WHAT an action-packed History Week it has been here at King’s Ely!

Our Senior History students and staff have been up to all sorts of things this week (November 11th-15th) to commemorate the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre 1819 and the Chartist campaigns of the 1830’s and 1840’s.

On November 11th, Senior History staff entertained their classes dressed as Chartist campaigners. Students in Years 9 to 11 enjoyed lessons which looked at the development of popular protest in the nineteenth century, the development of democracy, and also considered the many contemporary examples of protest in the world today.

On November 12th, there was an after-school screening of Mike Leigh’s acclaimed film ‘Peterloo’, which was attended by pupils from across the school.

November 13th started with the annual History Week extended assembly, which was delivered this year by Cambridge historian, Dr Ben Griffin on Chartism. Dr Griffin pitched his talk perfectly, managing to convey who the Chartists were, what they achieved and their enduring impact, with an eloquent and enthusiastic delivery.

The same afternoon saw the return of another History Week staple – the Sixth Form Historians’ Debate. This year, Year 13 were proposing the motion that ‘Popular protest is ultimately futile’ (with reference to Peterloo and Chartism). The debate was closely contested on both sides, with Year 13 just taking home victory in the end. In five years of King’s Ely’s History Weeks, this is the first time that a Year 13 set has won this debate, so congratulations to them!

Not to be outdone by their teachers (who had been in character on November 11th), the Year 13 Historians also got in on the act by flash-mobbing History lessons throughout the day on November 14th and 15th. Unsuspecting classes were treated to re-enactments of both Peterloo and Chartist protests, bringing this year’s History Week to an end.

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