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KS2 Literacy: Quite Unfit for Females (1921)

A speaking and listening activity around the topic of women and sport

Main image of KS2 Literacy: Quite Unfit for Females (1921)
Author Briony Begg
Topic Role-play - speaking and listening
Key Words sport, women, football, newsreel
Show full lesson spec

A short 1920s newsreel item about women's football facing an FA ban forms the basis of a short primary role-play activity.

This lesson encourages students to make connections between the past and the present and to draw on their understanding of news reporting today as well as their own ideas to develop questions and answers in a short role-play exercise.

Lesson Objective

  • To develop students' speaking and listening skills and, in particular, to identify the ways spoken language varies according to differences in the context and purpose of its use.


Start the lesson off with a quick game of true or false. Ask students to look through the following statements in pairs or small groups and decide which one's they believe.

  • A crowd of 53,000 people watched the 'Dick Kerr Ladies' football team play the 'St Helen Ladies' team in Liverpool in 1921. The game was so popular 12,000 people were unable to get into the stadium.
  • In 1967, cyclist Beryl Burton beat the British men's record in a long-distance cycle race.
  • In 1994, the English team won the women's Rugby Union World Cup.
  • In 2009, England won the women's Cricket World Cup.

After going through the list, reveal to the class that ALL of the statements are true. Are they surprised? If so, why?


Main Attraction

Watch Quite Unfit for Females through as a class. Begin by asking students to discuss what they notice about the film (either in pairs or as part of a class discussion). You might want to prompt them - what do they notice about the women's clothing? Why do they think the film is silent? How is the story told? Do they think this is a news story?

After discussing the item, offer students a little more background. This was a 'newsreel item' - rather like the news today, although it would have played in cinemas. Women's football was extremely popular in the 1920s. But many people were shocked by female participation in the sport. In the same year that this newsreel item was shot, the Football Association decided to bar women from playing on any FA grounds. The ban would only be overturned in 1969.

Ask students to get into pairs, with one student taking on the role of a news reporter and the other taking on the role of one of the women footballers in the film. What questions might the news reporter ask the women in the football team? And what kinds of responses do they think the women might have had?

Ask students to work together to come up with at least two questions that the news reporter might ask and two responses that a female player might give before hearing some of these as a whole class.

Some students might feel able to perform a short role-play for the rest of the class.


End Credits

Finally, ask the students to think about women and sport today. Do they see women in sport regularly on TV? Are there sports that they associate with women more than men or the other way around? And what sports do they play themselves?


External Links
Sport Sister website

Video Clips
Complete Film (1:18)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

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