Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Curriculum Links:

  • KS4 Citizenship: Human rights | Diversity in the UK
  • KS2/3 English Biography, Creative writing, Report writing
  • KS2 Geography: Locational Knowledge
  • KS3 History:  WW1


Discussion Ideas

  • What do you think it means to be a British citizen?
  • What reasons might people have for wanting to a) migrate to Britain and b) emigrate from Britain?
  • If you had to leave your home as a refugee and could only take one small bag with you, what would you take and why?
  • What sort of impact do you think refugees can have on communities?


Activity Ideas


  • As a group 'mind map' what sort of problems a refugee would face when leaving their country (e.g. different food, weather, culture etc). Decide what you think they might miss most.

  • Find out what the main differences are between a refugee and an asylum seeker, and also between economic and political migrants.


  • Write a letter from the viewpoint of one of the children in this photo to a friend left behind in Belgium. Tell them about your new life in Nelson, Lancashire. Think about how they might have felt about leaving Belgium and how their living conditions in Britain would be different.
  • Imagine you are a refugee today, arriving in Britain after fleeing your home country.
    - What country might you be coming from?
    - Write a report of your escape and where and how you find refuge.
    - For inspiration, you could look at a real life true story of Sayed, a young boy fleeing the Taliban.


  • Find out where Belgium is within Europe and which countries surround it.
  • Why was Belgium strategically important during WW1? Why was it necessary for the Allied forces to have control of the coastal areas?
  • Imagine you are a refugee today from Syria trying to get to Britain overland. What route would you take to get here?


  • Research towns and cities in Lancashire, and find out which ones besides Preston took in WW1 Belgian refugees and, if possible, whether any of their descendants still live there?
  • Find out more about how refugees have been treated in the UK during the twentieth century, for example the 'Windrush' immigrants of the 1960s, or Kenyan or Ugandan Asian immigrants of the 1960/70s.
  • The people of Preston would have been involved in the war effort in different ways, including looking after Belgian refugees, fundraising, and making up parcels for Prisoners of War. Compare and contrast similar charitable work today, e.g. Children in Need and Comic Relief.


How I would use this resource? - KS3 History teacher

Particularly useful for Citizenship, especially considering the responsibilities of countries to each other and their citizens. In History it could also be used in the context of immigration and a multi-cultural society. Also could form part of a detailed look on the Home Front and how everyone became involved.  


This resource is part of a WWI Centenary Project called 'Preston Remembers', funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. Other resources created for the project are:


Dick, Kerr's Ladies FC

WW1 Food Shortages and Rationing

WW1 Preston Free Buffet

WW1 Prisoners of War from Lancashire Regiments