Eyemouth primary pupils become history detectives

Eyemouth pupil trying on armour while learning about Flodden
Eyemouth pupil trying on armour while learning about Flodden

Eyemouth pupils were given a hands-on lesson about the historic battle of Flodden at a recent outing organised by the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum.

The children, aged 11 and 12, became history detectives, researching historic artefacts and documentary evidence, as well as learning about archaeology, the background to the battle and the dress of the day.

The event was delivered through the Flodden 1513 Education Outreach Programme, which will continue for the next two years.

Jane Miller, the Ecomuseum’s education officer, explained: “The programme aims to give children, both in Scotland and England, a detailed insight into the Battle of Flodden and a far better understanding of what life was like 500 years ago.”

The Flodden workshops made a lasting impression on the Eyemouth students.

When asked which activities they had enjoyed the most, many of the pupils chose digging, “because it felt like a mystery, we never knew what we’d find”. They also learned that you can find out a lot about a person from just a few objects.

Dress-up proved also to be popular, to recreate the atmosphere of the era. Class teacher Fiona Swain said: “The pupils were all completely engaged, and the activities were fantastic.

“The boys particularly enjoyed the tactics, weaponry and details of the battle. The children love to dress up, but to actually wear the chain mail and helmets was totally unique.

“It is fantastic that these workshops are bringing Flodden to our doorstep,” Ms Swain added. “This year we incorporated the subject into our curriculum as a mini topic, but as a result of the response from the children, I am planning to develop Flodden into a full topic and an integral part of our curriculum.”

The Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum education programme offers free site visits and outreach workshops to three key Ecomuseum sites to primary and secondary schools over the next two years. Locations include Etal castle, Heatherslaw Mill and Flodden Field, and programme activities are specifically targeted at the different key stages.

These include interactive and sensory stories for Key Stage 1 through the use of puppetry and replica objects; then at Key Stage 2 students become ‘history detectives’ by piecing together evidence from their own archaeological dig.

The Flodden 1513 Project has £1.3 million of funding with the largest contribution of £877,000 provided by the Heritage LotteryFund. The education officer and two education assistants will deliver educational activities to schools until July 2015.