History KS1 / KS2: W is for Women

Newsreel of women working on the land and in factories is accompanied by a commentary from schoolchildren with key facts about the war work done by British women.

There’s a particular focus on the munitions factories, which employed more than 1 million women in the war years.

A dramatic monologue introduces Ida Petch, 22, a munitions worker.

She describes conditions in the factory and the hazards of working with explosive substances.

These chemicals caused blisters.

They also left the women’s skin tinged with yellow, earning them the nickname ‘canary girls’.

Ida shares her feelings about her work.

She’s glad of the money and proud to help with the war effort.

She also relishes her new-found independence and swears to maintain it once peace comes.

This clip is from the series WW1 A to Z.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 1

Ask pupils what they think the women shown onscreen did when peace came.

Did they continue with the jobs they had taken on during the war? What do the children think Ida Petch might have done when the war finished and the munitions factories shut down?

The children could draw pictures of the jobs they think Ida might have gone on to do.

Pupils could add captions, to explain their thinking.

Key Stage 2

Pupils could find out about a range of jobs taken on by women on the Home Front during the war.

Using books and websites as sources, pupils could script their own dramatic monologues for a woman war worker.

The women could describe her day, her thoughts about her job and her hopes for the future.

Curriculum Notes

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

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