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