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Living History

Jonathan Davies is an inspirational teacher. A former Head of History at King Edward's School, he runs the school's historical re-enactment group, who spend most of their spare weekends and summers making history real at castles and other historical sites across England, from the Tower of London to Kenilworth Castle. Jonathan has devised five reenactment-based workshops, on the Romans, the Saxons, the Tudors, the First World War and Birmingham's Steam Pioneers, which he takes out two mornings per week to local state, secondary and special schools, free of charge.

Aims

When non-specialists teach history, especially in primary and secondary schools, the subject can seem dry. Jonathan Davies knows how to make the subject live vibrantly in the minds of children. For four years, now, he has visited local schools for two mornings every week, delivering his workshops to over 3,000 children per year and travelling thousands of miles around Birmingham!

Background

Jonathan was retiring from KES after long service in the History Classroom. He was keen, though, to share his passion for history with primary-aged children. John Claughton, Chief Master, was happy to cover Jonathan's salary costs to enable this to happen.

Resources

Jonathan has two timetabled mornings per week (three in 2014-15) to deliver his workshops. This allows over sixty five 'slots' over the course of the year, which are seriously oversubscribed. Jonathan is supported by a part-time Outreach Administrator, Sue Davies, who manages his diary and makes sure that all bookings run smoothly.

Impact

One key outcome is the volume of re-booking. Jonathan's workshops are around three times oversubscribed, clearly demonstrating the value of these workshops to colleagues. 

Pupil Involvement

The Living History Group support some activities, by playing the sackbut, helping to fire the trebuchet, or in sundry other ways.

Frequency

Jonathan is booked out for workshops twice in every week.