IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


First World War Centenary - Battlefield Tours Programme

A nationwide cultural programme for students and teachers to develop a personal connection to the First World War by visiting the battlefields on the Western Front (2013-2020).

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Background and impact

The programme was designed to provide the opportunity for a minimum of two students and one teacher from every state funded secondary school in England to visit battlefields on the Western Front between 2014 and 2020.

The battlefield tours were a key part of the Government's plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War - see background and impact of the First World War Centenary Battlefields Tour Programme.

Between 2014 and March 2019, the programme was delivered in conjunction with school tour provider Equity and won awards including Best Educational Product and Education Partnership of the Year.


2,005 state funded secondary schools participated in the tours. More than 50% of all state secondary schools took up the offer of a battlefield tours with the programme.

In addition, 2,800 schools registered with the programme and made use of materials and online CPD courses. 8,382 students and teachers (including 197 additional SEN carers) participated in the programme overall with an estimated legacy impact reaching over 15 million people around the world.


On our tours the students had the opportunity to interact with a variety of different historic sites including battlefields, memorials, cemeteries and museums, participate in remembrance ceremonies, and record, reflect and share their own experiences. 

We offered number of English Literature and the First World War tours to schools, which were designed to support those teaching or studying English.

“Wow! What an amazing trip from start to finish. The organisation of the trip was impeccable with every minute accounted for with engaging & thought-provoking activities for both teacher & students alike.”
Teaching Resources

Our aim was to support schools in developing genuine historical enquiries about different aspects of the First World War for use with their students in the classroom and on the battlefield sites. Through these their students gained a deeper understanding of the significance of the First World War and personal connection to those affected by it.  

Develop your teaching of the First World War by using our resources.

Interactive timeline 

Our interactive timeline is designed for use with your students. It covers all the major events from all over the world from 1914 to 1919 and contains images and films which together provide a comprehensive picture of how the First World War unfolded.

Historical enquiries

Select from our range of historical enquiries covering the significant aspects of the First World War. Each one of these is accompanied by classroom resources. Adapt these to meet your needs and challenge your students’ learning.

Legacy 110

A core component of this post tour engagement was the Legacy 110 initiative which encouraged each student to engage with at least 110 people in the local community.

The ambition was if 8,000 students ‘reached’ 110 people, a total of 880,000 people would be engaged – a number symbolically equivalent to those British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War.

Continuing Professional Development

To ensure the programme had maximum educational value, before participating in the tour teachers enrolled in a bespoke Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme designed by experts at the UCL Institute of Education.

These modules were originally created to support those teachers going on one of the nationally funded battlefield tours as part of the First World War Centenary commemorations between 2014 and 2020. They have been amended to support any teacher planning on visiting the battlefields.