead hands                             

Olivia S (9SHS)

Mr Bretherton, Teacher of History

Year 9 Smart Law Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition

On Friday 29th April, a team of year 9 students competed in the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition run by Smart Law, a programme organised by Young Citizens. The competition was the result of weeks of preparation by the students who took on the all the roles of the court: magistrates, lawyers, witnesses, court adviser and usher. The defendant in the case was accused of setting up a fake Instagram account, using it to post derogatory images and messages about the claimant. In the lead up to the competition there were some lively lunch time debates regarding the guilt of the defendant and the credibility of the witnesses and their statements. PGHS competed against five other North West schools in the virtual trial, with each student performance given a score out of ten by the judges.

PGHS competed against five other North West schools in the virtual trial, with each student performance given a score out of ten by the judges. In both rounds of the competition the students performed superbly, however the team narrowly missed out on lifting the trophy by just one point!

In both rounds of the competition the students performed superbly, however, the team narrowly missed out on lifting the trophy by just one point! The students represented the school exceptionally well and quickly adapted to the virtual format, and the inevitable technical issues. As part of their preparations for the competition, the team were provided with expert coaching from Jack Troup, a Barrister working at the 15 Winckley Square Chambers. The students were provided with an opportunity to question the judges on how to pursue a career in law. The team are now looking forward to competing in the Bar Mock Trials next year and have their sights on victory!

Mr Herbert

Curriculum Leader for History

Holocause Exhibition and Learning Centre

On Wednesday, 2nd March, forty Year 9 students travelled to the University of Huddersfield and attended a workshop at the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre. 

Year 9 have been studying the Holocaust over recent weeks, discussing why and how the Holocaust happened. The University’s workshop gave us the opportunity to deepen our understanding and engage with some new and challenging ideas. Specifically, Year 9 considered the difficulties that can be encountered when ascribing the roles of Victim, Perpetrator, Collaborator and Bystander to figures in this period. We also spent time discussing the objects and displays in the exhibition and ended the day with a tour of the university campus.

University staff were keen to state afterwards just how impressed they were with our students. Their depth of understanding, knowledge and sensitivity was clear throughout the day. Mr Herbert, Mr Ramsdale, Miss Todd and myself were exceptionally proud of Year 9 and the manner in which they represented our school. It is clear that the year group contains a fine bunch of historians!

Mr Bretherton

Teacher of History

Year 7 Hereward the Wake Project

As part of their study of William I’s conquest of England in 1066, year 7 students have been learning about Anglo-Saxon resistance led by legendary rebel Hereward the Wake. In lessons students discovered the causes of Hereward’s rebellion against William in 1070 and the exciting story of how he was eventually betrayed by monks from a local monastery, surrounded by Norman knights and killed in dramatic fashion in the Fens. Students were given the homework task to create models, poems and artwork representing Hereward’s epic resistance against William the Conqueror. Here is a selection of some of the best submissions, including a Hereward the Wake.

Mr Herbert, Curriculum Leader for History

Holocaust Memorial Day, Wednesday 26th January

Holocaust education features significantly in the history curriculum at PGHS. Students in Year 9 are currently studying in depth at how and why the holocaust happened, and as part of their unit on Germany 1919-1991, Year 11 students study the topic as part of their GCSE studies. Each year, the Holocaust Educational Trust host a live webcast with a survivor on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

This year, Eva Clarke gave a fascinating and articulate testimony of her experiences of the holocaust and how her family had been brutally persecuted by the Nazi regime. Eva was born at Mauthausen concentration camp at the end of the war and only survived due to the liberation of the camp by the US army in April 1945. If you would like to hear Eva Clarke speak about her experiences during the Holocaust, follow the link to her full Oxford Union address in 2019:

Assemblies this week have been on the theme of Holocaust education and remembrance, with students learning the story of the evacuation of 300 Jewish children from Eastern Europe to Windermere in 1945. The children were survivors of many camps and had been tragically orphaned during the war. They were flown to Britain to start a new life after the war, and spent their first few months in the Lake District. If you would like to know more about this miraculous story, you can watch a fascinating BBC documentary here:

Alternatively, there was a dramatisation of the experiences of the Windermere children released in 2020:

Mr Herbert, Curriculum Leader for History

Miss L Murgatroyd – ITT student joins the History Department

I have recently joined the fantastic History department here at Penwortham Girls’ High School and I am already impressed by the enthusiasm of the pupils due to the brilliant lessons that the teachers deliver here. While studying for my history degree at the University of Central Lancashire, I studied a range of different topics covering a plethora of different eras, countries and continents. It was at university that I was able to tailor my specialism towards British social history, particularly Britain in the 19th Century. Although I am absolutely fascinated by studying the lives of Kings and Queens, my main interest is the history of the ordinary person, looking at their day to day lives and how over time this has changed. My love of history started at a very small age by collecting weekly magazines about Egypt. It was from those stories within the magazines that my passion for history began to grow. Whilst studying at GCSE, I decided to travel to Poland and visit Auschwitz. It was here that I was able to see and feel the real impact that history can have on people and the importance of studying and remembering the past. This, along with the fantastic example set by my own history teachers, further inspired me to become a history teacher. In my spare time I can often be found exploring historical sites, both in Britain and abroad, to further enhance my historical understanding.  

Miss L Murgatroyd

Trainee Teacher (History Department)

Remembrance Events

Penwortham War Memorial

Last week, students from Penwortham Girls’ High School took part in a number of Remembrance events. The Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl, Carla and Eva, laid wreaths at Penwortham War Memorial on behalf of the school on Armistice Day and on Remembrance Sunday. They also read the names of those soldiers from the local area who lost their lives during the First World War during the Remembrance Sunday service at the war memorial alongside students from Priory Academy and All Hallows Catholic High School. It was fantastic to see so many students from school at the event, whether they were representing other organisations such as the Scouts, or those who had come with their parents. The school charity council members have been raising money for the British Legion by selling poppies in school.  Assemblies this week have focussed on the range of Remembrance activities  that people from this country participate in, and the significance of the tomb of the unknown warrior in Westminster Abbey.

At 11am on Armistice Day a two-minute silence was observed by all in school.  This was followed by a recital of the Reveille by Mrs Little and a superb rendition of Abide with Me by the school brass band.

Caitlin J (Year 9) has been conducting research on the life of one of her great grandfathers, Joseph Anderson Macpheat, who fought during the First World War. Having studied photographs, documents and interviewed her grandfather, this is what she has found out: 

PTE 7799 Joseph Anderson Macpheat was only around 18 years old when he joined the army. Before then, he worked on a farm and his employer, the farmer, had to write a reference letter to show how able Joseph is to join the army. This is a photograph of the letter.

On the 14th January 1915, he joined the 10th Battalion (military unit in the army). On the 19th September 1918, a shell exploded and blew a piece of shrapnel into Joseph’s left arm. He was then left wounded on the battlefield from 5:30am on the 19th Sep till 9:00pm the following day (he was left lying there for nearly 40 hours). He was found by Canadians and taken back to his country. He was then officially discharged from the army on the 30th October 1918 (he served in the army for 3 years and 290 days).

During his time, he achieved multiple awards- 1914/1915 Star, War Medal, Peace Medal, Silver War Badge (SWB).

He died on the 16th February 1936, leaving his wife (Mary Munro Smith) and his son (Duncan Macpheat).

If you would like to know more about how to research records from the First World War or advice on how to research your family tree, please see any member of the History Department.

Mr Herbert, Curriculum Leader for History

Festival of Literature and Languages

As part of the Festival of Literature and Language, students in years 7 and 8 read two historical novels connected to the history curriculum. Year 7 students read ‘Winter of the Wolves’.  This is an exciting story set in 540AD which follows the life of Oslaf, a young Anglo-Saxon who struggles to build a new life after becoming orphaned at the age of 12. Oslaf eventually finds a new tribe who decide to make the hazardous journey across the North Sea to establish a new village in Anglo-Saxon England.

Year 8 students read ‘Forbidden Soldier’, which is set during the English Civil War. The main character, Hannah, falls in love with an apprentice cabinet maker, Matthew. However, Hannah’s strict Puritan father disapproves as he is a Roundhead and Matthew is a Cavalier! 

The festival provided a fantastic opportunity to read superb historical fiction and really enriched the students’ understanding of the topics they have been studying in lessons. Hopefully it has inspired students to read more historical fiction; there are some great books that students can borrow from the library and the history department.

As part of the festival, Year 9 students participated in a mock trial exploring the 1884 case of R v Dudley and Stephens. The defendants were accused of cannibalism after becoming shipwrecked in the Atlantic Ocean. After 19 days at sea, the captain, Thomas Dudley, convinced two other sailors to kill and eat 17 year old Richard Parker, who had been suffering from the effects of malnutrition and dehydration.

Three days later the crew were rescued and brought back to England. On their return they were charged and found guilty of murder, despite public opinion being sympathetic to the famished sailors. The students enjoyed learning about the case and the difference between moral and legal arguments, the importance of the use of evidence in criminal cases, and how to construct a convincing defence and prosecution. Hopefully, it will have inspired Year 9 students to investigate a career in law, as well as sparking an interest in the upcoming mock trial competition to be held in the new year.

Mr Herbert, Associate Assistant Headteacher

  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider
  • Arts Council England - Artsmark Gold
  • Lancashire Socio-economic Equality Badge
  • School Mental Health Award
  • Ofsted - Outstanding Provider