Our First Refugees
Huguenots were the first refugees. Unlike any other group of immigrants, they were forbidden from leaving France. Over 250,000 risked capture, prison, torture and even death for the sake of freedom.
A tried and tested 90 minute lesson for Huguenot Refugees – From Strangers to Citizens can be downloaded here, which covers history (distinct topic after 1066), literacy (defining difficult concepts) and citizenship / British values. It also encourages soft skills through discussion. There is a KS2 lesson plan (probably best for years 5 & 6) and a powerpoint that can be adapted for both:
Sensitivity: Stories of persecution and refugees, there may be members of the class who have fled war torn countries or persecution. The role play, for example, may actually be lived experience for some students. This is a live current topic and may raise difficult memories and emotions. It is, however, useful for embedding soft skills around discussion and empathy.
This hour length lesson plan and presentation around The Portal Boys uses the biographies of two young Huguenot boys to make the plight of the Huguenot refugees come alive and make personal connections. It is suitable for Key Stage 2 – years 3 and 4 – but could be adapted for Key Stage 2 / year 2.
Read Judith Gilton’s letter to her brother where she describes her harrowing journey from France to America (by kind permission of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina). Another letter written by Louis Thibou and can be found at http://www.teachingushistory.org/lessons/Thibou.htm.