Schools are being urged to take advantage of the government’s £5.3 million battlefields project.
The scheme is part of next year’s First World War centenary programme and is offering a range of resources for schools, including visits to battle sites in mainland Europe.
Almost 1,100 schools have now signed up with each institution to send two students and a teacher on a four-day tour to First World War battlefields and other notable sites.
The tours begin next spring and will run until 2019 and the idea is that the students and teachers who go can then pass on what they learn to their peers back in England.
The project has already been piloting its tours with pupils from 25 schools and visits will include places such as Ypres, the Somme battlefield, and the Flanders Field Museum.
Future tours will take in other sites, including the Indian Memorial at Neuve Chapelle which commemorates more than 4,700 Indian soldiers and labourers who lost their lives on the Western front and have no known graves.
The project is open to state-maintained schools in England and is being managed by the Institute of Education in London alongside the School Travel Service. It is mainly, although not exclusively, aimed at key stage 3 pupils and history teachers. Alongside the tours, the project hopes to develop a new interactive website featuring relevant resources, a CPD programme, and the chance to tailor a battlefield tour for your school – all free of charge.
Professor Stuart Foster, executive director of the First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, said: “Our aim is to develop an innovative and engaging First World War education programme for all schools in England with visits to the battlefield sites at the centre.
The programme is founded on two key ideas. First, that schools and pupils actively engage in genuine historical enquiries about different aspects of the war. Second, that pupils develop a deeper understanding and personal connection to those affected by the war.”
The project has been funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
For further details, visit www.ioe.ac.uk/research/87073.html CAPTION: Centenary: Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front of the First World War