Interview with Rosa Friend, 17 March 2010
Rosa’s first school was in Melbourne, Australia where she was born in 1990, and she did not remember doing any history there. In England she went to a fairly traditional C of E primary school in Lewes, East Sussex where she remembered doing the Tudors in Year 3. Most things they did at school that year linked in to the Tudors, including a visit to Hever Castle, reading in the literacy hour, learning about scurvy in science, and making Tudor jewellery. In Year 4 it was similar for the Romans, with a visit to Fishbourne Palace, and in Year 5 they did the Victorians, the Ancient Egyptians and the Second World War. There were two trips a term, usually history-based. It was all done in a ‘project’ way so there was little sense of continuity but she remembered it as ‘fun’. Secondary school was the local comprehensive, Priory School, Lewes. Year 7 saw innovative teaching around the Middle Ages (see photographed material) but she found Year 8 & 9 history boring. Although there was a television set in each classroom history was very much taught to textbook, worksheet and lesson plan, with very little discussion among the pupils. So she did not do GCSE history but when she went to sixth form college in Brighton (BHASVIC) she did history A level, ‘Early Modern’ period. The difference between GCSE work and A level was enormous – even for the people who had done history GCSE – but she found it very stimulating with two very good teachers and a great deal of discussion, although even then the two centuries of history, English and European were not taught in chronological order. Interviewed by Jenny Keating.