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Schools encouraged to explore "moral and ethical themes" in new guidance for Armistice Day

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New guidance on how children and young people might consider important themes including war, loss and reconciliation have been shared with schools in Oxfordshire ahead Armistice Remembrance.

Based on five-years of research carried out by Oxford Brookes University and Brunel University London, the news classroom materials provide creative activity ideas and links to useful resources, including guidance on how school leaders can approach discussing the ethical themes related to conflict.

The new guidance, which will be issued to schools throughout Oxfordshire, encourages schools to go beyond remembering only the great sacrifices made in battle, by engaging their pupils to discuss the wider impacts of war.

Dr Annie Haight, Senior Lecturer in Education at Oxford Brooks and co-leader on the project, said: “Our aim was not to suggest a best way to practice remembrance, but rather to help schools to explore ideas, views and experiences and to think about creative approaches which encourage children and young people to engage with the commemorations.”

The guidance includes asking pupils to consider:

  • Whether they are commemorating lost relatives, those from the wider community, soldiers from allied countries or anyone killed during times of conflict
  • How they feel about those who disagreed with war such as the conscientious objectors and why some people now choose to wear white poppies signifying peace
  • What impact war has on children, families and communities who are often caught up in conflict.

Dr David Aldridge, Director of Research at Brunel’s Department of Education, said: “Remembrance allows us an annual opportunity to remind our young people about the horrific realities of war, and have them consider for themselves why it’s still relevant and significant today.

“There are many important themes and ideas tied in with Remembrance – ethics, morals, our national identity – so it’s imperative that young people are encouraged to take an inclusive and critical view, and not only see it through the lens of the ‘winners’”

The new guidance pamphlet  – Planning Remembrance Day Events in Your School – is available for free download from the Oxford Brookes website.

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