Event - Miss O'Beirne's Article on British Values

24 March 2015

After the success of Year 6’s topic on World War 2, Miss O’Beirne was contacted by the DfE (Department for Education) who are responsible for the education of children in England, and asked to write a piece about the topic.

The DfE had seen the wonderful photographs of the children’s V E day party and contacted the school about writing a piece to share with other schools. This is a great achievement for Christ Church, as we work very hard to provide the children with exciting and memorable experiences through the curriculum. It also fits in perfectly with promoting British Values in school by encouraging children to develop their self esteem and confidence as well as gaining further knowledge and respect for other people.

You can read the article here:

The latest from the DfE
March 24, 2015.

How will you be celebrating VE Day on 8th May in your school?

Maddison O'Beirne, a year 6 teacher from Christ Church C of E Primary School, Birmingham, shares her ideas:

With the implementation of the new national curriculum, I have been very lucky this year as I have been able to choose my own topics based on the guidance from the Government. When looking at my curriculum map over the summer break, I decided that I would use the statement 'A significant change in British History' and apply it to the topic 'WW2.'

At Christ Church Primary, all of our topics have a WOW start and a GRAND finale. The WOW start is to really engage the children in their topic, which may involve changing the classroom around, teaching outside or in another area of the school using drama and props etc. The grand finale is a way of allowing the children to share what they have learnt at the end of their topics – through something like a play, creating stories for the library, or having a themed event.

For our Grand Finale we created our very own V E day celebration to mark the end of the war in Europe. For weeks pupils helped to create metres and metres of bunting which we printed online and cut out pictures of Winston Churchill. They made celebratory rosettes for parents to wear and banners and posters to decorate the hall.

I taught pupils to make scones, and they used maths and measure to weigh out their own ingredients. We made tuna and cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course) and I roped my mom into making 100 Spitfire-shaped biscuits! All of the wonderful food was laid out on tiered cake stands and tea was served to all of the parents who came.

The pupils treated them to a series of war-based songs that we had been learning in music, including big band numbers and 'Pack up your Troubles.' Then for their big number: a 1940's swing dance which we had been practicing in PE for weeks. Boys and girls paired together learnt traditional 1940's dancing with spins, kicks and jumps. They were incredible!

The children loved the day, it was an excellent opportunity for them to share all of the facts they had learnt over the term. All of the parents and visitors commented on what a lovely afternoon they had and how knowledgeable the children all were. The elements which worked particularly well were:

  • 1940s swing dancing
  • 1940s cooking - 'Making war time soups'
  • Looking at rationing in cross curricular maths
  • Looking at artefacts from the museum and guessing what they were - a baby's gas mask and helmets for instance
  • Creating silhouettes of the Blitz in art
  • Making British bunting and banners
  • Biography of Anne Frank
  • Stories with flashbacks 'My life during the war'
  • Diary entries from an evacuee
  • Reading 'Once, Next and Then' by Morris Gleitzman, which are great stories about Germany.