Fitzalan High School – First World War Commemoration Day and Trench Experience
This project is part of the Welsh Government’s Remembering the First World War – £1000 grant for secondary schools in Wales scheme. Every secondary school in Wales has the opportunity to apply to receive up to £1,000 to develop creative and innovative projects to commemorate the First World War. For more information and guidance on how to apply, click here.
*All text has been provided by the school
Pupils were will be involved in reconstructing a life size trench in the school grounds that will act as a focus for the commemorations and a learning tool for years to come.
All KS3 pupils will also take part in a carousel of activities on a “Commemoration day.” (Proposed 10th July). These activities will be shared with feeder schools and possibly wider community.
With the assistance of ‘History Needs You’, the history department designed and constructed a replica First World War trench. The structure is permanent and will remain a teaching resource for Fitzalan pupils and pupils of other schools for the duration of the centenary commemorations. The trench is also a focus for remembrance. Artefacts such as uniforms, replica rifles and gas masks were purchased to enhance the pupil’s experience of the trench.
The first use for the completed trench was on the 10th July 2014 when all of Key Stage 3 were involved in a First World War Centenary Day. Every department across the school created activities that were related to the First World War such as the music department doing First World War era music, the art department made tissue paper poppies, maths made large infographics of the casualty statistics and the Modern Foreign Languages department made postcards from the front in French. The design technology department made small poppy crosses, each inscribed with the name of a local person that died in the First World War. The First World War Centenary Day included two assemblies (one at the beginning and a more reflective one at the end) and throughout the day every pupil visited the replica trench and a ‘Tommy’ re-enactor.
The trench project and the First World War Centenary Day were a huge success and there was a real sense that pupils had gained a deeper understanding of the First World War, its significance and in some way engaged with the issues of the First World War through experiencing the trench. The project will continue over the coming years with a possible extension to the trench, research into local First World War history and possibly trips to the real trenches and war graves in Belgium and France.