Pupils to plant poppies to mark the Great War

Pupils are sowing poppy seeds at schools across Sheffield to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

More than one million seeds will be sown across the city to bloom in November, in time for Remembrance Sunday.

Changes are being made to the curriculum over the next four years, mirroring the length of the conflict, and it is intended to stimulate discussion among teachers and pupils, with many younger pupils learning about the war for the first time.

The free seeds are being distributed by the council, following a donation from Unwins Seeds.

Children at Dore Primary were the first in Sheffield to take part, joined by council cabinet member Jackie Drayton, Colonel Geoffrey Norton of the Yorks and Lancaster Battalion and students from Notre Dame Secondary who visited battlefields in France and Belgium.

Coun Drayton said planting the seeds was “a great way of symbolising to this next generation the meaning and significance that war played in shaping the country we have today. When the seeds flower, it will be an incredible distinctive visual aid and will really bring history to life.”

In Sheffield, a group of teachers, parents, council and Museums Sheffield staff, has been set up to co-ordinate commemorations.

Notre Dame history teacher Shaun O’Connor said: “History should never be confined to dusty old books and being able to symbolise the First World War and bring it to life for pupils of all ages across Sheffield with these poppies is a great way of teaching this period of history and marking the centenary of the war.”

He added: “It is hard for this generation to comprehend just what an impact this war had, but it really did decimate families and communities. Poppies represented the sacrifice made by so many men, but we must not forget the role of women in this war as well”.