Year 7 Hastings History TripPosted on: 06/10/2022
On Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th of October, our Year 7 students had the opportunity to experience History beyond the classroom. As it is the case in many secondary schools nationwide, our Year 7 History Curriculum starts with the topic recommended by the National Curriculum, i.e. the Norman Invasion of England (1066).
Our students commence their studies of this topic with the reign of Edward the Confessor and learn about the claimants to the English throne following his death. Year 7 students quickly learn to appreciate the arguments proposed by each of the claimants, i.e. Harold Godwinson, Harald Hardrada and William Duke of Normandy. They learn about the early military campaigns and the Battle of Stamford Bridge, which marks the defeat of the Viking invaders. However, where the story line gets really fascinating is what follows on from this victory achieved by Harold Godwinson.
On 27th September 1066, William Duke of Normandy arrives to the shores of England to claim the throne he believes to be rightfully his. William lands at Pevensey Castle, the first destination of our Year 7 students. With the expert guidance of the staff of the History Department, our students learnt a lot about this landing and the significance of this site for the ultimate victory of the Normans. Students also had the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of medieval castles and their strategic position for the Norman Conquest. We visited dungeons, explored the depths of wells and counted cannon balls; students even had the chance to explore the Roman Wall that surrounds this medieval castle from the curtain towers of Pevensey Castle.
The next stop in our itinerary was Battle Abbey, the site where the Battle of Hastings took place on 14th October 1066 between the invading Norman troops and the defending Saxon army. Our students watched a fascinating summary of the events narrated by prominent historians quoting original sources from the time. Then students tried on the armour of both Saxon and Norman soldiers. The next destination was the ridge on Senlac Hill. It was truly exhilarating to hear the ancient Saxon battle cry of ‘Tut! Tut! Tut! Tut!’ performed by our very own students echoing throughout this world-famous English Heritage site.
The highlight of the trip had to be the walk around the battlefield, re-enacting various key turning points of this momentous battle taking on the roles of Saxon or Norman warriors. Having completed our circuit around the battlefield we paused at the plaque which commemorates the death of Harold Godwinson and thus marks the end of the Anglo-Saxon era in our history. Students stood at this point and were told that this is where really our story begins; where the merger of the Saxon and Norman people started and the creation of the English nation began.
Our Year 7-9 KS3 History curriculum offered at Hatch End High School has therefore commenced with this most extraordinary and momentous experience and we remain confident that our students will treasure many fun memories of this educational visit.
We would wish to express our thanks to many people who made this trip possible. First of all, to Ms Maguire and Ms Dunford for their unwavering support; to all accompanying staff and to the members of the History Department for their expert guidance. A special thanks goes out to the Jack Petchey Foundation for contributing towards the expenses of this trip, which meant we could run free of charge for all our participating students.
Mrs Clark, Head of History Department