Ely Cathedral's Education Project

Using local history to teach young people about modern slavery

The education team at Ely Cathedral identified that Ely has long been a sanctuary for refugees and that this could be a good starting point for introducing the topic of modern slavery.

Working with a local theatre company, they created a film – Sanctuary - based on the true story of two women fleeing the north of England and becoming refugees near Ely.


On 18th October 2021 (Anti-Slavery Day), Ely Cathedral ran an online schools’ day for 25 local primary schools. The day began with a livestreamed assembly that focused on Anti-Slavery Day and was followed by a screening of the film. Throughout the day, the team delivered two virtual lessons and provided teachers with resources for a further lesson. Some schools used the learning package over the course of a week in school.

In addition to the KS2 resources, the Cathedral team developed a KS3 package of humanities lessons covering History, Geography and RE and a scheme of work about modern slavery to fit in with the GCSE Religious Studies curriculum. It also ran a competition to create further opportunities for children to engage with the topic.

Ely Cathedral’s 2021 project is a brilliant example of how local history can help teach children and young people about modern slavery. Children were encouraged to consider what it might feel like to be a refugee and to begin “seeing” vulnerable members of their communities with fresh perspective and empathy.

The team worked hard to align the resources with the National Curriculum and teachers commented on the effectiveness of this approach.

To talk to the team at Ely about their learnings, email learning@elycathedral.org.

For further details of Ely Cathedral’s Schools’ Day and KS2 Resources: Events for Schools - Learning & Families - Ely Cathedral

To download the KS3 Resources, go to: Key Stage 3 Modern Slavery Resources - Learning & Families - Ely Cathedral

To download the KS4 Resources, go to: Key Stage 4 Resources - Learning & Families - Ely Cathedral

Sign up for our newsletter

Get regular news and updates straight to your inbox

Sign up now