Friday 24 June 2016


600 students from the UK, Ireland and France will gather in France on 1 July for the centenary commemoration of Battle of the Somme.

As living memory of what was one of the deadliest battles of the First World War fades, the programme – designed by the British Council - aims to raise awareness of the significance of World War One and the importance of UK-France relations in continuing peace and stability in Europe today.

Twenty four French, British and Irish institutions, 600 students and nearly 100 teachers have worked for over six months on the theme of the Battle of the Somme through educational projects and joint artistic productions.

The 600 students, aged nine to 15 years-old, will meet for the first time, 29-30 June 2016, in France for a series of interactive workshops and visits to historical sites. It will be the chance to create even stronger ties and commemorate together the centenary of the battle that marked our collective history and during which nearly a million soldiers of both nations lost their lives.

Students will then participate in the commemoration of Thiepval on 1 July 2016, as part of a wide programme of events taking place in the UK and France.

The schoolchildren will forge partnerships with schools in the Somme region in France to allow pupils from both countries to discuss their shared history, build friendships and to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, 100 years on.

The British Council has also created a special education pack for schools to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. The pack contains resources to help students develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the conflict. It covers topics including experiences of the Somme from around the Commonwealth, Pals Battalions, conscription, recruitment and remembrance today.

The programme is financed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the French Mission for the Centenary of the First World War, and delivered in partnership with the French Académie of Amiens.


Notes to Editor

For further information, please contact 

The Thiepval Memorial was built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It is the largest Commonwealth war memorial in the world and bears the names of more than 72,000 men who died in the Somme sector and who have no known grave.  

More information on the Thiepval Memorial can be found on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website.

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and



About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 16 per cent of our turnover which last year was £973 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.