School in a time of war

This assembly is designed for use with KS3 and GCSE level pupils.

Advisory note for teachers: 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 a lot of fighting is going on there. While some neighbourhoods seem peaceful, fighting may be going on just around the corner.

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

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

Do you think that access to education is guaranteed for the children in the video? How does this compare to your situation?

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 in a time of war?

What other difficulties do you think the children in the video might experience? (Suggestion: future careers/lives? What would they do in their spare time?)

Why do you think countries have civil wars? Do you know of other civil wars today or in the past?

Why do countries go to war? What do you know about the war in Syria?

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