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Where do we go from here? The legacy of the summer of 2012

To encourage students to consider how the events of the summer months of 2012 might be a springboard for the new school year (SEAL theme 3: Keep on learning (motivation)).

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To encourage students to consider how the events of the summer months of 2012 might be a springboard for the new school year (SEAL theme 3: Keep on learning (motivation)).

Preparation and materials

  • At the time of writing, the Olympics and Paralympics have not taken place. You will need to fill in some of the facts.
  • Choose two readers.
  • You could illustrate the assembly with downloaded images of the various events mentioned.


  1. Leader  What a fantastic summer that was!

    Reader 1  It began with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The weather might not have been as kind as it could have been, but beacons were lit and there were street parties, pageants and concerts to celebrate the remarkable contribution made by the Queen not only to life in the UK but to people throughout the world.

    Reader 2  Next was the Olympic torch relay, stretching from Land’s End in the south to John O’Groats in the north. By the end of its journey the torch had passed within ten miles of 90 per cent of the population of the UK. As an event it caught the public’s imagination with crowds cheering the runners (and walkers, Frank Dettori on a horse, Steve Redgrave on a boat . . .) every mile of the way. (You may wish to remind students of the impact in your locality.)

    Reader 1  While the torch was making its slow progress across the UK, football fans were engrossed in Euro 2012, played in the Ukraine and Poland. There were low expectations for. England’s performance but we did better than lots of fans had originally expected!

    Reader 2  Then there was the cultural Olympiad, the celebration throughout the UK of dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts, poetry and story.

    Reader 1  And, finally, the Olympics themselves, followed by the Paralympics. Who can forget . . . (insert appropriate highlights). For many it was an experience unlikely to be repeated in their lifetime.

    Leader  So that was the summer of 2012.
  2. Can anyone tell me what a legacy is? (Take student responses.)

    A legacy is a sum of money left in the will of someone who has died. It often consists not merely of a single sum but of an amount released each year to an individual or group for their use. A legacy is seen as a way for someone’s success or good fortune in the past to continue to resource the present and the future.
  3. The summer of 2012 was a summer rich in experiences and memories. So how might the richness of that summer provide a legacy for the autumn of 2012 and on into 2013, 2014 and many more years ahead? How might we continue the spirit of June, July and August as we begin the long haul into the dark, cold days of winter?
  4. One of the motives behind the bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games was to get many more people involved in playing sport and exercising regularly. It was hoped that the elite sportsmen and women of the world would enthuse ordinary people like us to take part in sporting activities and to use the facilities that were built for the Games.

    Has that been the case for you? (Some will reply that they’ve become interested in sports they never knew existed. Others have begun programmed sessions at the gym. Some will now enjoy being part of a team. Others will be jogging to relax and de-stress.)

    If you’ve not yet caught the exercise bug, then maybe this could become the legacy from the summer for you.
  5. A different kind of legacy might be that of inspiration, of finding a role model. For some younger people there was a realization over the summer of the remarkable function that the Queen has fulfilled over such a long period of time, faithfully and reliably setting an example for a whole nation. She could be an inspiration for you.
  6. All of us will also have our memories of sporting achievements against the odds or of special brilliance. (You may wish to give a personal example.)

    Maybe for us the legacy of the summer of 2012 could be that we seek to follow the example of someone we saw. That person’s battle against discouragement, disadvantage and opposition could be all that’s required to encourage us to continue with our personal ambition.
  7. A final aspect of the legacy is simply that we can say that we were part of the story. When we’re older we’ll be able to tell our children and grandchildren that we were there. We saw the Olympic flame, Tower Bridge lit up, the Olympic Stadium, the magnificent goal scored by Danny Welbeck against Sweden. Hold on to your memories. Keep them safe so you can enjoy them in the future.

Time for reflection

Think back over the summer: the Diamond Jubilee, the World Cup, the Torch relay, the cultural Olympiad, the Olympics, the Paralympics. Think of two images or events that stand out for you.


Think of one way, possibly a very small way, in which you have changed your life, or could change your life, for the better because of what you have seen this summer.



Dear Lord,

thank you for the memories of the enjoyment shared this past summer.

Thank you for the example and the inspiration given by the people we saw.

May we take this inspiration into the new school year,

the autumn and the rest of our lives.


‘Thank you for the days’ by the Kinks (or Kirstie MacColl)

Publication date: September 2012   (Vol.14 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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