The First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours programme, designed to engage school students in active commemoration, has been extended to offer free literature themed tours to all secondary and middle schools in England.
The literature tours are a new and additional element to the government funded programme which is already being run by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and school tour operator Equity. The tours give students tangible insight into the lives and experiences of those who fought the Great War, a genuine understanding of its historic importance and why it remains enormously relevant today, 100 years on.
Professor Stuart Foster, Executive Director of the IOE’s centenary programme, said: “The success of our award-winning Battlefield Tours programme has prompted us to add another dimension to the offer. Teachers and students who have participated in our programme so far have been intrigued, challenged and inspired by the issues raised during the compelling site visits. The range of projects they have undertaken as a result of the tours has been hugely impressive, and we are confident that a specific focus on relevant English literature will add an exciting and powerful element to the programme.
“The work of the First World War poets and other authors is rightly part of the national consciousness. Indeed, it is particularly resonant and powerful for young people to consider their poignant words whilst standing in the very places which moved and inspired them 100 years ago.”
Schools interested in taking up a tour can send one teacher and two pupils on a four-day trip that will explore themes raised by writers including RC Sherriff, Michael Morpurgo and
© Ben Gurr
JRR Tolkein - as well as all the best known, iconic First World War poets such as Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon. The tour will visit locations that inspired their works, including a day at the Somme, and culminate in attendance at the moving Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate.
Schools who take up a tour will travel with others from their region in the company of a serving soldier from the British Army, as well as expert Battlefield tour guides with a war literature specialism.
There are several tour departure dates available, including Friday 27th October 2017, Friday 16th February 2018, and Sunday 25th February 2018. However, any school wishing to take up the Autumn tour this year, will also have the chance to attend a special production of Journey’s End staged at Ypres’ iconic Ammunitions Dump. They will also take part in a pottery workshop to contribute to the development of the Belgian government’s new official art installation, to honour all who fell in Ypres a century ago.