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Sixth Form students enjoy two action-packed days of History

25 February 2020  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in: ,

The History department took 34 sixth form students to London for two ‘action-packed’ days. The students took part in a Chinese History conference, specifically for sixth formers, as well as visiting the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament.

The first day was spent at a conference for students studying Chinese History, 1949 to 1976.  The lectures were given by university lecturers on a range of relevant subjects including how far the economic policies of Mao were successful and the role of the youth in the Cultural Revolution.  The students were particularly engaged in the lectures given by Professor Yangwen Zheng from Manchester University, who illustrated her points by examples from her own family’s history.  She also encouraged the students to put their own ideas forward and our students gave very impressive and well-reasoned contributions.  The lectures were an excellent way for the students to consolidate their knowledge of the China part of the History course and experience university style learning.

The conference was in central London, which gave us the opportunity to explore the city further.  We managed to see most of the sights, spending time in Covent Garden and visiting Leicester Square, climbing on Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, seeing Downing Street, the London Eye and spending a very pleasant evening strolling along the south bank of the Thames, seeing the Globe and the Golden Hinde.  We also managed to navigate the tube network and experienced first-hand how busy it was during the rush hour.  It definitely gave us all a taste of living in a big city. We stayed overnight at the YHA in the Docklands area, which was very pleasant and gave us excellent views of Canary Wharf.

Our second day began with a very exciting visit to the Houses of Parliament.  We managed to bump into Jacob Rees Mogg at the entrance to Parliament as he wished us all a good morning.  The visit started properly at the education centre with an interactive video on the history of Parliament.  We then were taken into the House of Commons and Lords and the workings of both chambers were explained to us.  The students demonstrated an excellent understanding of politics and current affairs and the guides were very impressed with their knowledge. It was an excellent opportunity to see first-hand how our democracy works and to see for ourselves what happens there.  Our tour ended in Westminster Hall, which is the oldest part of the building and part of the original Palace of Westminster, where kings lived until Henry VIII’s time.  We were due to meet with our local MP Rishi Sunak and have a question and answer session with him but unfortunately he was called away for a meeting with the Prime Minister at number 10, so hopefully we will be able to rearrange it soon.

Our final visit was to the Tower of London, which enhanced the students understanding of the Tudor part of the History course.  We explored the castle, looking at sights such as, the place where Anne Boleyn and many other famous prisoners were executed, the crown jewels and the White Tower.  The students were particularly fascinated by the armour and weapons in the Tower and then enjoyed exploring further for themselves.

The visit to London was a great experience for the students to enhance their understanding of the History course and learn in different environments.  It was also a brilliant opportunity to explore London and see different places and have different experiences.  The students were impeccably behaved and were definitely a credit to themselves and the school.  It was a pleasure to take such polite and thoughtful young people and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time away.

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