Matheson welcomes WWI battlefield schools’ visit funding

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed the news that every secondary school in Scotland will be offered financial help to carry out educational visits to European battlefields as part of the Scottish Government’s plans to commemorate the centenary of the Great War.

A £2,000 grant will be made available to every senior school in the country to help them meet the costs of trips to Western Front battlefields and war graves so pupils can learn more about the sacrifice made by the many thousands from Scotland and elsewhere during the First World War.

The £1 million fund, which will be administered by Historic Scotland, which will span the six school years from 2013, comes after the First Minister announced a £1 million fund to allow communities across Scotland to refurbish and maintain their war memorials ahead of the commemorations.

Mr Matheson said;

“I very much welcome this announcement by the First Minister. The sacrifice made by the many thousands of Scots and those fighting for Scottish battalions during the First World War must never be forgotten, and it is absolutely crucial that we take the opportunity presented by the centenary to help young people develop a deeper understanding of the causes, consequences and horrors of war and the devastation wrought by the conflict on communities in all corners of the country.

“I would encourage the high schools within the Falkirk area to take advantage of this opportunity for their pupils and I have written to the heads of Denny, Falkirk, Graeme, Larbert and St Mungo’s High Schools to make them aware of this scheme and how to go about applying for this funding.

“Many of the soldiers who were sent to War in 1914 were not much older than school age and educational trips to see WWI battlefields provide an unforgettable experience for our young people, giving them a powerful insight into the trench warfare endured by millions on the Western Front”.