School pupils travel through time

Pupils from Pendock Primary School in south Worcestershire travelled through time as part of a project with Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.

Staff and pupils have been working with the local conservation charity over the last two years to discover more about the history of their local area and nearby nature reserve, Hardwick Green Meadows.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust bought the 20 hectare site in 2017 and, with help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, embarked on a programme of activities to engage the local community with the importance of the meadows.

Part of the project has been to record memories of people who have lived in the area for many years (for some, all of their lives) and to introduce some of those individuals to the two local schools to help pupils understand what life used to be like. The three to eleven year old pupils learnt about the importance of capturing information as well as practical skills such as how to interview and how to use recording equipment.

Playwright John Townsend then spent time with pupils from Pendock Primary School to collate the memories in the play for the children to perform to parents and the local community.

Every single child in the school had a part in the play and it was wonderful to watch; a fantastic culmination of all the learning and exploring that’s taken place over the last two years.
Liz Bunney
Project Officer

‘Where the Meadows Flower’ was performed on July 16th to a packed school hall.

Liz Bunney, project officer for the Trust, commented “I’m so proud of all the time and hard work that everyone put into this play.

“There were lots of lines to learn and a lot of history to cover. Pupils time-travelled through the last 70 years covering history pertinent to their very local area as well as more-recognisable events.

“From the importance of the meadows to the local community, a blazing barn, the mechanisation of agriculture in the area, the Witch of Eldersfield and the construction of the nearby M50 to the winter of 1947, the death of King George VI, the Queen’s Coronation and the rising popularity of television. Even the start of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers got a mention with one comment of ‘it’ll never catch on’ being mentioned in the play.”

“The children have become familiar with Hardwick Green Meadows through a series of visits and by talking to some of the older members of the community.

As well as parents, the audience was also filled with some of the oral history interviewees. The play was interspersed with snippets from the oral history recordings and several members of the audience were bemused to hear their voices being played.

Pupils from Pendock Primary School performing 'Where the Meadows Flower' (by Stephanie Grainger)

John Greenbank, Key Stage 2 teacher at Pendock Primary, said “The project has been a fascinating journey through the history of the area, and the importance of retaining our local history through storytelling and opportunities for cross-generational learning.

“The pupils were excited to bring many of these stories back to life through our end of term play and it was wonderful to have many of the story tellers in the audience, watching their younger selves!

“Two, activity-packed trips to Hardwick Green Meadows allowed the children to enjoy a natural floodplain meadow, gain an understanding of local biodiversity and the need to maintain natural habitats.

“It has been a wonderful collaboration between the school, the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and John Townsend, which the pupils have thoroughly enjoyed and greatly benefitted from.”

Hardwick Green Meadows are an important site for wildflowers and wildlife. They represent about 1.5% of remaining floodplain meadows in England and are of international importance.

Some of the characters in the play pondered the future, holding up Worcestershire Wildlife Trust as a beacon of hope for wild places such as Hardwick Green Meadows. Lessons for the future were summed up as the whole cast performed the song ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’ 

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