Llantwit Major School

Llantwit Major School

Student Portal

Yr 7 descend into Blaenafon's 'Big Pit'

The majority of year 7 visited the Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon on four consecutive days last week (19th – 22nd June). Students were able to meet veteran miners and learn about the coal industry that was so important to the Welsh economy, heritage and culture.

When students first arrived, they were ‘kitted up’ with a helmet, head torch and gas mask before relinquishing their watches and mobile phones as they were not allowed to take anything battery powered into the mine. As we descended 90 metres underground, students had to be very sensible. They also had to show utmost maturity when walking around the mines, as some of the ceilings were very low and the floor was often uneven. I am pleased to report that students behaved exceptionally well, were fully engaged and asked many pertinent questions which prompted one of the tour guides to comment that he “wish[ed] all students were as well behaved and interested”. It is clear that the students enjoyed their experience, as Morgan Roberts said, “I really enjoyed the trip… the tour guides were helpful, answered every question and made jokes to make us laugh.”

After the 50 minute tour underground, students travelled back up to the surface, making sure they turned their head torches off to fully understand the darkness that many miners experienced during their mining days. Once they were back in the sunlight, some students were able to visit the mining simulator. This was one of the highlights of the day! Student Honi Jones commented that, “I had a lot of fun in King Coal (the simulator) because they showed us how they used explosives!”

Students enjoyed their lunch in the sunshine overlooking Blaenafon before using their Big Pit booklets to help navigate their way around the exhibition at the Pit Head Baths. Answering questions on mining life in the 19th and 20th century allowed students to understand even more about the life of a miner.

Year 7 now have two weeks to complete a project entitled, ‘What was life like for a miner?’ This will be a competition and the school’s PTA have donated vouchers to the value of £80 for the first, second and third places. The project will combine both literacy and Welsh language elements and teachers are really looking forward to seeing what work the students produce.

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