Smart Task: Evacuation: was it worth it?

Many primary schools look in detail at evacuation in World War Two and you may not want to go over old ground again but there is nothing to stop you taking student’s understanding to a deeper level. In addition, to looking at contrasting interpretations and issues of diversity of experience, you might also like to pose the more challenging question – Was it worth it? Students could be asked to make the case for both sides. This will encourage not only creative thinking, perhaps with deBono’s Thinking Hats, but also offer students an opportunity to wrestle with an unusual question. In doing so, they should be encouraged to raise questions of their own. How much did it cost? Is there any evidence that it reduced deaths? What unexpected side effects were there?

The list of the most commonly-used arguments is given below. By the end of KS3 students should certainly be thinking about the effects on society as a whole and should be able to place evacuation in the wider context of sweeping post-war reforms in education and health.

Was evacuation worth it? The arguments

Arguments AGAINST

1. It cost nearly £10 billion which could have been spent on warships,

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