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Youngsters put to the sword! CHALLENGE: Troubled children to learn medieval skills.

Byline: By Emma McKinney

MIDLAND teenagers are to learn the art of jousting, sword fighting and circus skills in their school time as part of an innovative project funded by a Heritage Lottery grant.

Pupils at Kettlebrook Referral Unit, in Tamworth, will be taking a step back in time to get a snapshot of real life in medieval times.

As well as learning medieval skills, they'll also learn how to cook historic dishes before sampling their delights with family and teachers at a banquet, where they will also be expected to dress the part and provide the entertainment - medieval style of course.

The pounds 18,800 living history project will see the unit, which caters for children aged 11 to 16 with behavioural problems, working with staff at Tamworth Castle which dates back to the 11th century, and Tamworth Borough Council.

Roger Barker, acting head at the Kettlebrook Unit, said: "It's a great project and I think the pupils will get an awful lot out of experience about living history that will cross the curriculum."

Anne Jenkins, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the West Midlands, said: "Through taking part in classes to juggle, joust and sword fight, the youngsters will learn about their heritage.

"They'll also cook the food and provide music and entertainment in medieval style and will be able to talk about a part of history that's so important to Tamworth."

Kirsty Sherwood, Tamworth Castle's education and events officer, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to bring history to life."

As well as training in medieval skills, where safe alternatives to the real weapons will be used, and learning how to handle artefacts, the children will also help to produce a DVD and an information document which will go out to schools and youth groups to encourage others to explore medieval history.

CAPTION(S):

Actors Andrew and Linda Knight, from Leicester re-enact sword fights at Tamworth Castle's Tudor Weekend; Members of Medieval World practice their jousting at Warwick Castle; Tamworth Castle
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 2, 2009
Words:337
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