Emma Lee-Potter from the Independent wrote about her experience of joining a group of pupils on their recent Battlefield Tour.
Our battlefields tour programme recently received extensive coverage in The Independent. Journalist Emma Lee-Potter joined a group of pupils on one our tours and you can click on this link to read her full account.
The article mentions some of the programmes key objectives and highlights “that over the next five years, 4,000 secondary schools will send two pupils and a teacher to the Western Front to visit key battlefield sites, memorials, cemeteries and museums. As well as seeing the landscapes in northern France and Belgium where the war was fought, the students are being encouraged to research the lives of local soldiers and to think about the social, economic and political consequences of the First World War”.
Recognising that the programme is available to all state funded secondary schools in England, it will give all teenagers a chance to not only visit the battlefield sites, but develop a deeper understanding of the First World War. It goes on to highlight the programme’s aim to create an enduring legacy by empowering teachers to deliver more effective lessons and future battlefield tours as well as supporting schools in establishing commemorative projects.
One teenager taking part on the Tour, Phoebe Edmondson, from Saint Martin's Catholic Academy in Stoke Golding, near Nuneaton, spoke of her experience at Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ypres, which is the largest British and Commonwealth War Cemetery in the world. She comments "We are studying the First World War at school, but coming here rather than reading about it in a textbook makes it all real. You realise that these aren't just graves. These were real people, with real life stories...”.
Our national education co-ordinator for the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme Simon Bendry, who led the tour is quoted talking about the impact of the Battlefield Tour “The legacy for the kids is that they've been here and they will tell others what they have seen and why it is important," going on to state "But the genuine legacy is the teachers who will go back into the classroom with new ideas and new approaches and teach hundreds more students."