Nick sees pupils’ prehistoric project

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SHEFFIELD Hallam MP Nick Clegg was given an insight into a prehistoric project at a city school which has seen the creation of a replica Iron Age round house.

The Lib Dem leader was at St Wilfrid’s RC Primary in Millhouses to officially open the house, constructed with the help of volunteers from Heeley City Farm and Sheffield University.

The round house is already being used by youngsters as an outdoor classroom for their environmental studies - although currently lighting is an issue as the structure has no windows!

“We’re looking at installing small solar-powered lights so the atmosphere of the round house is maintained,” said headteacher Barbara Jarrett.

“The work was only just completed before Nick arrived but he was very impressed with what he saw - he said they didn’t do things like this when he was at school.”

The Deputy Prime Minster also saw smelting work with a craftsman creating an iron hinge for the house’s door.

“It’s been a brilliant project and we are expanding our environmental work with our refurbished school pond and a forest school project,” Barbara added.

Every child in the school was involved in the building work - getting messy creating daub for the walls from clay, straw, water and sand.

The mixture was later spread on the woven willow walls by hand, with help from university archaeology students.

The building work began last February and tied in with classroom work on the whole Iron Age era.

Pupils also worked with heritage officers from Heeley City Farm and university lecturers on a host of activities, including handling genuine archaeological artefacts.

Youngsters also visited the Iron Age hill fort at Wincobank and harvested materials for the construction work.

Sheffield University lecturer Dr Roger Doonan said: “The pupils really enjoyed the project as it was fun but also formed part of an important research project with the work of the pupils contributing to our understanding of life in the Iron Age.

“Their enthusiasm and interest was incredibly impressive and I was asked questions by nine-year-old pupils which would not have been out of place at a professional conference.”