Time travel in Dallington

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Teachers from an East Sussex Primary School brought history lessons to life when they arranged for pupils to become World War Two evacuees for the day.

Children from Dallington Church of England County Primary School spent the day at The Bluebell Railway where they pretended they were leaving London by train. They were asked to dress as evacuees and bring wartime packed lunches, carry gas masks and even identity cards.

Headteacher Paul Cox explained: “The pupils were asked to treat the day as a drama exercise and pretend that they wouldn’t see their parents for possibly years. It was a fantastic day and really brought home what it would have been like to be evacuated as a young child. This is just part of this term’s history topic which has included making models of submarines, interviewing people who were alive during the war, war-time cooking and many other elements.”

Staff from the Bluebell Railway helped bring the experience to life by sounding an air-raid siren at the station. The children had to quickly make their way to the underpass where they sang World War Two songs until they were given the all clear.

Pupil Eleanor De Groot said: “Eventually we went through the billeting process. We all lined up and waited while ‘our new parents’ examined us. The farmers chose boys who could help on the farm and were strong. The postmistress chose me as she wanted quiet, pretty girls who wouldn’t make a fuss.

“It was a fantastic day, although scary at times it gave us a wonderful chance to experience the evacuation process.”

Dallington is a small Church of England Primary School situated in the High Weald. A spokesman said staff, children and community work together within a Christian ethos to promote a positive and considerate atmosphere where pupils are happy and can develop spiritually, academically and socially.

The school has recently joined forces with primary schools in Broad Oak and Punnetts Town and plan to share teaching expertise, resources and facilities.