History comes to life for Coventry school pupils

Pupils had the opportunity to taste the food in ration packs, try on helmets and have a go at a paintball shooting range.

History was brought to life for pupils at a Coventry primary school’s first armed forces workshop ahead of Remembrance Day today.

Year 6 pupils at Ss Peter & Paul Catholic Primary School – part of the Romero Catholic Academy – had the opportunity to taste the food in ration packs, try on helmets and have a go at a paintball shooting range.

A display was installed in the school hall which included an area to celebrate diversity, a family picture book and visual history, a ration book, an identity card, a book of wartime recipes, a Women’s Land Army leaflet, knitted poppies and books covering World War I and II.

Learning mentor and deputy safeguarding lead Stephanie Gordon and Year 6 teaching assistant Brenna Ruffley taught the children about World Wars I and II last term and wanted to make it more real in the countdown to Remembrance Day.

Miss Gordon contacted Company Sergeant Major WO2 Barrington Brown of the 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment, who brought along some of his soldiers as well as Staff Sergeant Carl Shankland and Sergeant Phil Edis from the Army Reservists to hold a series of workshops.

She said: “When we held the workshops on World War I and II, one of the sessions focused on how ethnic groups fought in both wars which we all found interesting.

“We wanted to take it a step further, so I contacted the 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment and Barrington was able to bring his team along to the school.

It was really to give the children a better understanding of why we celebrate Remembrance Day. Sometimes children wear a poppy but they don’t know the history behind it and the role World War I and II played in shaping our lives today.

“They have all really enjoyed being involved in all the different exercises and this has given them a different perspective on war as well as increasing their knowledge.

“They found it interesting to find out that 24-hour ration packs today are suited to different diets such as vegan or vegetarian and they had a chance to taste the biscuits and sweets.

“I would like to thank everyone involved who helped to make this a really special learning day for the children.”