Workshops about the First World War for primary and secondary schools

Key Stages 1 and 2: Spies, Lies and Pigeons: Communications in World War One

This interactive workshop is designed to help students appreciate why we are marking the centenary of World War One. The theme is communication both between the home front and the trenches and also on the front line itself.

In the workshop pupils will;

  • read letters and messages sent to and from the Front Line
  • learn about censorship
  • find out how businesses like the Post Office met the challenge of a world at war, such as employing thousands of women to work in roles they had previously been considered incapable of doing (like delivering letters!)
  • handle original artifacts from WW1
  • learn about what the war meant to people at home
  • find out  about the role animals played in WW1 and participate in a reconstruction of the heroic flight of the carrier pigeon Cher Ami – awarded the Croix de Guerre for gallantry

handlingThis interactive workshop has been developed in association with the British Postal Museum and Archive who have provided a wealth of material for the workshop and an education pack. Click here to download the comprehensive resource Last Post: The Postal Service in the First World War. Versions of this workshop will be presented for each Key Stage, and the combined themes of history and communication will dovetail with many areas of the core curriculum.

While respecting and acknowledging  the appalling suffering of the war, the workshop will look at other aspects of war than the fighting itself. It will be entirely suitable for the sensitivities of Primary school children.

The presentation lasts 75 minutes. Audience maximum: 60.

Price £350 for one presentation, £250 for additional presentations

Year 6 and Key Stages 3 and 4: Meaning in the Mud: exploring the artistic legacy of The Great War

Roland & NatashaThis workshop looks at the way poets, dramatists, artists and novelists responded to the First World War 100 years ago, and how the legacy of that war continues even now to influence writing and other art forms like cinema.

The core of the workshop is the famous First World War poets, and the changes in style from the lyrical and conventional, like Rupert Brooke’s, to harsher and more experimental forms of writing like Wilfred Owen’s. We also look at the response of artists like CRW Nevinson and Paul Nash, the playwright Peter Whelan (The Accrington Pals) and the writer JRR Tolkein.

The workshop offers many opportunities for follow up and in particular provides an excellent starting point for an investigation with students of how this artistic response to the war has influenced writing and art ever since, from T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland, to plays like Waiting for Godot, novels like Catch 22, musicals like Oh What A Lovely War! films as different as Apocalypse NowThe Lord of the RingsWarhorse and the TV comedy Blackadder.

The style of this workshop allows a degree of flexibility in its content. So if there are any particular poems, novels, plays or films that you would like us to refer to in a performance in your school we would be very interested to discuss your ideas with you.

The presentation lasts 90 minutes. There are two versions depending on audience size:Acrington Pals1

Audience maximum 100 students: an interactive presentation  with lots of audience discussion and participation.

  • Price £350 for one presentation; £250 for additional presentations.

No audience maximum: mainly a performance piece, but still retaining a significant level of interaction.

  • Price: £500 for one presentation; £400 for additional presentations.

All fees exclude VAT and travel costs outside the London area



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