Heritage Schools Case Study: Ketley School's history and the Industrial Revolution

Summary: KS2 pupils used a visit to the old school building and a heritage walk to build a detailed picture of Ketley’s past and industrial history.

Where: Meadows Primary School, Ketley, Telford

Who: Years 1 to 6 but mainly Year 6

Doorstep Heritage video created during this project.

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Intended outcomes

  • For teachers to be more confident with history of the old school and the area area around Ketley
  • For pupils to learn more about the history of the old Ketley school
  • For pupils to learn more about the heritage of Ketley and its role in the Industrial Revolution and become more proud of their area
  • For pupils to share their learning with the wider community

With support from Historic England a class teacher at Meadows Primary, in Ketley, developed a project based on the history of the school. Meadows Primary is the more recent ‘incarnation’ of the old Ketley School. Ketley School was opened in 1897, had an infants’ building added in 1904 and closed in the late1990s. It is now a community centre. The teacher also wanted to learn more about the history of the area and link this with a study of the school. The teacher worked with a local historian the Ketley History Group. She helped organise visits to, and tours of, the old Ketley School building, an exhibition of old photographs and books from the school and a talk from an octogenarian ex-pupil.

She then took the Year 6 class on a heritage walk around Ketley, with key focus being on the remains of the old Ketley Canal, Ketley Hall and the Inclined Plane, all built by William Reynolds in the late 1700s. The teacher decided to focus primarily on the wider Ketley Heritage as the walk had with the local historian had prompted lots of questions from the pupils who were fascinated by the life and work of William Reynolds. The class studied Reynolds and produced work for an exhibition ‘Celebrating Ketley History’, in collaboration with the Ketley History Group, held at the Community Centre in late June 2015. Exhibits included art work, portraits of Reynolds, photography, brief histories, poems, all inspired by the original heritage walk. Year 5 pupils also used the event as an opportunity to gather oral histories from Ketley residents, who could tell the children more about the old school. These will be compiled into a book by the pupils in 2015-16.

What we did

  • Pupils visited the Ketley Community Centre for tour of building, survey of exterior design, a talk by local history group
  • Pupils went on heritage walk of Red Lake and Ketley
  • Pupils completed in depth study of William Reynolds and his impact on Ketley
  • Pupils prepared display material, speeches and poems, and then hosted, Ketley Exhibition


  • Arranging times for all the meetings, walks and visits out of school
  • Arranging time for filming
  • Coordinating the History Group and School for exhibition


  • Strong links have been forged with the Ketley History Group, Friends of Paddock Mound and Ketley Community Centre
  • Children more proud to come from Ketley, have been enthusiastic about learning about William Reynolds and have led younger pupils on the heritage walk
  • Exhibition in June was very well attended by parents, members of the community, heritage partners and the Mayor
  • Teacher has clear plans for developing and extending the project and has been given a Heritage Leader role by the Local Authority

Resources and web links

Next steps/extension activities

  • Year 6 to work on compiling an oral history of the Ketley School in 2015-16.
  • The school is installing a Heritage Gallery in the newly built Year 6 building of the school
  • Made of Iron Sculpture planned for school
  • Pupils to design guide leaflets for heritage walks