History KS1 / KS2: C is for Conscription

Newsreel and commentary describe how Britain introduced conscription in 1916.

The measure boosted troop numbers by two-and-a-half million, but had a huge impact on family life.

A dramatic monologue introduces Elizabeth Draycott, housewife, widow and mother, who tells us how her life has been affected.

Her appeal against the conscription of her youngest son has been rejected and she fears for the survival of her family.

This clip is from the series WW1 A to Z.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 1

Ask pupils to suggest things Mrs Draycott could pack for her son Stanley, to help him on his journey to the front and to remind him of his home and family.

The children could draw the contents of a bag or mime packing things in a knapsack.

How do they think Mrs Draycott and Stanley felt about his conscription?

Key Stage 2

Pupils could discuss the impact they think conscription had on families.

Do they think conscription was a fair measure? A necessary one? What do they think the consequences of not introducing conscription might have been?

The class could work together to draft a reply to Mrs Draycott’s letter, explaining why her appeal has been turned down.

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching History at primary school ages for Key Stages 1 and 2, or First and Second Level.

More from the series WW1 A to Z

B is for Battalions
D is for Diary
E is for Empire