Evacuation
An Assembly Story for Primary Schools

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Set in East End London during the tumult of World War Two, this primary school assembly story follows six-year-old brothers Harold and Morris and their evacuation from their home life in the East End to sanctuary in Wales. The boys are fed up with having to make constant visits to the Anderson shelter and the inability to feel safe and secure in their own home due to the persistent bombing. This story provides curricular links to History, aiding multi-channel learning. When Morris declares that he wishes they didn’t live in London, Harold twigs that their parents have other plans. One morning, after a hearty breakfast, the boys are dressed up in their Sunday best, bags packed, and taken to the train station to meet with their classmates and teachers. Upon enquiry they are told that this is the evacuation- as organised by the government. A long train journey later, and the boys and other children step off the train and are escorted to a village hall where they are distributed amongst local residents as if for sale. The boys are growing increasingly upset as they are rejected by many of the locals, and they must support each other to stay strong. Eventually a seemingly crabby man pipes up to profess he can see a use for the “titches” up the chimneys! Harold and Morris are petrified and spend the entirety of the journey to the man’s house in tears. The sight that greets them when they reach their destination shocks them. The boys are led into a room with a roaring fire, an inviting banquet and warm pyjamas readied for them to get into. Best of all the man introduces the pair to his wife Mrs Evans who is overjoyed to have a chance at a family, and welcomes them with open arms. Harold and Morris realise that their trepidation was misplaced and are excited to discover that their near future is one where they will be safe, sound, and supported. This story teaches that sometimes the things we are most afraid of can turn out not to be so awful after all. This gives children listening confidence to step away from their fear. This is particularly pertinent during times of change- children nowadays often experience a multitude of changes from the process of growing up shifts in their living situation- e.g. moving house, parental separation, siblings leaving home. The positive resolution in this tale demonstrates that change and new beginnings don’t always have to be bad- giving listeners hope. Here children can also perceive that sometimes seemingly scary things they don’t want to happen have to so that they can successfully be removed from danger, encouraging them to learn to adapt and accept. This assembly story places emphasis and value on family relationships: from the care of Harold and Morris’ parents, to the welcome of Mrs Evans, to the supportive friendship the boys provide each other. Children experiencing times of upheaval and change can observe that just like Harold and Morris, they will be supported and comforted.

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