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The Boy at the Back of the Class – KS2 planning

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Key Stage



Years 3-6


This free PDF of activity ideas will explain how to use modern classic The Boy at the Back of the Class to promote empathy and compassion in your KS2 classroom. It’s the perfect book to study during Refugee Week.  

The Boy at the Back of the Class summary

A mysterious new boy arrives in Alexa’s classroom. Who is he? Where has he come from? Alexa befriends this stranger and listens to his story of escape from Syria, his dangerous trek across Europe and his longing to be reunited with his family.  

The Boy at the Back of the Class planning

The Boy at the Back of the Classroom by Onjali Q. Raúf will deeply move children and has a place in every KS2 classroom.

It covers themes of prejudice, difference and courage, all explored in ways which will lead children to ask questions, while enabling them to understand the content in an age-appropriate manner.

It will aid you in exploring what are usually considered ‘difficult’ topics in a way which still feels comfortable.  

Written from the convincing perspective of nine-year-old Alexa, pupils will relate to the ‘adult’ concepts and will be encouraged to consider the views of others, promoting empathy and compassion.  

Activity ideas

This PDF contains a wide variety of activity ideas, all based on The Boy at the Back of the Class. These include:

  • Discovering Syria
  • P4C enquiries
  • Figurative language
  • Role play
  • Writing descriptions
  • Using drama
  • Fact vs opinion
  • Reading for pleasure

Sample activity

Give the children a pomegranate so they can evaluate the author’s use of figurative language. Let them try a cup of pomegranate juice. Observe different fruits and write your own poems or descriptions.  

Johanna Howard is LKS2 Y3/4 lead at Weeke Primary in Winchester. Jonathan Rooke is a senior lecturer in education at the University of Winchester. 

The Boy at the Back of the Class KS2 planning
The Boy at the Back of the Class – KS2 planning

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