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Bible’s translator helps pupils explore the Humanities AoLE

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

At Esgob Morgan Church in Wales School we have used the life of Bishop William Morgan, who translated the Bible into Welsh from Greek and Hebrew in the 16th Century, to develop the skills of enquiry and explore the breadth of the Humanities AoLE.

William Morgan 3We want to share what we have done to show how this gave us an insight into the What Matters, and created a richness of learning.

 In Humanities we looked at all the What Matters from progression steps 1 to 3.

We began with What Matters Statement 1: Developing an enquiring mind enables learners to explore and investigate the world, past, present and future, for themselves. Pupils investigated our locality, created questions and did primary research.

Our Big Question 1: Who was William Morgan and what was his legacy to Wales?

Year 5 used their enquiry skills to research the life and legacy of Bishop William Morgan.  Pupils had some prior knowledge which supported them in forming questions.

Pupils used their questions to compile letters to Cambridge University, St Asaph Cathedral, Local Records Office, The Bible Society, St Fagan’s Museum and the National Trust.

William Morgan 1This gave them great primary and secondary sources of information, especially the information from Cambridge University, where William Morgan attended St John’s College.

All pupils engaged with the information and used higher order reading skills of inference, skimming and scanning.  Discovering that William Morgan had played skittles when younger and enjoyed poetry helped them empathise and relate to the life of William Morgan.

What Matters 2:  Events and human experiences are complex and are perceived, interpreted and represented in different ways. 

Our Big Question 2: What motivated William Morgan to translate the Bible into Welsh?

Here were deeper questions of what motivated William Morgan to translate the Bible, including ‘Why the Bible was so important to William Morgan?’ Pupils discovered from letters that William Morgan had to be persuaded to continue translating the Bible, which he had found very challenging, and explored his continuing motivation to complete the task.

The pupils were asked ‘What do Christians believe God is Like?’  Exploring the layers of meaning in the parable of the Lost Son to help answer this question for themselves.

They also visited the cathedral where William Morgan had been Bishop, to see the William Morgan Bible and experience aspects of life during the Elizabethan reign.  This helped them understand the impact of the translation on the lives of the people of Wales.  This helped them understand how people had heard the Bible in the past, and to explore philosophical questions such as ‘What is it like to follow God?’

What Matters Statement 3: Our natural world is diverse and dynamic, influenced by physical processes and human actions.

Pupils were fascinated to discover that Bishop William Morgan died in relative poverty after spending the money on repairs to the cathedral at St Asaph!

 What Matters 4: Human societies are complex and diverse and are shaped by human actions and beliefs.

The pupils decided how they would present the information they had sourced about William Morgan.  Using digital competency skills they are creating a book, a digital map of the places he was connected to, and an animation of his life story.  Using art and design skills they are keen to create a game and family tree.  The facts are being sequenced into a timeline of the events in William Morgan’s life.

William Morgan 4The teacher is keen to share the pupils learning and has invited other teachers to a presentation by the pupils of their work, building on the collaborating and innovation strands of the new professional standards.



What Matters 5: Informed, self-aware citizens engage with the challenges and opportunities that face humanity, and are able to take considered, ethical and sustainable action.

The pupils considered how important William Morgan’s work was to the people of Wales and the Welsh language. They accessed the Bible creatively through art and stories to think about how people of the past such as William Morgan and people today are called to do God’s work.

Particular thanks to:

Pupils and staff of Esgob Morgan VC school

The Bishop and Dean of St Asaph Cathedral

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