Chailey School are the first school in England to Twin with Flanders Peace Field
Monday 9th May 2016
This week has seen the official handing over of Chailey School’s ‘Peace Field’ plaque by Ernie Brennan, Managing Director of the National Children’s Football Alliance. Two years ago, the school took an enthusiastic lead in the national and international ‘Peace Field Project’ which called upon schools to dedicate playing fields to peace in commemoration of the Christmas Truces on the Western Front in 1914. This moment of history that inspired humanitarianism, rather than bloodshed and conflict, is the historical focal point of the project.
Since 2014 and also as part of their own ‘Chailey and The Great War’ project, the school has organised annual football tournaments for local primary schools on the field, attended by representatives of the NCFA and also The Royal British Legion. At the last of these events, Mr Brennan presented a ‘Poppy Ball’, marking this twinning with Flanders Peace Field and the Peace Village at Messines in Belgium (site of the 1914 Christmas Truce).
This plaque then marks the next stage, and a copy of the plaque will also be formally handed over in a ceremony at the Peace Village at Messines. Chailey will be the first British School to be represented there in this way, and it is delighted to be at the forefront of such a project.
The Peace Fields Project (PFP) provides opportunities of schools to twin their designated areas of play with one of the world’s most famous areas of play, Flanders Peace Field. In 1914 Flanders Field witnessed the First World War’s Christmas Truces where Allied and German soldiers put down their weapons, met in no-mans-land, shuck hands, exchanged gifts and played some football.
The historic event has become synonymous with acts of humanitarianism throughout the history of the world. School teachers, sports coaches and educationalists around the world recognise the value of the Christmas Truces in 1914.
Commemorating war and celebrating peace, through the PFP lends itself to cross-curricular activities, inter-generational relationships, citzenship, social inclusion and community cohesion.
Contextualising the events throughout the First World War helps young people contemplate the realities of war and in the case of the Christmas Truces, the role of sport in the First World War.
‘We are very proud to be the first school in the country to twin our playing field with Flanders Peace Field. Our Peace Field will promote friendship and sportsmanship in the spirit of the Christmas Truces.’ Lesley Young, Head Teacher.
The PFP Declaration pledges Chailey School’s commitment to peace and promoting fair play. Chailey School’s playing field is forever twinned with Flanders Peace Field, a legacy to the First World War and a modern day memorial to peace.
‘The 100 year commemoration of the First World War gives our school a legacy where all the games played on the peace field will advocate fair play.’ Tim Dudgeon, Assistant Head Teacher.
Chailey School’s PFP plaque will be displayed overlooking their peace field. A second plaque with Chailey School’s name on it will be displayed at Flanders overlooking the site of the 1914 Christmas Truces.
‘Chailey School is a forward thinking school. Its commitment to their pupils’ education is clearly witnessed in being the first school in England to twin their playing field with Flanders Peace Field.’ Ernie Brennan, Director, NCFA.
‘Twining Chailey School playing field with Flanders Peace Field will benefit all our pupils, staff and community. The PFP commemorating war and celebrating peace is a poignant way for our pupils to engage in history and their future.’ David Whelpton, Board of Governors, Chailey School.
Peace Field Football Tournament
Chailey School, Thursday 15th October 2015
It was time for Chailey School’s now annual ‘Peace Field Football Tournament’ on Thursday! This tournament is also part of Chailey School’s ongoing commemoration project on ‘Chailey and The Great War’, the school’s continuing links with local primary schools, and also an important nation-wide project with the National Children’s Football Alliance. Local primary schools from Ditchling, Fletching, Hamsey, Wivelsfield, Plumpton, Newick, Barcombe and Danehill all played with enthusiasm and considerable skill, with both sporting competition and fair play being key parts of the afternoon. Mr Dudgeon, Assistant Headteacher at Chailey School, welcomed Ernie Brennan, Managing Director of the NCFA, to start the event with a ceremony of handing over a ‘Poppy Ball’, marking the school’s playing fields twinning with Flanders Peace Field and the Peace Village at Messines in
Belgium (site of the 1914 Christmas Truce). The nation-wide Peace Field Project has invited schools not only to commemorate World War One and the Christmas Truce but also to celebrate peace through reflecting on a moment in history that inspires humanitarianism, and Chailey School is proud to be at the forefront of this and one of the first schools to be involved.
The afternoon, organized by Chailey’s Ms Davey, and refereed and run by the school’s Year 9 Junior Sports Leaders, saw some great football being played in a sporting spirit. In the end, Ditchling won the Year 3 and 4 competition (Wivelsfield and Fletching the Fair Play Award) and Hamsey the Year 5 and 6 (with Plumpton and Hamsey winning the award for Fair Play at that level).
Peace Field Project at Chailey School
Thursday 16th October 2014
Last Thursday (16th October), 120 primary school children from seven schools as well as many parents, alongside staff and students from Chailey School commemorated the Christmas Truce of 1914 in Chailey School’s Peace Field Football Tournament. As part of the National Children’s Football Alliance’s scheme to provide schools with the opportunity to twin their designated areas of play with the Flanders Peace Field and the Peace Village, Messines, Belgium (site of the 1914 Christmas Truce), the nation-wide Peace Field Project has invited schools not only to commemorate World War One and the Christmas Truce but also to celebrate peace through reflecting on a moment in history that inspires humanitarianism. Chailey School is one of the first schools to complete the process, and the school is developing a series of events and activities over the next four years as part of its own ‘Remembering the Great War’ project.
The tournament itself was officially opened by Chailey School headteacher Lesley Young, along with Nici Rice of the NCFA and John Hayward of the Royal British Legion who movingly read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. The matches were much enjoyed by those who attended on a warm autumn afternoon with the winners of the Year 5/6 trophy being Barcombe CoE PS, and Plumpton PS taking the Year 3/4 competition. In keeping with the spirit of the event, a ‘Fair Play’ award was an important element of the afternoon with Plumpton and Newick adjudged the best teams in this category.
The NCFA’s Nici Rice writes; The Peace Field Project at Chailey School started in perfect fashion with the sun coming out for the children on what was a rather cloudy and blustery day.
Following the official opening by Head teacher Lesley Young and a wonderful introduction by Tim Dudgeon (Deputy Head), a true gentleman John Hayward of the Royal British Legion humbled us all with a poignant moment of reflection with his commemorative reading of “In Flanders Field”. The side-lines were silenced momentarily followed by rapturous applause.
What a start!!…Parents, Teachers and children from seven local primary schools filled their very own ‘Peace Field’ and took part in a very special football tournament. Managed on the day by Louise and her willing team of students as part of their Leadership Skills Award, the games began in timely fashion and ‘fair play’ was demonstrated throughout, the children recognising that the only prizes on the day were smiles and handshakes.
It was an absolute privilege to be their guest and to represent the National Children’s Football Alliance on a day that genuine peace and togetherness was experienced by all. Well done Chailey! Looking forward to next year already!