Bringing the Victorian era to life

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Woodham Academy is bringing the Victorian era to life to inspire and support students in their reading.

The school is creating a Victorian Room and have introduced Victorian Video Night to help students become more familiar with the period.

Woodham Academy has invested heavily in reading, including in a reading suite with cosy rooms and soft furnishings. The school has a wide-ranging reading library and has introduced a screening, monitoring and intervention system to assist their learners to develop ‘active reading’ skills.

Woodham Academy’s Reading Team of Anya Thomas and Richard Heaven are now focussing on Victorian literature.

The Victorian Room will be stocked with literature of the period and about the period, as well as a range of classic DVD costume dramas. Alongside the books they frequently take home and read, Woodham students can now borrow a TV series such as The Paradise, or take home and watch an adaptation of Jane Eyre or Great Expectations.

The Reading Team has held its first Victorian Video Night, featuring Lionel Bart’s Oliver – the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist – as well as free popcorn.

Miss Thomas said: “Schools have a responsibility to prepare students for what comes next. Learning should be seen as a journey, rather than a short-visit which comes to an end in Y11 with GCSEs.

Students need to be engaging with the sort of text they will be encountering later in life, or they will seem unfamiliar.’

Mr Heaven said: “Victorian literature can seem complex and confusing, but we should also remember it was they who invented the children’s story.

“Many of the tales we know and love were created by the Victorians and Edwardians, and they’re still there, in the pages of their books, just waiting to be brought to life by a new generation of readers.”

The next Victorian Video Night will be prior to Christmas and will feature an adaptation of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol.

The school’s extensive extra-curricular and support programme has helped students record Woodham Academy’s best-ever GCSE results.  In English, 78 percent of students achieved a pass of grade 4 or higher this year compared to 73 percent for the county as a whole.

Andrew DowsonBringing the Victorian era to life