On Thursday 13th February 40 Year 11 students went to Redditch to watch a play designed to help students improve their performance in the GCSE History examinations. It is focused on the British Depth Study paper and covered the reign of Elizabeth I.
The play was split into four parts and each part led into a workshop session that looked at how the events of the play relate to the GCSE course. A GCSE examiner was available to offer advice to students about ways of improving their examination performance. The workshop presenters did so by getting students to mark answers to a set of questions covering each of the assessment objective, as if they are examiners in a moderation meeting.
The play was framed as a thought experiment in which students are asked to imagine that Queen Elizabeth has been captured by Catholic invaders and put on trial by a newly created English Inquisition. Leading the Inquisition was Cardinal William Allen, leader of English Catholics in exile, whose mission was the reconversion of England to the Catholic faith. His aim was to destroy the personal, political and religious credibility of the deposed Queen. The witnesses that he summons provide damning testimony concerning all aspects of her reign. To save her own life, Elizabeth had to provide a credible defence against their evidence.
The play ended with a very dramatic explosion on stage as someone tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. All in all it was an enjoyable morning and will hopefully lead to some beneficial results for our Year 11 History students in the summer.