Durrington High School

Going beyond our best

Year 8 students explore the Tower of London

Over the course of two trips, 60 year 8 students visited the Tower of London this month, a fantastic opportunity for them to take their learning outside of the classroom. The Tower of London is a place of great historic importance and offers the students a multitude of ways to contextualise their history studies.

As well as seeing all the main attractions at the tower the students took part in an engaging and informative workshop focused on WW1 espionage, which they have been studying in year 8. The session focussed on the true story of Hans Lody, a German spy who was executed at the Tower of London in 1914. The students took part in a mock trial playing the various parts, and the jury unanimously decided to execute. However, there were then given the letters Hans had written to his family and to the prison guards, which showed him as a courageous and dignified man.  The students were also presented with the moral dilemma surrounding the memory of Hans, as when the Nazis came to power he was declared a national hero, having died for his country. But following WW2 the people in his home town of Nordhaussen wanted to remove the memorials to him as they were ashamed. The workshop gave the students a really in-depth look at this story and the complexities and dangers surrounding WW2 espionage.

The students really enjoyed seeing the Crown Jewels and were amazed at how sparkly they were and just how much gold they contained, a great example of how experiencing something in real life can make an impact and compliment the learning in the classroom. Students also visited the white tower where they played interactive games testing their abilities to use medieval weaponry. They particularly enjoyed ‘firing’ the cannon and arrows.

Thanks to student Lucas Burridge whose uncle works at the Tower as a Beefeater, the students were lucky enough to meet and speak with him and try on his hat which they very much enjoyed. They also saw the religious prisoners’ graffiti, King Edwards medieval palaces, the memorial where the execution of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey took place and the discovery site of the lost princes. All of which were very relevant to their year 7 study of the monarchs.

It was a fantastic opportunity for the students and they had a great day. Emily Hitchcock, humanities teacher who organised the trip said, ‘The Tower of London is an amazing place, there is so much to see and learn about and it really helps our students deepen their learning from both year 7 and year 8 as the tower holds such historical significance.’

Many thanks to Emily, Bethany Clarke and Georgina Eastment for facilitating such an important and exciting trip for our students.

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