Victorian lessons too strict say Woolbrook pupils

It was a tough life being a pupil in Victorian times, say youngsters from St Nicholas Junior School

IT was a tough life being a student in Victorian times, as pupils at St Nicholas Junior School, Woolbrook, discovered on Monday.

Year Four pupils in Rupert Oxlade’s class came dressed for a day of learning – Victorian style.

Sporting a top hat, and holding a hooked cane, he transformed into Mr Robson, a strict Victorian teacher, whose mission was to teach the three R’s during the day.

After a session reading, Mr Robson handed out slates and slate paper to practice copperplate handwriting, with pupils copying from the blackboard.

Mr Oxlade said the children had enjoyed a visit to Coldharbour Mill where the teacher had been very strict so they could feel what it would have been like to be taught in Victorian times.

As Mr Robson he was strict too, telling children to work in silence and making those who didn’t pay attention to stand in a corner with a dunce’s hat on, including Glen Sinker and Oliver Jones.

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“I feel terrible (being strict) but the children are getting a flavour of what it was like, but it is quite hard doing it,” he said.

Annie Harris, nine, said: “It is very weird, I find it very strict, we have to do copperplate handwriting which is difficult with chalk. I wouldn’t like to have been at school in Victorian times.

Finlay Johnson, nine, added: “It is not really hard, but you need to concentrate on the loops in letters. You are not allowed to talk at all, I wouldn’t like a strict teacher like Mr Robson.”