Five ways to mark VE Day in the classroom

Every year the 8th May marks the anniversary of VE Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe.

At 3pm on 8th May 1945, The Prime Minister Winston Churchill made a radio speech to tell Britain that the war was over. This resulted in a nation rejoicing with men, women and children throwing parties, lighting fires and ringing bells. The skies were also full of planes marking victory high above us.

There are plenty of celebrations planned to mark this anniversary and there is no reason your school should feel left out! Here are a few of our top suggestions to get your pupils thinking about the end of the war and how it was marked.

“Talk the talk” of a British hero

Act out Winston Churchill’s iconic speech in the classroom or a special assembly. You can find the transcript here.

Black and white picture of Winston Churchill

My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It’s a victory of the great British nation as a whole.

Throw a party!

Recreate the nationwide celebrations of 1945 in your school, ask pupils to bring something for a big picnic, invite some veterans along and even play some wartime tunes! Here are a few tips for a lastminute party.

Union Jack bunting for a VE Day party

Immerse yourselves in wartime Britain

With a now>press>play experience children get the chance to really learn what it was like to live during the war. They will be evacuated to Hertfordshire, help the war effort by digging for victory and dance in the streets when the war is over.

Picture of a suitcase, from Now Press Play's World War 2 Experience. Text reads: Open your suitcase and start to pack your clothes into it. As you do, think about leaving your family. You've never been away from them before.

Hold a wartime assembly

This could include some geographical pointers, a bit of history, some ‘real life’ stories from the war or even a wartime poem. If your school puts on a special assembly you could even join in with the national 2 minute silence at 3pm. The British Legion has some ideas for what to include.

A red poppy stuck to a war memorial to honour the dead on Armistice Day.

Make a newspaper front page

Which stories should be included? Would you include the personal stories from people in the UK or would you stick to politicians? The BBC has some great archive on news footage taken from that day to get you inspired.

Two women sit in a row reading newspapers.

Support a veterans’ charity

There are lots of charities that support veterans of WW2 but also more recent wars such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you find one to raise money for in your school?

Here are some suggestions:

Cassiobury Court offers free help and advice for veterans who suffer with addiction and mental health problems.

Help for Heroes provide lifelong support to Service Personnel and Veterans with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces.

Crowds cheer on British army veterans as they walk through London.