Teachers' notes

Aim of the resource

This resource is part of the M&S 'Making a Mark' suite, about individuals or initiatives that have made a significant impact within M&S in some way. The aim is to show how the actions of one person or group of people can cause changes that affect the lives of ordinary people. 

It can also be used to  generate ideas and inspire students to make changes in their own community, and to think about issues that matter to them, and how to communicate this.  


Curriculum Links 

  • KS1 History: The lives of significant individuals in the past.
  • KS2 History:  Changes in an aspect of social history.
  • KS2 & 3 Citizenship: The different ways that a citizen can contribute to the improvement of his or her community.
  • KS3 PSHE: Living in the wider world.

Learning Objectives

  • To learn about the history of M&S
  • To find out what life was like in the past
  • To think about what makes a situation fair or unfair
  • To think about how to make positive changes in your community
  • To be able to use archive documents (such as the marriage letter) to understand life in the 1930s

Activity ideas:


KS3 Citizenship

  • Research Amnesty International and discuss what it is about. Why is it important to have 'campaigning' organisations?
  • Read the  transcription of the responses to Flora's questionnaire and try and work out what the questions were.
  • Imagine you are the boss of a big organisation. What 'benefits' would you offer your employees? These could include good holidays, a company car or good pay. Remember that your company must be making enough profit to be able to offer any benefits, so think what proportion of your profit you are willing to give up to have happy staff, before you decide what to offer.
  • Imagine you are the boss of a large company in the past and you are planning an event to celebrate employees who had worked for you for 25 and 40 years? What would the event be like, who would be invited, and what would you give as thank you presents?
  • Today there are rules about Health and Safety that organisations have to follow. Make a list of as many health and safety rules you can think of that will apply to a large shop.
  • Now think about staff welfare, what do you think this means? How is it different from health and safety?


KS2 History


  • Find out more about the Great Depression in America - when did it happen, what caused it? Use the interactive from the link below to understand what it was like for a boy of ten at the time.
  • Using the same interactive, choose one of the family members and write a diary as if you were that person, explaining how hard life was for the family.
  • Miss May Ness received a gift from M&S when she got married. Find out how much £4.4.0d would be worth in today's money by using the link below.
  • Ask different people in your family how old they were when they started working, and what the conditions were like in their first job.
  • Ask your teachers how working conditions for teachers have changed since Victorian times to now. This resource about a Victorian teacher's Log Book might give you some clues.
  • Find out what different kinds of jobs women did during the War.
  • Find out what the Blitz was and when and where it happened.
  •  Then imagine what it was like being in the Blitz and write a letter to a friend describing your experiences.