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Grangewood Independent School, London

Key stage 1 pupils work during session at Grangewood Independent School © War Memorials Trust, 2018
  • County name: Greater London
  • Group/School name: Grangewood Independent School
  • Age group: 5 - 11
  • Group type: Years 1 and 2

Following visits in recent years, Grangewood Independent School once again approached War Memorials Trust to arrange a learning visit in the lead up to Remembrance Day.  The topic for the year 1/2 class at this time is Remembrance and the pupils normally visit their local war memorial as part of an act of Remembrance.  The visit took place on the Friday afternoon closest to Remembrance Sunday.  Years 1/2 had two short sessions with WMT’s Learning Officer either side of a whole school assembly.

The first session with years 1/2 began with a discussion about special days which pupils are familiar with and share with friends and family.  This led on to a discussion about Remembrance Day which covered what is being remembered and why, and what happens in the lead up to and on this special day.  Some local war memorials were then shown to pupils.  They were asked to describe what they could see in the photographs and additional information was shared with them including:

  • There were never any rules about what war memorials had to look like which is why there is such variety
  • War memorials were created by communities

This led into a whole school assembly which focused on Armistice Day 1918, the end of World War I.  The date 11th November 1918 was displayed and discussion took place around the importance and significance of the date.  The emotions experienced by people at home in Britain were discussed and images to highlight the contrasting emotions were displayed.  It was explained that the end of the First World War led to thousands of war memorials being created by local communities.  Examples from the local area were shared.  The assembly ended with the significance of Remembrance Day 2018 being discussed and a short reflection.

The second session with years 1/2 focused on the pupils’ local war memorial located in Central Park (www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/111374).  It remembers “East Ham’s bravest sons who fell in the Great War.”  Pupils were asked to look at the image of the war memorial and comment on what they could see.  These comments were written on post-it notes and placed around the image (pictured).  Words suggested by the class included 3 steps, different, tall, stone and wreath.  Further details were shared so that pupils could understand the story of the memorial.  A selection of key numbers including years were then shared with pupils:

  • 8 metres - the height of the war memorial
  • Grade II - the level at which the memorial is listed
  • 1921 – the year the war memorial was erected
  • 1,824 – the number of names on the war memorial
  • 100,000 – the number of war memorials in the UK

The opportunity was taken to measure out a distance of 8m in the classroom so that pupils could understand the scale of the memorial.  The stories of some of the 1,824 men named on the memorial were then shared with pupils including Lance Corporal Lewis Francis Herbert of the Grenadier Guards who lived in a house on Katherine Road, about 10 minutes’ walk from the school.

The session concluded with pupils making a creative response to what they had found out.  Many chose to create a poppy wreath and write some of the names from the war memorial or key numbers inside or around it.

It was a pleasure to work with the pupils at Grangewood Independent and engage younger pupils in the topic of war memorials.  The next time they pass through Central Park and see the war memorial it is hoped that they have a more developed understanding of why it was created and its importance today.

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