School in a time of war


This assembly is designed for use with KS2 pupils.

Advisory note for teachers: this film addresses mature topics, and may be better suited to older primary students. The situation is Syria is changing all the time; the report was shown on BBC News in mid-September 2012.

Script to introduce the film

This is a film about children who go to a school called Nahla Zaidan. The school is located in a city called Damascus, which is in Syria, a country in the Middle East.

Syria is a country at war, and because Damascus is the capital city (like London is England's capital city, or Moscow is the capital of Russia) a lot of fighting is going on there.

The war in Syria is a civil war - which means people from the same country disagree about how the country should be run, and are fighting each other for control.

Show film and use the discussion prompts afterwards.

What's it like going to school in a city at war?

Start with a small quiz. Ask: what do you know about Syria? How many people live there? What language do they speak? What religions are common there?

Syria quiz: answers

  • Population: 22.5 million (UN, 2010)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religions: Islam, Christianity

What are the similarities between the school in the video, and your school? (Example - what are the classrooms like? What is on the walls?) What are the differences?

Why is the report about this school? What happens when the reporter talks to the pupils?

Do you think that pupils should go to school when there is a war? Why? Why not?

The children in the video are happy to be at school. Do you think you take it for granted that you are able to go to school?

Can you imagine not being able to learn? What would it be like?

Do you think the children in the video are brave? What about the teachers?

Some areas of Damascus are dangerous. Are there any places near where you live that you are not allowed to go? Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a city like Damascus?

Do you know about any other wars?

Join the assembly debate

Use the comments box below to tell BBC World Class what you talked about in your assembly.

Every Thursday, we hold online debates where schools can share their opinions about our assembly topics.

We'll use your comments in the debate, and you can also join us on Thursday 4 October from 1100-1300 and debate your opinions about 'school in a time of war' with other schools around the world!

For full details on how to join the debate, click the 'Join the debate!' tab at the top of the page.


Sorry, there has been a problem displaying comments, we are working to fix this.

More Assemblies stories


Commonwealth Class Stories

Get involved

  • Image copyright Chris GraysonSign up

    Join Commonwealth Class and contribute to our monthly debates

  • Commonwealth Class - Assembly packsEducation pack

    Download your Commonwealth Class education pack

  • cclsComing up

    For more information about upcoming debates

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.