Roman army invades Sidmouth school

Sidmouth pupils learn how Roman soldiers were trained and fight against Briton’s tribal hordes

A ROMAN army invaded St John’s International School as part of a Roman Day there last Tuesday.

Organised by Years Two and Three staff, in conjunction with the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, pupils learnt what life was like in Briton nearly 2,000 years ago when the Romans invaded, and had to decide whether, as Britons, they would bow to Roman leadership or fight the invaders.

To enable them to answer this difficult question, the children met and spoke with a Briton and a Roman soldier and trained as a Roman fighting legion.

They learnt what life was like for the tribal Britons, including the food they ate, what clothes they wore and how they traded goods rather than use money.

They then met a Roman soldier, bombarding him with questions in order to understand what it was like to be in the Roman army and what life was like as a Roman, including the similarities and differences between Britons and Romans.

Having learnt more about the Roman way of life, pupils debated whether they would give in to Roman rule and the overwhelming majority decided they would rather fight than give in to the invaders, despite the many advantages that the Romans offered in terms of food, housing, sanitation and the relative freedom they would be afforded should they accede.

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In order to be confident with their decision, they also experienced what being in the Roman army meant and were trained in Roman fighting and military techniques.

Children quickly realised the Roman army worked as a team, protecting each individual, and were highly disciplined and trained compared to their tribal army.

Deputy head, Mike Burgess said: “They were very shocked to discover that the Romans wore armour, carried swords and they did not, and that the Romans had over 50,000 soldiers ready to do battle against their meagre, poorly trained and ill-equipped horde.

“Despite all this, they were still happy and willing to fight!”

Year Three teacher, Jemma Harvey-Jones, believes the Roman Day will inspire the rest of the children’s learning, and said: “The children really learnt a lot from this wonderful event.”