About the Project

What is Schools Project on Poland?

Schools Project on Poland is a great way for young people to get to know more about Poland, the history of Poland, its links with Britain and the contribution of Polish people to the UK. It is a project in three stages and you can do any or all of them.

Stage One – Context: How have Polish people enriched my life?

Stage Two – Connect: What can we learn from talking to Polish people?

Stage Three – Community: How can we make a difference in our community?

Who is the project for?

The project resources have been devised for use in secondary schools, but can easily be adapted for use in a primary context, or in a less formal educational setting. Some teachers are in schools where there is a strong connection to Poland, others may have little direct connection. These resources are suitable for students in all settings. They can be used, for example, in a History or PSHE class in two or three lessons, or they can be used as part of a larger school project. Suggested ‘routes’ through the resources are provided, so that teachers can adapt them to their needs. In addition, materials are in an editable format.

How does the project link to the curriculum?

Schools are required to support students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
development in all parts of the UK. In England this is part of the government’s requirement for schools to promote so-called ‘British Values’ and across the UK there is a concern for schools to play a role in developing greater social cohesion. These activities support this aspect of the school curriculum and could also meet some of the requirements of the History, English or Geography curricula.

What resources are provided by the project?

There are three stages of activity and the resources are divided as follows:

Stage One – Context

Stage Two – Connection

Stage Three – Community

Please see the ‘Materials’ section for details about how to register and receive all the resources you need to run the project with your students.

What is the background to the project?

Poles are now the UK’s largest foreign-born community, and Polish is the most commonly spoken non-native language in England and Wales. Some Poles live in areas where other Poles live, speak mostly Polish, eat mostly Polish food, and visit Polish supermarkets, grocers, pubs, churches and cultural centres. Many others are fully integrated into the wider community, working and socialising with people from a variety of backgrounds. Many people feel that this kind of cohesion is important in any country so communities know more about each other, including their shared histories.

In March 2018 the UK Government stated:

“Social mixing is recognised as an important driver for integration. Where there are limited opportunities for meaningful social mixing within school, then it is vital that children and young people should have the opportunities outside school. … Meaningful social mixing is more likely to happen in settings where people from different backgrounds come together for a purpose such as work, school, social action, or a social or civic event.” (p30 Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper – HM Government, March 2018.)

2018 is the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. Between 2018 and 2021 there will be events to celebrate the centenary in Polish communities around the world. Since independence in 1918 there have continued to be rich and diverse connections between Polish and British people. This website has been put together to provide teachers with resources to help their students learn about these connections both past and present, and to enable students in British schools to learn more about Poland, Polish people and Polish culture.

How can we help?

If you would like to develop a connection with a Polish student group, then the Warsaw-based Centre for Citizenship Education is offering to help facilitate this. Please contact the organisation directly using this e-mail address and explaining that you are part of the Project Poland initiative: jedrzej.witkowski@ceo.org.pl.

If you have any questions about how best to implement the project stages with your students, please contact Helen Snelson via e-mail: hsnelson2@gmail.com.

And finally…

Every effort has been made to use material copyright cleared for non-profit use. If you notice a problem, please contact us.

We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Kasia Barczyńska, Richard and Louise Spilsbury and Neal Hoskins in the initial development of this project.