More than 200 Jersey secondary students are taking part in a one-day conference this week to herald the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. It will also be the launch of a longer project that aims to help students explore the conflict in depth.
The ‘Guardians Of The Past’ event at Hautlieu school on Friday 4th July is primarily aimed at gifted and talented students in Year 10. It will include keynote presentations from local and national experts who specialise in First World War history and will be followed by a series of workshops investigating the significance of the war for young people today.
The conference has been sponsored by Ogier who support Jersey’s gifted and talented programme.
‘Guardians of the Past’ has been organised by Hautlieu history teacher Holly Sheldrake who said: “This conference takes place exactly a month before the outbreak of war 100 years ago and we hope it will be the stimulus for an ongoing interest that students continue throughout their school career to Year 13.”
This project would run in parallel to the course of the war, ending in studies of the Armistice and peace-making in 2018-19.
One of the aims of the project was to promote liaison between students at different schools. They will be working together throughout the project with support from local and national historians and the Jersey Archive Service. Each participating school will host a different event following the sequence of the war over the four to five year period.
The project will extend to other subject areas including drama, maths, science, geography and philosophy, ICT, music, English and art. Initial plans include:
- A joint science and maths workshop about the logistics of war in terms of ammunition production or code-breaking.
- English departments to look at soldiers’ diaries or other evidence to produce poetry on the impact of the war.
- A debate on the ‘Worth of the War for the Island’ which would feed in to a Jersey Archive blog.
Ms Sheldrake added: “We have expanded ‘Guardians of the Past’ beyond the subject of history in order to stretch the students. We will be encouraging them to make connections between subjects and to develop their creative and critical thinking skills. The aim is to deliver a series of activities that encourage our young people to produce a personal commemoration or reflection on the importance of the event in their lives today.”
ESC Minister Deputy Patrick Ryan said: “This ambitious and impressive project has the potential to make a significant contribution to young islanders’ understanding of the First World War. It is important that we remember the impact of war and continue to learn lessons from it. I look forward to hearing more about ‘Guardians of the Past’ as the project progresses.”
Nick Kershaw, Global Managing Partner Ogier Legal said: “This conference will open students’ eyes to this important period in our history and we are delighted to be involved through our sponsorship of the Gifted and Talented programme.”