Three more school visits

It’s been a busy fortnight here at SHARE with Schools! We’ve been out on trips to Cathays High, Woodlands High, and Michaelston Community College. Michaelston and Woodlands are part of the Ely and Caerau Federation, aka Westfed.

Volunteer coordinator Matt Vince on the Cathays visit:

Cathays visit – WW1 workshop

Last week myself, a handful of volunteers, and 40 secondary school pupils went on an adventure back in time. Back to the dreary times of World War 1 Cardiff. I must admit I was nervous. To me World War 1 is depressing – muddy boots, muddy bodies, and muddled tactics that caused both.

But through the workshop, and the stories of real life Cardiffians, World War 1 came to life before our eyes. The volunteers were absolutely incredible in this task, guiding the pupils through the artefacts in order to get at their underlying stories. From the Belgian ‘alien’ to the soldier on the Egyptian front, the pupils got to grips with the heritage of their area. Walking around the room and hearing stories from the pupil’s own families made this both incredibly relevant and exciting – tales of Grandfathers who were conscripted from Cathays where the school was, and Grandmothers who had shown the pupil’s letters from the front.

So a big thank you goes out to the volunteers who achieved this monumental task – bringing the past to life for the benefit of those in the present. It went so well that even the Ofsted inspector was impressed!

Thanks to:

  • Julia Rooke
  • Caitlin Fleming
  • Kieran Murphy
  • Clara Freer
  • Benjamin Dillon
  • Chris Parry

And coordinator Nick McDermot on the Woodlands trip:

On Tuesday SHARE with schools returned to Woodlands, to present 2 workshops. 19th Century Welsh life, thanks to artefacts provided by St Fagan’s natural history museum and Cardiff University conservation department. Also a unique workshop was presented by a group of students from Cardiff University’s Heritage and Communications module on Welsh myths and Legends.

Both workshops went very well and lead to some wonderful discussions of the difference between life in the 19th century and life today as well lots of artefact handling and examination.

A big thanks to the volunteers that made the day possible:

  • Charlotte Porter
  • Chris Parry
  • Daisy Atkins
  • Madeleine Moorcroft
  • Megan Keary
  • Alisha Chauhan

And finally a big thank you to Stephanie Hall and Caitlin Fleming who delivered at Michaelston yesterday with co-ordinators Kate Tinson and Kostas Trimmis and Dr Dave Wyatt. By all accounts it was an inspiring visit to Michaelston Community College in Ely, with 3 workshops delivered (2 x Life in 19th century Wales 1x Cardiff in WW1) to over 70 pupils in 3 hours. One of the school teachers said that “all the lessons seemed to go really well, the best I’ve seen our pupils engaged for a long time”! Here’s some images from the trip:


Mountain Ash visit 25/2/2016

A big thank you to our ineffable volunteers and the awesome pupils and staff today. We went out into the Valleys to Mountain Ash Comprehensive School. There we delivered workshops on Romans in Wales, Medieval Society, Cardiff in World War One to forty-nine pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 respectively.

On the trip were:


  • Kostas Trimmis
  • Jon Langston
  • Olja Mladjenovic

Also joining them were the staff members:

  • Professor Paul Nicholson
  • Dr Steve Mills
  • Graham Getheridge

Steve and Paul were seeing some new integrations of their Heritage Lottery Fund project Images of an Antique Land with the existing WWI workshop. This involved the creation of a new ‘persona’ to investigate based on genuine research, as well as a new postcards from the front activity based on some gorgeous replicas of real-life postcards.

Most importantly of all, the following volunteers gave up their time and effort to deliver some awesome presentations and workshops:

  • Ben Dillon
  • Gemma Bush
  • Jack Tenniswood
  • Kieran Murphy
  • Chris Parry
  • Clara Freer

Thanks all!

Medieval session

Guest blog from volunteer Jonathan Gilbert

Jonathan Gilbert

As a Third Year Archaeology and Ancient History BA student I felt I needed to get some serious work experience under my belt before I graduated and joined the struggle of the job hunt. I was always told that I work well with children, and I have always had an interest in teaching, so SHARE with Schools sounded like a great opportunity for me. I must admit that, at first, my reasons for joining the project were selfishly orientated to building up my CV, but this soon changed when I went on my first workshop.

The workshops that I volunteered for included ‘Archaeological Skills’ with pupils in Year 7 – 9 at Fitzalan School, and ‘Romans in Wales’ for a variety of student year groups at Woodlands High School. The idea of working with children in a school environment was not an entirely new concept for me; I have previously worked at an after school club and holiday play scheme, at my local school, working with small groups of children. But this was far less formal than a classroom environment. SHARE with Schools on the other hand gives you the opportunity to work in the classroom, in a variety of challenging yet exciting situations. (more…)

Guest blog by volunteer Chloe Burdett

Chloe Burdett

I hesitantly signed myself up to SHARE with Schools in order to gain experience before applying for my PGCE in Year 3. As I am a second year Religious Studies student, I was nervous the talks were more about History and Archaeology, rather than my area of studies. Due to this, I thought that I would not engage with the material. However, to my surprise, I was very wrong. I attended a training session on 27th February on ‘Romans in Wales’, ‘Archaeological Sciences’ and ‘Structure of Medieval Society’. Before I knew it, I was signing myself up to deliver a workshop the very next week.

Within the training session, Catherine and her team were excellent. They made me feel very prepared showing us the objects, worksheets and crib notes used. Catherine was also great at letting us all know our sections of the workshop before the required date so that I was able to prepare it in my own way.

Despite feeling somewhat overly prepared, (I read and read over my part until I could read no more), whilst on the journey to the school, I felt very nervous and apprehensive. Although I have been on a placement in a school before, I never got the chance to actually prepare and deliver a lesson. This is what is great about SHARE with Schools, although they provide you with the activities, you can shape and mould the crib sheets any way you wish.

We delivered 4 back-to-back, ‘Romans in Wales’ workshops to Woodlands High School in Ely. Prior to arrival I was unaware that this school was actually for children who had moderate to severe learning difficulties or special needs. Throughout the day, we met with year 7 to 11 and it was great to see how each year group engaged with the workshop. I thought that due to it being a special needs school, we would need to adapt some parts of the workshop. However, due to the workshop being designed so that it is very much ‘hands on’ for the pupils, object handling and discussing what it may be, the children thrived off this, allowing them to express and draw Roman artefacts.

Throughout the sessions I definitely became more relaxed and comfortable with the children. I began to realise that they were not there to challenge me, or tell me I had explained or done something wrong. Instead, they were inquisitive, engaged and excited. Before attending this school, I had not thought about teaching within a special needs department. However, the pupils here were an absolute credit to Woodlands, I have never worked with a group of pupils who were so happy to work with people who they’re not familiar with. The respect and manners shown to visitors outside of school was exceptional.

Despite wanting to apply for a Primary PGCE, SHARE with Schools has allowed me to gain valuable and transferrable skills that can be used during my career in teaching. Not only have I gained confidence in being able to deliver information and tasks to a group of children, but have done so in an ‘unknown’ environment, which really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have now completed 6 workshops and each one has been entirely different, but in a good way. There is always a new question from a pupil, or a new way in which the workshop is delivered.

The most rewarding aspect of SHARE with Schools for me, was a year 9 student, who did not want to engage at all when he first entered the classroom due to history being ‘boring’. However, during ‘question time’, his hand was the first to shoot up and provide me with an answer. Perhaps this goes to show that the workshops are tailored in such a way in which any child, of any ability is able to participate.

Please find [below] some images that show the work of the pupils at Woodlands High School. They were kind enough to give these to us at the end of their session.

Vexillum designed by a Woodlands High School pupil

Vexillum designed by a Woodlands High School pupil

Worksheets completed by Woodlands High School pupils

Worksheets completed by Woodlands High School pupils

Thanks to our volunteers for w/c Mon 16 March

A big thank you to all of our volunteers for who went out to deliver workshops to Cathays High School this week. You all did a really great job

Cathays High School, Cardiff – Mon 16 March

  • Mike Fahey
  • Belinda Murphy
  • Lynden Rickwood
  • Jacob Deacon

Cathays High School, Cardiff – Tues 17 March

  • Mike Fahey
  • Jon Cook
  • Jon Longston
  • Abbie Roberts
  • Louise Thomas
  • Chloe Burdett