Newcastle High School for Girls Junior School is delighted to be the first school in Newcastle to be granted Historic England’s Heritage School status.
The Heritage Schools programme recognises schools in which local history and culture is integrated with the curriculum to provide children with a strong understanding of their local culture.
Girls took part in heritage walks around Cullercoats to explore the area’s history as a fishing community. They visited historic buildings, learning about prominent figures, smuggling activity and the role of women as fishwives.
Staff also undertook training led by Historic England, including a tour of Newcastle’s public art, architecture and other local heritage resources which they plan to incorporate into future lessons to enhance learning.
Miss Charlton was thrilled to accept the award on behalf of the school in a special assembly. Viki Angel, Local Heritage Education Manager at Historic England, presented a plaque to the school after joining parents and staff to watch Year 2 and Year 5 girls in a performance about their local heritage.
Year 2 portrayed the difficult daily lives of Cullercoats fishing wives and fishermen. The audience discovered that the fishwives prepared the freshly caught fish before loading them into baskets known as creels and carrying this heavy load on their backs as they left the beach and prepared to sell their fish. Year 5 presented the perilous and extremely brave actions of Cullercoats volunteer lifeguards through Drama. They also showed how smuggling activities were a common occurrence along this stretch of the North East coast. The spotlight was placed on the activities of the local Customs Officer, Captain Thomas Armstrong, who in the 1870s built and inhabited Cliff House which nestles on the Cullercoats clifftop. Year 5 girls entertained us all with depictions of his notorious smuggling activities along this stretch of coastline.
We have found working with Historic England to be highly rewarding as well as enjoyable and look forward to collaborating on further local heritage studies.