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Year 6 trip to Buckland Abbey

We travelled back in time to Elizabethan England, as part of our Tudor studies in History, to visit Sir Francis Drake’s home. The excellent National Trust Educational Officers told us about Drake’s rise to fame and fortune and we followed his journey as he circumnavigated the world. On his return he was knighted and used his fortune to buy Buckland Abbey.  We were lucky enough to be able to see Drake ‘in person’ at this point in his life, in the form of a life size portrait on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. We enjoyed a lively talk and learned about the house’s early history as a Cistercian Abbey and how it was affected by the dissolution of the monasteries – linking with our learning about Henry VIII. We also learned about the Tudor kitchens, trod the same original floor tiles as Drake and explored and interpreted the decorative features in the house.  Finally, we hunted for Drake’s treasures and navigational instruments in the exhibition room.

The NT Educational Officers led us in a workshop about Tudor clothing.  They explained each layer, from top to toes, and showed us examples of each item.  Oli and Maria were dressed up as wealthy Tudors to show us how the clothes were worn. We were taught about the differences between rich and poor dress, and the expectations of men and women in both dress and manners.  Then we were all able to dress up as Tudors, and we learned to greet each other, to stand modestly and to bow and curtsey with correct Tudor etiquette.

The children also had the opportunity to undertake Geographical surveys during the trip. They assessed the locale for features and environment and also interviewed other visitors for a travel and tourism survey.  The pupils very much enjoyed the opportunity to put their learning into practice and see the NT property as a tourist destination, as well as a historical site.  They will now be able to use their data in their geography lessons.

On our return, we received this lovely email from another visitor to the property, echoing our pride in the children during the day:

“My wife and I visited The National Trust Buckland Avenue on Wednesday this week where we met some of your pupils doing a survey during their school visit there.
May I congratulate your school, the staff,parents and especially the pupils themselves for their excellent behaviour during their visit. They were polite and a pleasure to talk to and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves which was lovely to see.”

Well done, Year 6!

Rosemary Bewley

14 June 2019
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