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The Life of Elizabeth Fry

Assembly to accompany the book ‘A World of Difference’ by Bob Hartman, delivered free to schools in October 2017

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To consider the life of Elizabeth Fry.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the children if they have ever been shopping. If they have, ask them whether they prefer shopping for food, clothes or toys.

    Ask a few children to describe a time when they bought something they were really excited about.

  2. Ask the children, ‘What do we need if we are going to buy something?’

    Point out that if we don’t have any money, we cant buy the things we need.

  3. Show the image of the coins.

    Ask the children to look at the coins and identify how much each coin is worth.

  4. Show the image of the pile of £10, £20 and £50 notes.

    Ask the children to look at the notes and identify how much each note is worth.

  5. Explain that the amounts of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 are only available as coins. There was a time when £1 notes were used, but these went out of circulation in 1988.

    Show the images of the old £1 note, the old £1 coin and the new £1 coin.

    The £1 note was replaced by a £1 coin, and that £1 coin has since been replaced by a new £1 coin: money is always changing!

  6. Show the images of the old £5 note, the new £5 note and the commemorative £5 coin.

    Explain that the same is true with the £5 note: the old style of £5 note was replaced by a new plastic-coated version in 2016. £5 coins are available, but they are made as commemorative coins for special events. People tend to buy them to keep as souvenirs, so very few are used for shopping.

  7. Show the image of the new £5 note again.

    Explain that the man featured on the note is Sir Winston Churchill, who led Britain to victory in the Second World War.

  8. Show the image of the old £5 note again.

    Explain that the woman featured on the note is Elizabeth Fry and that the children are now going to hear all about her.

  9. Read the story of Elizabeth Fry found in the book A World of Difference, pages 49-55.

Time for reflection

Ask the children if they have ever seen something happening that they felt was wrong. Maybe it was someone being unkind in the playground or someone being rude to a teacher.

Ask the children to think about the following situations. After each situation, ask, What would you do?

Listen to a range of responses.

  • A child is playing in the playground, but then he trips up and starts to cry.

  • You hear someone being unkind to one of your friends.

  • You find out that your friend’s pet has died and she is very sad.

  • You hear about people in another country who don’t have enough food to eat.

Show the image of Elizabeth Fry.

Elizabeth Fry saw people in need and did something to help them. She went into prisons, helped the homeless, trained nurses and did many other things. She didn’t just stand back and do nothing: she did something to help.

At the end of the story of Elizabeth Fry, there was a question: ‘What can I do to change that?’

This is an important question for all of us to think about, because even when we are young, there are little things we can do that will change somebody’s day. We can play with a new child in school, we can look after someone who is sad, we can help with a sponsored event for a charity, we can do something!

Dear God,
Please help us to look for opportunities to help people every day.
Please help us to realize that little things matter very much.
Thank you for the example of Elizabeth Fry, who did everything she could to help others.
Please help us all to play our parts in changing the world.

Further resources

Further resources can be found at:

- Elizabeth Fry - five pound notes

Five pound notes: Old – New -

- Elizabeth Fry - clothing

- Elizabeth Fry - discussion questions

- Florence Nightingale - extra activities

Extra activities – Information about John Howard can be found at:

More resources about Elizabeth Fry are available at: and

Publication date: October 2017   (Vol.19 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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