Students stepped back in time to 17th century

Original Steyning Grammar School premises in Church Street
Original Steyning Grammar School premises in Church Street

Steyning Year 11 students stepped back in time to investigate and learn about what life was like in the market town 600 years ago.

Not many 11-years-old have the chance to time-travel centuries back, but with the 400 years’ anniversary of Steyning Grammar School just around the corner, these Steyning Grammar students went back to the beginning of the 17th century in History Enterprise Learning Days.

Who was on the throne of England in 1614 and what impact did he have? What impact did the bible have on daily life? What games did children play? What was a typical day at school for those lucky enough to go to school? These were some of the questions addressed on the days.

Students were taken on tours of the Church Street school by SGS 400 Project Manager, Caroline Meeson who walked them through the buildings, showing them an historical dimension they were not aware of.

“It was splendid to be with such enthusiastic and focused young people,” she commented. “They listened well, asked intelligent questions and retained so much.”

What did they learn? Life was hard. At the beginning of the 17th century, only privileged children received an education. Some poor children learned to read and write, but stopped when they were old enough to work.Students also learned the history of their school and how it started. In 1614, William Holland, a wealthy merchant from Steyning left funds in his will for the foundation and maintenance of a Free Grammar School. In the early days, the School had only one master and no more than 50 pupils, all boys, 6 of them boarders.

“We are always impressed by the curiosity, initiative and creativity of Year 7 students but they surpassed our expectations,” said Joanna Clear Leader of Key Stage 3.