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SHS Mark Dickens’ Bicentennial

 Students at Stamford High School marked Charles Dickens’ Bicentennial this week with a special assembly dedicated to the life and work of the renowned Victorian novelist.

Dickens is one of the greatest writers in English literature and his novels have brought pleasure to many millions of people the world over. The themes of Dickens’ novels are important and timeless, such as snobbery, hypocrisy, poverty, injustice and the abuse and exploitation by the wealthy and powerful of the poor and powerless in society.

The writings of Dickens can be demanding, and a minority of children aged 11-18 will have read a Dickens novel. The aim of the assembly therefore was to give a snapshot of Dickens’ work, by exploring his plots, setting and characters and the author’s life and legacy to us.

The assembly, presented by English teacher Isla Matthews and SES English prefect, Douglas Tawn, involved readings from ‘Bleak House’ and ‘David Copperfield’ by Mr Coles and Mr Austen and a showing of part of the film adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol.’

The highlight proved to be when pupils from Year 8 (Y8DS and Y8AEW), who have been studying Dickens, staged dramatizations of the iconic scenes where Oliver dares to ask for more gruel in ‘Oliver Twist’ and where the characters Pip and Magwitch meet in the churchyard from ‘Great Expectations.’

Isla Matthews said “We felt it was very important that the school’s English Department pay a special tribute to Charles Dickens and his work on the occasion of his Bicentennial, and to play our own small part in the nationwide celebration of this great writer. We hope that our assembly might have inspired some students to have a go at a Dickens novel for the first time, and even some staff! We intended the assembly to be an enjoyable and interesting way of making everyone in the school community more aware of Dickens’ importance in our literary heritage.”