We are very excited to be running our inaugural English Literature themed First World War Battlefield Tour this autumn. This extends the programmes' reach to offer free literature themed tours to all secondary and middle schools in England who have yet to take up one of the free government-funded centenary tours.
The literature tours are a new element to our national education programme, which engages students in active commemoration of the First World War. The tours give students tangible insights into the lives and experiences of those who fought the Great War and a genuine understanding why it remains enormously relevant 100 years later.
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 offering. 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 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 an expert Battlefield tour guide with a war literature specialism.
There are several tour departure dates available, including the pilot tour on Friday 27 October 2017, with further tours departing on Friday 16 February 2018, and Sunday 25 February 2018.
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.
To register your school for the new English tour, click here