YOUNGSTERS from Lainesmead and Oaktree Primary Schools got a taste of war when they paid a visit to Churchfields Academy yesterday.

As part of a transition event, children in Year 5 visited the school in Upham Road to take part in a number of activities to help them learn more about the First World War.

Today Year 6 pupils at the same schools will also pay a visit to take part in a similar range of activities.

Catherine Lomax, Director of Humanities at Churchfields, said: “It was an opportunity to get an experience of life at Churchfields but they were also able to get a sense of what it was like during the First World War.

“We wanted to give them an experience of what it was like for everyone, not just the soldiers, and we wanted to give them a great experience that was catered to them and did not disturb them.

“Teaching the children about the First World War and what it was like is important because it helps inform them of their past and their cultural history, and it gives them an insight into the lives of ordinary people from the past.”

Children took part in several activities over a number of sessions during the morning, including artefacts, where children looked at some of the things that some of the people would have owned and worn, and looked at the letters they might have been sent home.

They also took part in a session on letters and parcels sent home.

During another session children had a go at a drill, and marched about on the pitch like the soldiers would have done. The final session involved making periscopes from mirrors and card and testing them out in the purpose-built trench.

As part of the day, around eight students in Year 9 were on hand to support the youngsters and ensure the activities went smoothly.

Courteney Spratt and Ambia Hussain, both 14, were taking photographs for the school magazine.

Courteney, from Old Town, said: “All the Year 5s seemed to really enjoy it and we were able to get involved in the activities a well, and it was really fun. They didn’t really stop smiling. it would be amazing to do it again.”

Ambia, from Walcot, said: “I think it’s really important that they can come to something like this. I think it’s important that people learn about the war and about history so they know what happened.”