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Project Overview

Within and across the 24 Schools, Projects included:

  • Intergenerational Learning- the majority of Schools/ Projects conducted interviews or hosted social events with war veterans, and others, such as local residents and holocaust survivors, who lived through the war and looked at the impact on their lives, in order to create interest and involvement in the local community and the establishment of an intergenerational- local dimension to school life beyond the project. This dimension produced substantial material to construct a record of commemoration of the Second World War generation. They will also tried to emulate the Second World War experience through activities such as ration cooking, eating war time rations, holding tea dances/ parties or sharing a typical 1940's dinner with veterans as well as producing and putting on an operetta to perform for the local community.
  • Museums, Libraries, Archives and Curriculum Links- Schools/ Projects built relationships with museums (Imperial War Museum, Caen Peace Museum, Beth Shalom Museum etc), libraries and archives and exploited the information available to them from these valuable resources. They undertook curriculum activity in a number of areas to explore feelings, values and responses to the Second World War e.g. History, Citizenship, English, Geography, RE, Science, ICT, PE, D & T, Art, Drama, Music, French and German. These focussed/ challenged students values and attitudes and heightened their awareness and understanding of the need for and methods of commemoration e.g. the British Legions Poppy Appeal, the Work of the War Graves Commission and the National Arboretum and provided an opportunity for old and young to express and communicate their feelings in relation to this and related issues such as conflict, reconciliation and international cooperation.
  • Trips/Visits to Sites connected with the Second World War both in the UK and Abroad took place and amongst the many trips/ visits planned by Schools/ Projects, some examples were:

Abroad- trips to the Martyr Village of Oradour/ Limoges, trips to Caen Peace Museum, Arromanches, Bayeaux as well as the Landing Beaches and Cemeteries in Normandy and to the War Graves in Potsdam, Germany;

UK- trips to the Imperial War Museum both in London and Manchester including the 1940's House, a theatre visit to a Second World War play, several trips to visit the War Graves at Cannock Chase, the National Arboretum at Alrewas, Coventry Cathedral, the Beth Shalom Museum in Nottingham, Tamworth Castle, Hanley Museum, the Worcester Destroyer Association and local Airfields and Disaster Sites.

  • Commemorative Activities/ Events, Presentations, Exhibitions and Displays- numerous Schools/ Projects produced exhibitions and displays for their local community ranging from leaflets, static displays, drama, artwork, photo collages etc. Some innovative or bold examples were a 6m x 6m (approx) Mural, commemorative plaques for Arboretums, tree planting, a 3D ceramic representation of remembrance, participation in a bi-lingual service in both English/ German etc. These did not only serve a commemorative purpose, they also had an informative and educational role about typical local events, personalities, heroes etc.

Many of the Schools/ Projects started from significant local events and connections and explored their links to other dimensions and themes e.g. Fould Crater/ Italian POW's, Commonwealth Links (the role of New Zealanders, the role of ethnic minority soldiers from both the UK and commonwealth), former sites and sites of aircraft factories/ airfields (such as RAF Hednesford at Cannock Chase) and the roles of not only soldiers but factory workers, farmers etc. Some Schools/ Projects also looked at the impact of the Second World War on children through evacuation, the blitz, women through their war work and the impact of the Second World War on other European Communities. Other dimensions/ themes included a look at the Holocaust (trips to the Beth Shalom Museum as well as guest speakers such as Dr. Paul Oppenheimer (Holocaust Survivor)), investigations into propaganda used during the Second World War, war poetry, the role of Atlantic convoys as well as soldiers, sailors and airmen and their nationalities, ages etc on both sides of the conflict taken from rolls of honour, war graves, remembrance books and other sources.

Schools produced records of interviews, visits and events for display at schools and other local venues to commemorate the end of the Second World War resulting in stronger links with veteran organisations and as the case studies illustrate a valuable experience for all of those involved. Contributions from the 24 Schools' local Projects have now been converted into Online Digital Content/ Website Curriculum Resources, including text, audio, video and photographic images, for the teaching profession, learners and the general public and now form part of the Children and Lifelong Learning Directorates centrally led website project.