The Scran Education Officers have been spending a lot of time in Scottish schools of late. This is nothing new, you might think- Scran has always spent a lot of time in Scottish schools, usually training teachers at twilight CPD sessions in how to use our website, so that this knowledge can be cascaded down the school.
Recently, though, we’ve been doing more and more interaction within school hours, directly with learners in the classroom, getting them hands-on with Scran and engaging with our archives as part of the Curriculum for Excellence. Last week our travels took us to Falkirk, where we met up with students from three different classes at two schools, Antonine Primary and Denny Primary. Both schools are currently studying ScotJam- we were none the wiser until the teachers told us the abbreviation stands for Scotland/Jamaica- and exploring the many links between their home country and the Caribbean island.
We spent a fascinating morning and afternoon with the children as they pored over the Jamaica-related materials on Scran. We found images of the Jamaican flag, and noted its similarity to the Scottish Saltire. This is apparently not a coincidence. The flag was designed in part by Rev William R.F. McGhie, a Scottish Presbyterian minister located in Jamaica at the time of its independence from the UK. We stumbled upon numerous Scran images of Jamaica Street in Glasgow, and noted the presence of similarly-named streets in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Conversely, we discovered that there is an Edinburgh Castle in Jamaica.
Much of the students’ research centred on slavery, one aspect of the ScotJam topic that seemed to particularly resonate with the classes, and which touched on Curriculum areas such as history and citizenship. There are many Scottish connections with the slave trade, and we explore some of these on Scran, as well as looking at the lives of people who were connected with, or opposed to, slavery such as David Livingstone, Josiah Wedgwood and George Moncrieff.
Many thanks to Mr. Farrington and Ms. King at the two schools for arranging the Scran visit, and we look forward to working with you as you continue to explore Scotland’s links with Jamaica.
Image: © The Trustees of the British Museum. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk