Primary Schools

Curriculum-related ideas and topics for Primary Schools inspired by the Mandeville Legacy

Here are some activity and project ideas inspired by the Mandeville Legacy archive material.  

Mandeville meets Mandeville!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Primary Schools' page

Mandeville, the official mascot of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, is named after the hospital where the Paralympics began.

Invite the children to imagine Mandeville, the official London 2012 Paralympic mascot, was making a visit to Buckinghamshire and see what Stoke Mandeville was like. From what the children have found out about Stoke Mandeville, can they write, suggest or draw things they think Mandeville would most like to see? Who might Mandeville be introduced to?

The children will enjoy finding out more about the London 2012 mascots through the Get Set website where you’ll find Michael Morpurgo’s stories and films which depict how the mascots were created from two drops of British steel used in the construction of the Olympic Stadium, and show them on their journey round the UK. There are also games and activity sheets for younger children.


Go big on biography!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Primary Schools' page

Go to Home/Father of the Paralympics to find Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s life story. The content is broken down into bite-sized chunks:

  •  Early years
  •  1944-1966
  •  1966-1980
  •  Legacy

You could tackle e.g. the ‘life and times of Ludwig Guttmann’ as a topic over several sessions, or include him in your planned history (Second World War) PSHE or literacy activities. 

You will need to read the content with the children as there are some new, tricky words with which they may not be familiar. Show and discuss some of the images about Guttmann’s pioneering work at Stoke Mandeville

Check the children’s understanding and ask them to give feedback on what they can remember of Guttmann’s life and achievements. What did they find most interesting and what else would they like to find out?

Here are suggestions for taking Sir Ludwig Guttmann as the starting point for literacy activities including:

  •  factual writing
  •  biographical writing
  •  speaking and listening
  •  creative writing

Help the children to make a ‘big book’ for younger children about the Paralympics or Stoke Mandeville.  This could be as simple as printing out images from the Collections section of the website and from other research sources, and sticking them on to folded A3- sized pieces of paper with short captions.  If the children are keen to include their own paintings, cartoons or drawings in their big book, these could be presented as a series of double page spreads as in a picture book.  Can they read their big books to a younger class or to parents during an assembly?  

Older or more able children will be able to create a fact file or reference ‘book’ for the library telling the story of e.g.

  • The father of the Paralympics
  • Stoke Mandeville… where the Paralympics were  born
  • Ludwig Guttmann 1944-1966 (groups of children could tackle different parts of Guttmann’s life/age and collate into a whole-class book.)

Why not share your work with others? Just register here and create your own page for others to enjoy.

You could test the children’s knowledge by playing a game of ‘Mastermind,’ with you as the question master at first, and the children taking turns to sit in the ‘hot seat’ where their specialist subject is ‘The Life and Times of Sir Ludwig Guttmann’. Here are some starter questions:

  • In which country was Ludwig Guttmann born? (Germany)
  • What is he sometimes known as? (The father of the Paralympics)
  • What sorts of people did Guttmann help?(The spinally injured)
  • What is the name of the hospital where Guttmann did his pioneering work? (Stoke Mandeville)
  • Which county is it in? (Buckinghamshire)
  • What was Guttmann’s faith? (Jewish)

With practice, some of the children will be able to take over as question master.

Share this quote with the children and ask them to predict what happened next, or re-tell the story from the Gestapo’s point of view… maybe he knew all along but wasn’t letting on…

“He took the Gestapo from bed to bed, justifying each man’s medical condition. He pulled faces and grimaced at the patients from behind their back, signalling to them to pull the same expressions and then saying, ‘Look at this man; he’s having a fit!’ ( Eva Loeffler .)


Driving Inspiration

Tell the stories of the Paralympic Games and Paralympians through dance, theatre, visual arts, creative writing, music and film, and the personal journeys of the disabled artists. Inspire your pupils to identify and fulfil their own dreams, and to celebrate diversity.

Driving Inspiration pages


Show off the Paralympics!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Primary Schools' page

This is an idea for creating a visual time-line showing the development of the Paralympic Games from the 1950s to 2012.

Using the images and background information in the Development of the Paralympic Games section, agree with the class on the major dates and events you want to show in your display. These could be for example:

1957 – The first time all five continents were represented

1960 - Margaret Maughan won the first ever GB Paralympic gold medal in Rome

1976 – First Winter Games in Sweden

1980 - ‘The father of the Paralympics’ dies

1990s – Paralympic Games twinned with Olympic Games and held in the same host city

2012 - 4,200 Paralympic athletes expected to compete in London 2012 Games.


Let’s play Paralympic style!

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Primary Schools' page

You could give your PE lessons a Paralympics focus by introducing the children to a team game such as sitting volleyball.  For sitting volleyball, all you need is a rope suspended across the playing space and either a sponge ball or volleyball, depending on the age and ability of the children. In teams of five or six, the game is played in the same way as ordinary volleyball.

The Paralympic sport of Boccia, devised especially for people with cerebral palsy, is also easily set up with non-specialist equipment. Use a length of guttering pipe down which the ball is rolled while the children sit on a chair. Basically, Boccia is a bowling game, where the aim is to hit a ‘jack ball’.

You could also encourage the children to make up their own ‘sitting team game’. This could be as simple as sitting in a circle and deciding how to keep the ball (or balloon) up in the air for as long as possible. Or, you could give groups of five or six children some simple equipment such as soft balls, bats and cones and challenge them to invent a new sitting team game that they could teach their friends to play.

If the children have enjoyed trying these new Paralympic games, you could have an inter-form tournament, or even challenge another school to a game.

If you have close links with a special school, the students there may well have played sitting volleyball or Boccia regularly. Why not ask them to come in to coach your children?

You could consider including a Paralympic sport in your schools sports day or any other special sports related event you may be planning, such as taking part in national School Sport Week.

The British Paralympic Association’s Passport programme has great information about disability sport and local opportunities.

Driving Inspiration projects have some excellent examples of workshops run by Paralympians and disabled artists, as well as assembly and interview footage on Paralympians and disabled artists talking about their work, disabilities and life. Click here to find out tried and tested ideas, and to find a Paralympian or disabled artist to come and work in your school.

Thinking like a Paralympian

Ask the children to feed back on their experiences of playing a disability sport. For example:

  • How did it feel to be playing a sport sitting down in a chair or using eye shades?
  • Was volleyball a very different kind of game played this way?
  • What were the similarities and differences?
  • Which game did they prefer?
  • Can they think of any other games they play regularly, that with some slight changes to the rules could be enjoyed by children who have a disability?


Stoke Mandeville

Stoke Mandeville is famous for being the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, with its world-class pioneering work at Stoke Mandeville Hospital– spearheaded by Sir Ludwig Guttmann.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Primary Schools' page

Help the children to locate Stoke Mandeville on a map of the UK.

Find out more about the world famous Stoke Mandeville hospital and the stadium and


This page was added on 15/06/2011.
Comments about this page

A fabulous resource. Will be using for assemblies and as part of our whole school project on the Olympics. Have already been doing seated volleyball and boccia. Children loved it

By Jan Cunningham
On 03/02/2012

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