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Broadstairs: Upton School pupils step up their war lessons

Two very different sides of wartime Britain have been experienced by children studying the effects of the Second World War.

Year 6 pupils at Upton Junior School in Broadstairs have been exploring what life was like for their counterparts almost 80 years ago when war broke out and peoples’ lives were changed forever.

Upton pupils in the tunnels (4863123)
Upton pupils in the tunnels (4863123)

Children witnessed where people hid from the bombs that rained on their homes and towns and also learnt how a new dance craze helped keep their spirits up.

Pupils took a guided tour of the wartime tunnels underneath Ramsgate where families fled to shelter from air raids that bombarded Thanet regularly.

The tour included a short film show in a 150-year-old Victorian railway tunnel before pupils headed off into the purpose-built air raid protection network underground.

In complete contrast, the Year 6 pupils then learnt how to do the jive, a dance craze that swept across Europe from America in the early 1940s.

Learning to jive (4863121)
Learning to jive (4863121)

Dancer Lizzie Davies demonstrated all the moves, and parents were invited in to join the session in the main school hall.

Head of Year 6 Athanasia Papa-Adams said: “It was great fun. It was tricky, but they worked hard and managed to incorporate the jive swing moves together with plenty of kicks, flicks and pointed toes.

“Each class, their teacher and their parents thoroughly enjoyed the session.

“Meanwhile visiting the tunnels gave our children the chance to experience a real part of wartime Britain that has been preserved right on our doorstep.

“They were captivated by the war stories they heard on the tunnel tour.”

Pupils in costume (4863125)
Pupils in costume (4863125)

Earlier in the term a wartime classroom complete with artefacts including books, toys, posters, foodstuffs and cooking utensils was put together by historian Peter O’Sullivan to set the scene for the pupils’ project work.

Head of school Darci Arthur said: “Exploring and researching the Second World War is always a popular topic for our Year 6 groups.

"As well as inspired classroom teaching they have enjoyed a range of other experiences to pen their eyes to what life was like for young people and families during wartime Britain.”

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