accessibility & help

London Bridge attack

On 3 June, eight people were killed and many more injured on London Bridge and in nearby Borough Market. Explore how acting with humanity can make a difference to people affected by the attack, and consider the role of emergency planning in reducing the harm caused.

Suggested age range: 14–19
Curriculum links: PSHE, Citizenship


Humanitarian acts

Spend a moment in reflection, thinking of the people whose lives were changed by the recent attacks in Manchester and London. Helping strangers who are suffering or in need, and with no thought of reward, is sometimes called “acting with humanity”.

Invite the group to recall acts of humanity connected to the recent attacks, for example those who gave first aid, led people to safety or provided shelter (other examples can be found in Manchester attack: support for young people). Think of other practical and emotional support that people affected might need.

Christine Archibald from British Columbia, Canada died in the London Bridge attack on 3 June. In a statement, her parents said:

"We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected. She lived this belief, working in a shelter for the homeless … Please honour her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labour, or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you."

What do young people think of this idea of honouring someone by helping to make the community a better place? Working in small groups, consider what needs exist in your own community, for instance support for homeless people. Having created a list, each group can then go online and research volunteering opportunities available in their area. Choose one and present this to the whole group in a later session.

Emergency planning

Emergency planners have special procedures in place for when events occur such as the attack at London Bridge. Give learners the text below and ask them to fill in the gaps with the correct words:

voluntary organisations

emergency planning

major incident

regularly rehearsed

resilience forums

hospital staff

When a (1) _______________ _______________ happens involving a lot of people, emergency services respond in a planned way. For example, as soon as the London Bridge attack happened, extra (2) _______________ _______________ came to work and prepared beds for when injured people arrived.

This kind of (3) _______________ _______________ can reduce the harm caused by serious events. The plans are created by (4) _______________ _______________, groups of local organisations including the local council, police and fire service. Their plans are (5) _______________ _______________, for example when the police role-play what they would do in an attack.

In addition, (6) _______________ _______________ like the British Red Cross help people during an emergency, for example by giving practical and emotional support, equipment and information.

Answer key:

1. major incident

2. hospital staff 

3. emergency planning

4. resilience forums

5. regularly rehearsed

6. voluntary organisations

When learners have finished the exercise, ask them to compare their answers with a partner. They may want to go online and research the meaning of terms such as “resilience forum”. Afterwards, follow up with some questions:

  • Why is it important to put plans in place for a major incident?
  • What might happen if the emergency services didn’t join up and work together?
  • How might people caught up in the attack have felt when help arrived?
  • How might it help communities to know that these plans are in place?


This resource was written by P J White of Alt62 and published in June 2017.


Subscribe to Newsthink

Girl among group of other students

Enter your email to get free, topical teaching ideas delivered straight to your inbox.