Belmont Primary School

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Swotting Up on Swadlincote

Swotting up on Swadlincote - Year 5


Year 5 completed a local history enquiry called ‘Swotting Up On Swad’. This topic drew on the wealth of industrial history in our local area including local potteries and coal mines. School Council Members from Year 5 stated that they particularly enjoyed this work because ‘it is personal to us’.


South Derbyshire Miners Association visited the classes and demonstrated a vast range of equipment and explained their usage. The children enjoyed this interactive experience as they were able to reach informed conclusions and hypothesizing about what life was like as a miner in Swadlincote’s past.  Lily from Year 5 explained ‘ I loved it when the miners visited as it made history real’.


Many children were inspired to complete their own historical research into their families linked to the mining industry in Swadlincote with one pupil extensively interviewing her grandfather and others making models and writing diary entries empathizing with miners from Swadlincote’s past.


Year 5 pupils worked as investigative historians when discovering the evidence of Swadlincote’s history to be found when exploring the town centre. Visiting in class groups and using their information technology skills the classes recorded the evidence of architectural clues on buildings which indicated their former usage by photographing using ipads. This work included key historical enquiry skills where the pupils reached informed conclusions about the buildings and hypothesizing as to why the architectural features were significant and why the building’s usage had changed. They began this work by visiting Sharpes Pottery Museum while also visiting the birth place of Helen Allingham [which the pupils were amazed to discover that this building was now a Fish and Chip Shop], the former Salts department store and finally the ‘Tall Chimney’ of the former Wraggs Pottery. 

As part of the ‘Art Enrichment Day’ on Friday 15th November 2019, Year 5 pupils used various sources to researched a famous local artist Helen Allingham who was born at number 7 High Street Swadlincote in 1848. Here the pupils were able to make reasoned judgements and justify why and how she found fame. When she became the first woman to be accepted into the Royal Watercolour Society and was a well-known illustrator in Victorian times. Also during this day the pupils sculpted ‘coil pots’ inspired by Sharpes Pottery Swadlincote.

Extracts from homework project

Pupil Voice


Ted [Year 5] described this experience’ One word-FAB-U-LOUS’. While Freya [Year 5] stated ‘I enjoyed discovering how Swadlincote has changed over time’.