Somme Centenary in Schools

This Friday – July 1st – sees the centenary anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. It will be covered live on the BBC on the day, during school time. You can read about the BBC’s schedule here.

I have been working with the National Literacy Trust and Barrington Stoke to create a range of resources for schools to use to help today’s children get their heads round what happened in France one hundred years ago.

I’ve done it because I have a book out about a group of footballers who fought at the Battle of the Somme, called Over the Line. But also because I think it is important for children today to know about the bloodiest battle of the First World War.

OTL-new cover

You can access the following resources via the links below:


Live Somme-based story

Over the last fortnight I have been writing a daily story ‘live’ on the National Literacy Trust website. It is partly about Euro 2016 and partly about the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. In its third and final week, beginning on Monday 27th June, the characters, who are year seven children, will be going on a Battlefield Tour of the Somme area with their schools, visiting war graves, battle sites and the official centenary commemoration at Thiepval. I have talked with three schools who have been on Battlefield Tours recently to try my best to get it right.


Videos from major Battle of the Somme sites

After finishing Over the Line, I revisited the settings of the book to talk about how each place had impacted my writing. Those settings include the English Channel, a soldier footballer’s grave, the Footballers’ Battalion official memorial and Delville Wood. They are also settings featured in this week’s live story.


Toolkit of School Resources

Our EURO 2016 toolkit also includes ideas for Somme related classroom displays, activities and assemblies to mark Centenary. It was published by the National Literacy Trust in May.


Other free resources relating to Over the Line

You can access free posters relating to the book here, as well as a discussion guide to the main themes and short classroom play scripts drawn from the novel. You can find all these resources via


I hope these resources are useful. Thanks for reading.