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The Life of William Wilberforce

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 William Wilberforce.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the book A World of Difference by Bob Hartman, delivered free to schools in October 2017. The story of William Wilberforce can be found on pages 41-47.

  • You will need an image of William Wilberforce and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at:

  • Have available an image of the Houses of Parliament and the current prime minister. You will also need the means to display these during the assembly. Examples are available at:

    - the Houses of Parliament, available at:
    - Prime Minister Theresa May, available at:

  • Optional: you may wish to have a copy of the class or school rules available to read from during the assembly.


  1. Ask the children what they think a ‘rule’ is.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. If you have the class or school rules available, read out some of them. If they are unavailable, ask the children to think of rules that could be important in school. Examples could include being kind to everyone, not shouting out, not running in the corridor and so on.

    Explain that rules are important if everyone is to have the best experience in school. If everyone behaved in any way they wanted and was allowed to do absolutely anything, school would be unsafe and chaotic.

  3. Show the image of the Houses of Parliament.

    Ask the children if they know what building is shown.

    Ask if any of the children have been to London and seen the Houses of Parliament.

    Explain that the government meets in the Houses of Parliament. Among other things, the government makes laws (rules) for the UK. These laws aim to make our country a better place to live.

  4. Show the image of the current prime minister.

    Explain that the prime minister is the head of the UK government. The government is a group of people who have been elected to run the country. Parliament is made up of people who have been elected (chosen) by voters living in different parts of the UK to represent their interests and concerns.

  5. Show the image of William Wilberforce.

    Explain that many years ago, William Wilberforce was a Member of Parliament. He used his influence to make a massive difference to the world.

  6. Read the story of William Wilberforce found in the book A World of Difference, pages 41-7.

Time for reflection

It is difficult for us to imagine how anyone could consider it a good idea to buy and sell people. People’s lives are important and everyone deserves to have a wonderful, free, happy life. Unfortunately, many people are still treated like slaves today. There are many charities that have the aim of stopping this.

William Wilberforce used all his skills and abilities to make a huge difference to the world. We might feel like we cant make a big difference like William did. However, we can all make little differences to the lives of people around us. The way we treat people, the way we speak to people and the way we behave all show whether we think people are valuable or that they don’t really matter.

What can we do today to show someone that they are valuable?

Dear God,
Thank you for the great variety of people in the world.
Thank you that we are all different and that each of us is special.
Please help us to value other people.
Please help us to look for good things in others.
Please help us to care for others and do things that make them feel that they matter.

Further resources

Further resources can be found at:

William Wilberforce - description

William Wilberforce - map work

William Wilberforce - discussion questions

William Wilberforce - extra activities

More resources about William Wilberforce are available at:

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