History KS2: Thomas Barnardo

Thomas Barnardo tells the story of his life, descibing the events that led to him setting up schools and homes for London's street children.

The story is told in the first person, and brought to life with a mix of drama, movement, music and animation.

When he discovers the reality of life in London's slums, Barnardo sets up a free school for children; The Ragged School.

However, when he learns that many of the children he teaches have no home at all, he creates the first of many shelters for homeless boys.

One night, with all the beds filled, he turns a child away.

The next day he sees the very same boy frozen to death.

He makes a vow to never again turn a homeless child away, and spends the rest of his life dedicated to doing all he can to help London's poor.

This clip is from then series True Stories.

Teacher Notes

You could get pupils to use the information in this film to research, write, illustrate and create a biography of Dr Thomas Barnardo.

They could work in groups to consider the moral purpose of his work and the longer lasting legacy.

Deeper research about children's homes today could lead on from this.

The class could investigate a variety of children's charities today, including those local to them, and compare their work and history with that of Barnardos.

Curriculum Notes

This short film might be useful for teaching history at KS2 or older in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and at Second Level or older in Scotland.

More from True Stories:

Alexander Graham Bell
Florence Nightingale
Harriet Tubman
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Mary Anning
Edward Jenner
Elizabeth Fry
Grace Darling
Rosa Parks