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Peace Matters Index
ONLINE contents
selection from paper publication

- War without end
- Under watchfull eyes
- Educating for peace
Well dressing
- What will we be remembering

A number of teaching and study resources relating to Remembrance Day are available:

- Suggestions for assemblies
- Thoughts on remembrance Day
- A Tale of Two Poppies
- White poppies - a wallchart
- Two poems; their story and possible meaning




Refusing to kill

Refusing to Kill, the PPU’s popular publication about conscientious objection and human rights in the First world war has been republished, updated and now includes two new chapters about women supporters and activists at the time.

This publication will be of interest to anyone wanting to better understand this chapter of the struggle against war and comes with related online resources for teachers and pupils.

Find out more or buy







I feel that I am on what is sometime described as a steep learning curve, which, although rather a cliché, is probably appropriate because since 21 July 2014, I have been employed by the Peace Pledge Union as a Peace Education Officer. My primary aim is to facilitate an increase in the use of teaching and learning activities and materials to enable pupils in secondary schools in the UK to gain an understanding of pacifism and anti-war perspectives.

Obviously, this is a mammoth job but I am extremely fortunate in that the PPU has, over a number of years, previously developed some excellent materials and activities; many of which are found on the learn peace section of the PPU web site. In fact the Peace Pledge Union web site is an absolute ‘treasure trove’ of materials suitable for use in schools. In essence, my job is to ensure schools can easily access this fantastic resource so that young people can be provided with different narratives to enable them to challenge some of those apparent common-sense notions that accept the inevitability of wars and the use of the military as a legitimate tool of foreign policy.
My first specific task has been to review the teaching and learning notes that accompany the PPU publication Refusing to Kill. This publication a history of conscietious objection and human rights in the First World War has just been re-published (price £10) and this is, of course, timely what with the burgeoning interest in all matters relating to the ‘War to End All Wars’! That review is now complete and the accompanying teaching materials currently being uploaded to the PPU web-site includes an activity that will allow pupils to assess the relative ‘heroism’ of conscientious objectors against that displayed by military personnel.

Alongside this work, we have recently been having discussions about the Governments £5.3 million initiative to enable two pupils and one teacher from every state funded secondary school in England to visit the WW1 battlefields on the Western Front between 2014 and 2019. This programme of battlefield tours is a key part of the Government’s plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. We have met with one of the key organizers, from the Institute of Education, to discuss the educational work of the PPU and more specifically how the PPU could potentially contribute an anti-war perspective to this initiative. Initial deliberations over the Summer have been positive and it is hoped that spaces will be made available to enable key teachers to consider the anti war movement prior to 1914 as well as the role of conscientious objectors from 1916 onwards. Watch this space!

Now that the new school year has started and teachers and pupils have returned to school I am now trying to set up meetings with a range of History, Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Citizenship and English Literature & Language teachers to share with them some of our resources and materials and get feedback as to their efficacy. Obviously Refusing to Kill and its accompanying teachers’ notes is one of our primary products and the few teachers with whom I have thus far communicated are all very positive about its quality. It is, however, apparent that the restrictive changes to the National Curriculum, recently introduced by Michael Gove, have made it more difficult for concepts such as pacifism to be considered in a broad based thematic fashion. That said I am confident that space will be found and my recent visit to the school that features in the Channel 4 programme, Educating the East End which entailed discussions with a couple of Heads of Department confirmed that all is not lost.

Other strategies that we will be pursuing in the next few weeks and months includes the development of ‘bite sized’ chunks of learning that teachers can squeeze into units within the Curriculum in order to broaden existing schemes of work. With that in mind I am looking to develop the idea of telling a Story of Pacifism in 100 Objects with a coherent presentation of information and materials relating to each object being able to stand-alone or as distinct parts of the broad theme. In relation to deciding on the objects themselves I would appreciate hearing from you about any ideas you may have.

In order to safeguard some of the breadth of their Curriculum some schools are suspending their ‘normal’ timetables for a whole school day when all pupils participate in activities related to a particular topic or concept. I have already had some initial discussions with a colleague working across Harlow as to how the PPU could contribute to such an initiative. Again PPU materials, activities and resources already exist that could be organised into supporting a whole school day programme that looks at Pacifism and related matters.

I regard it as an honour to be appointed as the Peace Education Officer for the Peace Pledge Union and although I appreciate the enormity of the task ahead of me I have always welcomed a challenge and I look forward to continuing to drive forward this exciting work. Should anybody want to talk to me in more detail about what I am doing I’ll be very pleased to hear from you so don’t hesitate to contact me.

Peter Glasgow

Peace Pledge Union, 1 Peace Passage, London N7 0BT. Tel +44 (0)20 7424 9444 contact   |  where to find us