Baroness Thatcher mourned at ceremonial funeral - Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 17 April 2013

The funeral of Baroness Thatcher took place today, with thousands of people gathering in central London for the event and much of the UK capital brought to a standstill.


Baroness Thatcher mourned at ceremonial funeral

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 17 April 2013


By Irena Barker

The funeral of Baroness Thatcher took place today, with thousands of people gathering in central London for the event and much of the UK capital brought to a standstill.

Lady Thatcher was one of the most controversial figures in British politics, the longest serving prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold the post.

During her time in power (1979-90), Lady Thatcher was admired and despised in equal measure for her pro-business, tax-cutting approach. Her stance benefited some, but others who worked in mining and industry lost their jobs.

Some opponents claim that the £10 million funeral, complete with full military honours, was too costly and too grand considering how divisive she was.

Her coffin, draped with a Union flag, was drawn through central London on a gun carriage to a service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Dedicated mourners slept outside St Paul’s overnight to get a good view of her coffin as it arrived and thousands of others lined the streets to pay their respects. Some spectators, however, protested against what Lady Thatcher had stood for and at times booing could be heard.

More than 2,300 dignitaries from around the world attended the funeral service, along with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. It was the first funeral of a British prime minister to be attended by the Queen since that of Winston Churchill, who occupied Downing Street during the Second World War.

While in government, Lady Thatcher cultivated a close relationship with the US, especially with President Reagan, but current president Barack Obama was not in attendance. The US was represented by, among others, George Shultz and James Baker, who served as secretaries of state duringher time in power.

Security at the funeral, which closed roads across central London, was extremely tight, with hundreds of police officers involved.




Questions:

  • How much do you know about Margaret Thatcher? What kind of an impression do you have of her?
  • How accurate do you think the assumptions we make about people in public office are?
  • Do you support people’s right to protest in any circumstances – including funerals – or do you believe that there is a time and a place for such action?
  • What is a stereotype and how far can we trust them?
  • What do we expect a leader to look like and what qualities should they have?

Resources for you


Language and power of the news

  • This lesson makes use of the headlines over Margaret Thatcher’s death and involves collaborative learning.

Successes and failures of Thatcher

  • Get students to think synoptically about the successes and failures of Margaret Thatcher's policies.

The downfall of Thatcher

  • Get your pupils to learn about the reasons behind Baroness Thatcher’s resignation.

Respecting Freedom of Speech

  • Discuss where respect and freedom of expression intersect, using America’s First Amendment as a guide.


Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


A huge earthquake which struck south-east Iran near the border with Pakistan, has flattened homes and offices.

North Korea is today celebrating the 101st anniversary of the birth of its founding father, amid ongoing threats of nuclear war from the secretive communist country.

Margaret Thatcher, who died of a stroke was arguably Britain’s most divisive post-war prime minister, and her legacy still looms large in UK politics.

News Quiz 2013: Spring Term, Put your students' news knowledge to the test!



In the news archive index