Last Tuesday, the Year 7 class set off early to Scaplen’s Court in Poole to be fully immersed in Victorian times. Stepping into the shoes of workhouse children sent to work in the home of a rich family, they were all given specific tasks to carry out in the scullery by the very harsh and grumpy Mrs Jelly. Students had to get used to “being seen and not heard”, standing in line and reciting what their exact duties were. They then got to work and made a vegetable soup, bread, scones and pancakes, whilst being shouted at relentlessly by the fierce Mrs Jelly. Several students were almost dismissed and sent back to the workhouse!
Fortunately, we all returned to 2018 before Mrs Jelly had a chance to find out that someone had used salt instead of sugar to make the scones… Everything else tasted delicious!
After such a productive morning, the students attended Miss Noble’s lesson at the Victorian schoolroom. The school day began with a hymn and a prayer, after which the pupils practised writing the letters of the alphabet using sand, chalkboards and ink pens. They also did some arithmetic, learnt about the British Isles, learnt a poem by heart and finally “took in oxygen” with drills in the courtyard. Wielding her cane throughout the lessons, Miss Noble was a formidable and exacting schoolmistress!
The students behaved very well throughout the day. What impressed me the most, however, was the knowledge the Year 7s brought with them on the day; when Scaplen’s Court staff questioned them at the start of the day to gauge how much they knew about the Victorians, the number of hands going up and the information the students shared proved undeniably that they had learnt a great deal in the SDL way in the weeks preceding the event.
I’d like to say a big “thank you!” to Mrs Sellars, Mrs Sims, Mr Jelitko and Mr Moss for accompanying us on the trip and helping us make this a great day.