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KS3/4 Citizenship: White Tribe (2000)

What will Britain look like in 50 years time?

Main image of KS3/4 Citizenship: White Tribe (2000)
Author Poppy Simpson
TopicBritian of the future
Key Words Nationalism, citizenship, Britishness, globalisation
Show full lesson spec

Journalist and broadaster Darcus Howe travels around England in search of an English identity.

At the end of White Tribe (clip one), presenter Darcus Howe asks: 'What kind of place will England be in 50 years time? That's what I'm looking for - the 'new England'.

This lesson idea challenges students to think about this England of the future. Will people still think of themselves as English (or British) and how will globalisation affect people's sense of national identity? Depending on their prior knowledge, older or higher ability students may be able to explore how the relationship between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England might change in the future. However, it might be better to side step this complex issue in this lesson.

Lesson Objective

  • To explore the issues touched on in the programme extracts and generate ideas about what Britian might look like in the future.


During the first clip, Darcus says: "If there is one thing of which I'm certain - the old England, the England I came to 40 years ago, that's dead; they don't even want to be English anymore". Ask students to note down the visual images used to underline this statement (they include: Hunting/aeroplane flying across the screen/people drinking wine/cheerleaders/line dancing/an amusement arcade) before leading a discussion on why these scenes might have been used. Can students think of more examples of foreign influences in English or British society and culture?

Now ask students to brainstorm a set of moving images that could be used to reject the suggestion that the English don't want to be English anymore. What quintessentially 'English' pursuits can students think of (people having afternoon tea, crowds cheering the Queen, shot of the Houses of Parliament, down the pub etc.)?

These quick activities over, how far do students think, on a scale of one to 10, other cultures and countries influence England? Ask to think about where their clothes/games/electrical goods come from. What about the different foods they are used to eating? How do trends in clothing, games, ideas etc. spread from country to country?

It would be a good idea to introduce the term 'globalisation' at this point, maybe asking students for their own definitions of the term. During the course of this discussion, try to draw out that globalisation is not just about different countries trading with each other, it also describes the way that people, money and ideas move around the world quicker and cheaper than in the past.


Main Attraction

It's time to think about how England might look in 50 years time! Divide the class up into groups, giving each one a category to focus on (suggested categories below). Ask them to use a mixture of their own knowledge, research and imagination to predict some of the changes we might expect to see in around 2060.

Some possible categories:


Having completed the activity, ask each group describe and explain their ideas to the rest of the class, encouraging them to develop a picture of this imagined England. Do students agree with the ideas put forward by other groups? Have they other suggestions of their own?


End Credits

Return to the idea of national identity and citizenship. At the start of the clip Darcus asks, "So will there be anything left that feels 'English'. What kind of place will England be in 50 years time?"

In light of what the groups have come up with, do students think that there will be anything 'English' left in the England of the future? If so, what? What parts of English culture would students feel proud to retain? What are the benefits of having a sense of national identity?

One of the clearest symbols of national identity is a passport. As a possible extension activity ask students to think about passports in greater detail. Will British passports still exist in 50 years time? Or might there be alternative European/global forms of identification? Challenge them to think about how we might be identified in the future.


External Links

Video Clips
1. Intro (2:00)
2. Mary (12:30)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related Films and TV programmes

See also

Thumbnail image of Essentially British? White Tribe (2000)Essentially British? White Tribe (2000)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.

Thumbnail image of Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.

Thumbnail image of Essentially British?: Return to Life (1960)Essentially British?: Return to Life (1960)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.

Thumbnail image of Essentially British?: Springtime in an English Village (1948)Essentially British?: Springtime in an English Village (1948)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.