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Heritage Schools Case Study: Why are so many of our street names linked to an Oxford College?

Children from Peterhouse Primary in Great Yarmouth standing outside an Oxford CollegeSummary: Primary school children research their local estate which leads to a 3 day residential visit to Oxford working with the archivist at Magdalen College.

Where: Peterhouse Primary, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth

Who: Year 6

Intended outcomes

  • Understanding of how the Magdalen Estate came to exist and how it links to events in history and to other places in the country
  • To raise their aspirations
  • Create a memorable experience
  • Develop a range of learning opportunities outside the classroom

Pupils studied maps of their estate and linked the roads/buildings to pictures of the Oxbridge college they had been named after. They used other maps to place Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Oxford, Cambridge, London and other major UK cities in context. They researched the universities via the Internet and discussed what they are and their worldwide significance. They went on to investigate key characters, their lives and connections to the estate and other places in the locality. They looked at translations of contemporary documents from the Norfolk Record Office, Magdalen College, Oxford and the Paston letters to investigate the controversy over a will and the founding of the college. Events were put onto a timeline to link them to the later development of the council estate and the school โ€“ also explored through photos and documents from the National Record Office. They then re-enacted their interpretation of what happened.The class was taken for a three day residential visit to Oxford, staying at Youlbury Scout Camp to visit the college and work with the archivists at Magdalen to find out more about the main characters, especially William of Wayneflete and experience the university and city. They examined the original documents to identify names and places, made their own indentures and seals and toured the old library, the college and the town.

What we did

  • Used indentures and seals for research
  • Created their own seals 
  • Used letters and maps for research
  • Visited an Oxford college
  • Shared knowledge


  • Learning what indentures and seals are
  • Understanding that just because there are no old buildings on an estate doesn't mean that it doesn't have any history
  • Taking children on a residential trip


  • The children developed new skills in research, chronological understanding, creating a re-enactment, taking part in a residential visit, using indentures, seals and letters and using maps
  • The school has developed a new and sustainable partnership with Magdalen College, Oxford
  • Magdalen College has sponsored a cup for the school prize giving and the outreach officer Dr E Peachey will visit the school to present it.

Resources and web links

Next steps/extension activities

  • Take part in activities at the Norfolk Record Office, the Paston Society and schools from Paston to celebrate the acquisition of a Paston Letter.
  • Continue to explore the history of the estate using maps and records from the 18th to the 20th century as well as visiting Caister Castle.

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