Exploring four decades of history

It is important to celebrate a 40th birthday with a memorable event. We wanted our pupils to have some understanding of the changes that have happened over the past 40 years, so we planned a range of learning experiences, culminating in an open day for parents and people associated with the school, and an exhibition called Life in the Last 40 Years.

The teachers were incredibly creative in their different approaches.

Reception children focused on the year 2000, since that was when they were born. They looked at baby pictures, painted themselves and worked on family trees.

Year 1 made clay models of the characters in the Magic Roundabout, and engaged in a technology project making houses from the 1960s. They thought about wallpaper, furniture and the other details to ensure these were accurate.

Year 2 produced pop art and learnt about Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission. At the open day, they dressed up as astronauts and answered guests' questions about this important event.

Key stage 2 children researched subjects such as music, fashion, toys, games and technological changes. They were fascinated by old record covers and a pair of platform shoes lent to us by our cook. Year 3 produced wonderful self-portraits inspired by Roy Lichtenstein. Parents provided artefacts and other treasures to bring this project to life.

A local journalist talked to Year 6 about her work and helped prepare them for their role as reporters during the open day. The pupils worked through old school log books and enjoyed interviewing visitors, staff and children.

Other pupils worked as photographers.

The Year 6 pupils, with the help of Year 9 students from a local school, put all of this together as a newspaper and it was printed by a parent. It really was a fabulous learning experience for all of us.

Cathy Hamilton

Headteacher, Wansdyke Primary School, Whitchurch, Bristol

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