Discussing a terrorist attack with children in the primary phases
Although we would normally advise that teaching and learning in PSHE education is built into a planned progressive programme, there are times when teachers may need to respond more immediately to unforeseen events, such as terrorist attacks. This guidance gives practical suggestions for ways that you can structure questioning, discussion or further learning about such events.
When a terrorist attack occurs, children will hear about it in a number of different ways, some of which may be inaccurate, untrue, or based on rumour or speculation. Wherever they happen, events may create feelings of personal anxiety and fear that children can find hard to articulate: giving them a context to discuss, question and express their thoughts and feelings will help them to process what has happened in a safe environment with a trusted adult. One context for this discussion could be within a PSHE education lesson.
This guidance is not intended as a script or lesson plan, but to help teachers answer questions, structure discussion and, if appropriate, extend children’s learning and understanding. Teachers should pick out what they feel is relevant for the nature and circumstances of an event, the age and readiness of the children, and their whole-school ethos and values.
Please note that when covering this topic with older children and young people you can use our generic framework for discussing a terrorist attack.
Date uploaded: 19 Aug 2017