News story

UK school children to commemorate centenary of the Battle of the Somme

600 students from the UK, Ireland and France will gather in Thiepval on 1 July for the centenary commemoration of Battle of the Somme

As living memory of what was one of the deadliest battles of the First World War fades, the programme – designed by the British Council - aims to raise awareness of the significance of World War One and the importance of UK-France relations in continuing peace and stability in Europe today.

Twenty four French, British and Irish institutions, 600 students and nearly 100 teachers have worked for over six months on the theme of the Battle of the Somme through educational projects and joint artistic productions.

The 600 students, aged nine to 15 years-old, will meet for the first time, 29-30 June 2016, in France for a series of interactive workshops and visits to historical sites. It will be the chance to create even stronger ties and commemorate together the centenary of the battle that marked our collective history and during which nearly a million soldiers of both nations lost their lives.

Students will then participate in the commemoration of Thiepval on 1 July 2016, as part of a wide programme of events taking place in the UK and France.

The schoolchildren will forge partnerships with schools in the Somme region in France to allow pupils from both countries to discuss their shared history, build friendships and to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, 100 years on.

The British Council has also created a special education pack for schools to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. The pack contains resources to help students develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the conflict. It covers topics including experiences of the Somme from around the Commonwealth, Pals Battalions, conscription, recruitment and remembrance today.

The programme is financed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the French Mission for the Centenary of the First World War, and delivered in partnership with the French Académie of Amiens.