An exciting new digital education resource to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day has been launched by Poppyscotland and will allow children across the country to learn about and celebrate this important milestone, despite the lockdown…

Poppyscotland’s new interactive resource will be delivered over the charity’s extensive social media channels and Learning website from now until 8 May. The innovative new educational tools have been created by Poppyscotland in partnership with the Scottish Government and Legion Scotland.

The launch of a new 40-page ‘VE Day 75 Schools Pack’ took place at Christie Park Primary School, in Alexandria, earlier this month and was expected to be used in classrooms across the country in the run-up to VE Day on 8th May.

However, with Scotland in the grip of a global pandemic, the Learning team at Poppyscotland has worked tirelessly in recent days to ensure that a host of resources are available online for pupils to use as part of their new home-working regimes – especially as the physical events surrounding VE Day itself have been postponed or cancelled.

The VE Day 75 resources contain an abundance of facts and stories about what was life was like for those living through the Second World War, and includes sections on evacuees, rationing and Churchill’s famous VE Day speech. Pupils are being encouraged to discover more about how the War impacted on their local community and to stage their own ‘virtual’ VE Day Party.

Scottish Government Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd, said: “During the current outbreak of Covid-19, educational continuity is of paramount importance and we have already seen an incredible response from all corners of the education system. Poppyscotland’s exceptional efforts during this difficult period will allow children throughout Scotland to continue to access these wonderful Second World War educational resources.

“It is vital that current and future generations have the opportunity to learn about the experiences of those who lived and served, both at home and abroad, throughout the Second World War. It is thanks to their efforts and sacrifices that we now have the freedom and relative peace that so many of us take for granted today.”

Gordon Michie, Poppyscotland’s Head of Fundraising and Learning, added: “The 75th Anniversary of VE Day is an important milestone in our nation’s history and it is vital that young people understand its significance. And, as we navigate our way through lockdown, what better way to be able to do this than for pupils to take part in Facebook Live lessons and ideas for activities at home that we have created.

“As well as ensuring future generations have an understanding of our past, we hope to stimulate contemporary conversations about the significance of remembrance and its importance to society today. The VE Day 75 resources are the latest way in which we are doing that, and we are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government and Legion Scotland for their input in helping us to develop such an innovative and comprehensive offering.”

Like many others, Second World War veteran Ian Forsyth had been looking forward to taking part in a special VE Day celebration on 8 May until the Covid-19 outbreak forced its postponement. However, Mr Forsyth’s incredible story features as part of the digital resource and he is delighted to see the unveiling.

He said: “While we cannot congregate to celebrate VE Day, it is heartening to know that we have something in place that will allow us to come together as a country and learn about what was an incredibly important moment in our history. I would encourage all youngsters to get online to find out more about what life was like 75 years ago.”

Dr Claire Armstrong, the CEO of Legion Scotland, added: “We had some very exciting plans for VE Day, including a huge parade and free open-air concert in Edinburgh’s Princes Gardens, which have been cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. With more than 100 Second World War veterans planning to attend, not to mention thousands of members of the public, this was unavoidable.

“However, these new digital resources will ensure the learning component of the VE Day commemorations can seamlessly switch from the classroom to family homes. Although we cannot meet face to face for the celebrations as planned, these resources will be a wonderful way for young people to come together and learn about life in World War Two and we can’t wait for them to share their photos, work and ideas on the VE Day 75.”