KQ3 Smart task What did people really think of Florence Nightingale?

This lesson was taught by Judith Holmes, of Awbridge Primary School, Hampshire.  Judith has supplied QCA with a number of her high quality lessons and planning.  They can be found in the ‘History Matters/ It worked for me’ part of the site.   In this lesson she describes how she used role play very effectively to illustrate the different attitudes people held towards Florence.

Learning objectives

  • children can respond in role showing awareness of differing attitudes to Florence
  • they can judge whether each group would approve of giving Florence a medal
  • they can think about how they would summarise her achievements on the reverse of a medal.


I started by slowly revealing a picture of the medal awarded to Florence and asking children to speculate what it might be as the various parts are revealed.

I asked the question; “Do you think Florence really wanted it ?” (Many rushed in with the obvious answer but a few were able to recall that Florence shunned public acclaim when she returned to England.)Then, I asked whether they thought Florence deserved the medals.  (The Royal Red cross was given by Queen Victoria in 1883 and the Order of Merit by Edward VII.)


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