British Values in Action: Protest and Punishment

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links: 

Promoting fundamental British values as part of SMSC in schools:
  • Enable students to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England. 
  • Encourage a respect for democracy and support for the participation in the democratic processes, including respect for the basis on which the law is made and applied in England.
  • Develop an understanding that there is a separation of power between the executive and the judiciary, and that some public bodies such as the police and the army can be held to account through Parliament, others such as the courts maintain independence.
KS2 History: A local history study
KS3 History: 'Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901'; Britain as the first industrial nation – the impact on society
KS2-3 Literacy - Writing for different audiences

Aim of resource:

To understand the reasons that workers sometimes go on strike. To understand that the police and army do not have unlimited power and can be taken to court to be held accountable for their actions.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of the reasons that workers may go on strike
Understanding that the police and army do not have unlimited power and can be taken to court to be held accountable for their actions

Discussion ideas:

The resource is designed as a starting point for discussion around British Values as part of SMSC. Teachers may wish to use the resource to prompt a ‘circle time’ type discussion linked to a history topic that pupils are already familiar with. Some questions are included in the text but groups may wish to expand their discussion with the following prompts:

  • The mill workers in Preston stopped working to show how angry they were about their wages being cut. How do you show you are angry about something? 
  • If you have a disagreement or something is unfair, who do you tell? 
  • Are any strikes or protests happening today? 
Methods of protest:
  • Are there any other ways of showing you are angry, like petitions, social media, letters, voting, etc.?
  • In 1842, most working men could not vote for Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent them. Do you think that the people of Preston would have needed to go on strike if they could have expressed their views through voting? Why/why not? 
  • Is it important to vote in Britain today? 
Power in society:
  • Mayor Samuel Horrocks was very powerful. Who do we know that is very powerful (in our school, in our community, in the UK, in the world)? 
  • Can someone ever be too powerful? 
  • What might happen then? 
  • Was it fair of Samuel Horrocks to say that people cannot gather together to say that they are angry? 
  • Have you ever been stopped from showing that you were angry? 
  • If people break the law, should the army try to stop them?
  • What are the dangers of sending the army in to a group of angry people? 
  • Are there any alternatives?
Responses to the memorials:
  • Have a look at the close-up of the soldiers on the statue. How would standing facing these soldiers make you feel?
  • Now have a look at the close-up of the protesters. How are the protesters feeling?
  • Who does the sculptor of the memorial want you to blame for the deaths? 

Activity ideas:

British Values activities
The above discussion questions are designed to facilitate debates around protest methods and the right to freedom of protest (Article 11 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Discussions may link to local, national and international events such as strikes, elections, single-issue campaigns and so on. 

The resources may inspire students to:
  • explore different means of protest
  • join in with a protest movement 
  • or even start their own protest
The British Library provides many resources to promote political activity in young people through ‘Campaign! Make an Impact’ (see related link at the bottom of this page). 

You may also wish to consider further the issues of accountability raised by this resource:
  • Is it right that soldiers could shoot and kill someone in this context, and not be punished?
  • When is it okay for a soldier to hurt someone in Britain today? 
  • What is in place in Britain today to stop any soldier or police officer hurting someone whenever they want?
History activities
A class may wish to consider issues of Remembrance raised by these events:
  • Compare the Lune Street Memorial to Goya’s painting The Third of May, 1808 (see the link below). Gordon Young, the sculptor who created the Lune Street memorial, was inspired by this painting. What is the same about the two pieces of art? What is different? 

  • The city of Preston chose to remember the Lune Street Protest through this memorial. What does this say about how the people of Preston remember the protest? Do they think it was self-deference or murder?  

  • Debate: Is it right to have a sympathetic memorial like this for such a controversial event? Consider what else we use memorials to remember in Britain. Are any of these memorials controversial? For whom? (E.g. pacifists may disagree with war memorials.)

  • Compare the Lune Street memorial to the US Marine Corps war memorial linked to below: How are the soldiers represented in each memorial? Why are the soldiers being represented differently?
Literacy activities
  • Write a newspaper article describing the events on Lune Street in 1842.

  • Imagine you are a striking worker. Create a leaflet or write a speech persuading other workers to go on strike.

  • Imagine you are a mill owner or the Mayor of Preston. Create a leaflet or give a speech persuading workers to stop striking and go back to work. 

Many of the objects and images shown within this resource can be found in the ‘Discover Preston’ gallery at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston. The memorial can be seen on Lune Street in Preston. 

View other relevant My Learning resources or scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.    

Document icon Learning article provided by: Harris Museum & Art Gallery | 
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