Brush-up toolkits 


Our Brush-up Toolkits are designed to support teachers to discuss social and political topics that are constantly changing. Each toolkit is made up of approximately ten sources that range from videos and newspaper articles to more in-depth reports. We have given each source an "effort level", so you can just dip in for a five minute refresher or dive deeper into a particular issue. Many of the sources are great to share with students, but we recommend you make the final decision on what is right for your classroom. Our toolkits have been put together in collaboration with The Democratic Society and give a variety of perspectives on each issue.




Manchester Evening News  |  An idiot's guide to devolution

Effort Level: 3/10  |  This guide has been put together by Jennifer Williams from the Manchester Evening News and explains key devolution issues clearly. 


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The Economist  |  Reaching a dead end

Effort Level: 5/10  |  This article looks at the problems regional devolution has faced across the UK and examines the reasons that the East Anglia deal has stalled/failed. It provides context on regional devolution beyond Greater Manchester and examines the future of devolution under Theresa May.   

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Local Government Association  |  What is devolution?

Effort Level: 3/10  |  This is a resources toolkit from the Local Government Association. It contains a variety of short animations that explain key aspects of devolution along with "Don't be left in the dark" which gives a clear overview of the concept of devolution.

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Centre for Cities  |  Everything you need to know about metro mayors: an FAQ

Effort Level: 6/10  |  These Frequently Asked Questions from Centre for Cities provide clear information on key questions about metro mayors and devolution. These resources cover the whole of the UK and have graphics that are useful to explain the different deals.

Local Government Information Unit (LGiU)  |Devolution: a road map

Effort Level: 9/10  |  This report details the justification for devolution. It also contains some useful infographics that explain the devolution process. 

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BBC  |  Yes, Prime Minister clip

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length: 2.44 minutes  |  This clip from BBC show Yes, Prime Minister satirises what many perceive to be the Westminster view of local/regional government in a conversation between two civil servants. As the show was made in 1986 this clip is now quite dated but the content is still relevant.

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Greater Manchester Combined Authority  |  Members' Resources

Effort Level: 4/10  |  These resources have been created by the Campaign Company to assist elected members across Greater Manchester to discuss devolution with constituents. Highlights include the infographics and the timeline which provide an accessible overview of key aspects of the process. 

Devo Connect  |  Views and News

Effort Level: 8/10  |  This site provides opinions and views on devolution, the interactive map is particularly useful. For those looking to keep up-to-date with devolution news @DevoConnectis worth following on Twitter.

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Manchester Urban Institute  |  Is DevoManc a chance for a fairer city?

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length 1.59 minutes | This short animation from the Manchester Urban Institute looks at how the devolution deal can tackle inequality across Greater Manchester.  




Alexander Betts  |  Why Brexit Happened - and what to do next

Effort Level: 4/10  |  Length: 17.22 minute | A TED Talk by the social scientist Alexander Betts asking "what does Brexit represent?" and "how should we all respond?" This video provides a clear breakdown of the referendum result, and what it will mean for society going forward.

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CoVi Report  |  A Generation Apart

Effort Level: 7/10  |  This report looks at the decision-making process of younger people in the EU referendum and has lots of useful statistics about attitudes and opinions. The statistics are well presented and this report is worth a flick through even if you don't fancy reading it cover to cover.

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Telegraph  |  What will happen to the EU after Brexit?

Effort Level: 7/10  |  This article outlines the repercussions of Brexit for the states left in the EU and the EU as an institution. It is divided into a number of subjects including money and a central army, and includes clear infographics.


Undivided  |  Have your say

Effort Level: 7/10  |  This resource uses clean graphics and simple statistics to encourage young people to have their say in the 'Brexit' process. Young people can submit ideas, questions and demands that will be presented to parliament. It is non-partisan and encourages voices who voted Remain, Leave and those who didn't vote.

Guardian  |  Eight key points on the Brexit negotiations

Effort Level: 7/10  |  An article explaining the key points of the negotiations that will disentangle Britain from the EU. 




Sheena Moore  |  Why we voted leave: voices from northern England

Effort Level: 4/10  |  Length: 8.43 minutes  |  This short documentary film was made near Doncaster days after the Brexit vote.  Sheena Moore interviews local people and explores the reasons behind their vote. This video is emotive and can be a good human example of the Leave voice beyond statistics and data.   

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BBC  |  Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU

Effort Level:  6/10  |  A breakdown of events since the result of the EU referendum, including what has taken place in Parliament, such as David Cameron's resignation,  the state of the economy and the process of triggering Article 50. This resource includes useful infographics and is updated regularly.

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Instagram  |  Brexit & Chill

Effort Level: 2/10  |  An Instagram account of cartoons and short poems about Brexit. May be useful as amusing illustrations.



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Joseph Rowntree Foundation |  Brexit vote explained: poverty, low skills and lack of opportunities

Effort Level: 9/10  |  This report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent charity, aims to explain why the UK voted to leave the EU. It is text heavy, but well presented and uses clear language, as well as infographics and statistics.



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U.N Population Division  |  World Migration Map

Effort Level: 3/10  |  This map visualises global migration data from 2010 - 2015. This resource is helpful to aid conversations about migration flows.


This American Life Podcast  |  Are we there yet?

Effort Level: 7/10  |  Length: 1.04.44 minutes  |  This American Life is an issue-based podcast looking at different social and political issues that affect American society. There are several episodes that give particularly good insights into the migration crisis, another useful one is "It's working out very nicely" which looks at stories about Trump's travel ban.

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The Guardian  |  The all-new British citizenship test

Effort Level: 3/10  |  The UK government has recently updated the "Citizenship test" that immigrants take when applying for British Citizenship. This source is one example of a "mock test" where you can see if you can answer some of the questions. There are other sources for mock tests easily found on Google.


Red Cross  |  Most shocking second a day video

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length 1.33 minutes | This short video from Save the Children documents a second a day of a child's life involved in an imaginary conflict in the UK. The conflict depicted has many parallels with the start of the war in Syria and can be useful to discuss either international conflict or immigration.

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Embrace  |  The pros and cons of migration

Effort Level: 4/10  |  This article from Embrace gives a straight forward overview of the pro's and con's of migration both for the host country and the country of origin. It goes on to discuss the impact of migration on local communities.


The Migration Observatory  |  Explained: EU Migration to the UK

Effort level: 6/10  |  The Migration Observatory has a huge amount of data and analysis on the effects of migration. The  glossary and the videos are very useful, as are the articles for those wanting a deeper dive. 

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BBC  |  Migrant Crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts

Effort Level: 7/10  |  This article conveys a lot of helpful data around migration through clear charts and graphs. The international comparisons may help to place conversations about migration into context.  


ACH Group  |  Migrant Stories

Effort Level: 4/10  |  Length: 12.21 minutes  |  This video tells the stories of a variety of people who emigrated to Australia. 

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The Guardian  |  Immigrants in their own words - 100 stories

Effort Level: 5/10  |  This article contains 100 different stories from individual immigrants living in the UK. Introduction by Jonathan Freeland.

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The Telegraph  |  Mapped: How many immigrants does America get and where do they actually come from? 

Effort Level: This article looks at the reality of immigration on the US. It includes some useful charts that can be used to frame discussions around topical US issues such as the travel ban and the US/Mexico border wall. 



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Citizens Advice  |  Young people's rights

Effort level: 5/10  |  A Citizens Advice website on young people's rights in the UK. Provides information on topics from debt, money and immigration. It also provides a basic legal information and access to further help on any of these subjects.

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Amnesty International  |  Eight reasons the Human Rights Act Makes the UK a better place

Effort Level: 5/10  |  This listicle from Amnesty International has eight clear reasons why the UK is a better place to live because of the Human Rights Act. It has real examples to accompany each of these points.


Benedetta Berti  |  What are universal human rights? 

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length: 4.46 minutes |  A TED-ed talk by a rights expert on universal rights,  who decides them and who enforces them. This video explores the subtleties of the practical side of rights. 

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Just Rights  |  Make our rights reality

Effort Level: 6/10  |  A leaflet containing a manifesto created by young people to make sure their rights are treated with parity by law-makers in the UK. It also educates the reader on their rights and how to defend them. Full of clear infographics and aimed at young people.

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Samaritan Mag  |  30 Basic Human Rights

Effort Level: 4/10  |  This provides a list of 30 basic human rights as well as a brief explanation of each in a digestible form.

B my voice  |  Young people's rights

Effort Level: 6/10  |  Clear and concise information on the rights of a young person in the UK, divided into topics such as 'keeping safe' and 'sex'. It also has a full section on the rights around education. This site includes links to many other resources and information.


Rights Info  |  Human Rights Explained

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length: 2.08 minutes |  A brief animated explanation of human rights and their history.

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The Guardian  |  The case against human rights

Effort Level: 7/10  |  This helps to provide a counterpoint to most other literature on this subject, as it takes a stand against human rights and offers alternatives. This article is also available as a podcast.

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British Institute of Human Rights  |  Young people: how our Human Rights Act works for you

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length 2.28 minutes | A video aimed at young people that explains in detail the history and purpose of the Human Rights Act.


Equality and Human Rights Commission  |  What are human rights? 

Effort Level: 6/10  | This site has clear explanation of human rights from a UK perspective. There is also an embedded video that explains the rights we have.



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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  |  The danger of a single story

Effort Level: 4/10  |  Length 18.49 minutes | In this TED talk Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explores the 'danger of a single story' and considers the misconceptions that we often have about people from different countries and cultures. Packed with personal examples this talk is great for starting classroom discussions.


TV2  |  All that we share

Effort Level: 2/10  |  Length 3.00 minutes | This is an advert from TV2 that questions the "boxes" we place each other in by finding common ground between a group of diverse Danes. The video is also a template for an activity that might be adapted for a classroom or a year group to start a conversation about difference and diversity.

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BBC  |  Do young people feel British? 

Effort Level: 3/10  |  A Newsbeat article from Anthony Baxter exploring the extent to which young people feel British. A useful source for teachers discussing British values and identity with students.  


Grayson Perry  |  All man clip

Effort Level: 3/10  |  Length 4.04 minutes  | British artist Grayson Perry has made several TV programmes with Channel 4 that explore different aspects of identity. This clip is from "All Man" his series looking at changing views on masculinity. Clips from another series, "Who are you?" might also be useful.

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Autograph  |  Album: Exploring Identity though photography

This is a collection of photographs from young people who have used photography to explore their identity. Click "Download Catalogue" at the bottom of the first page. 

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Manchester Evening News  |  Greater Manchester Accent Map

Effort Level: 3/10  |  A Greater Manchester-specific resource from the Manchester Evening News that explores the relationship between identity, accents and social class. This article also includes a variety of other links on a similar theme.

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BBC  |  Class Calculator 

Effort Level: 4/10  |  A collaboration between leading academics and the BBC, this "class calculator" works out what social class you are. Can be useful to stimulate discussions about which indicators make up social class and how the term has evolved over time.

NatCen Research  |  British Social Attitudes

Effort Level: 8/10  |  The British Social Attitudes Survey has taken place each year since 1983 and tracks British opinion on a wide range of issues. This site contains lots of infographics and information and can be useful if you are exploring a particular issue with students.    

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Joy DeGruy  |  A Trip to the Grocery Store

Effort Level: 3/10  |  Length 3.56 minutes | In this video Joy DeGruy tells her story of everyday discrimination and the impact of someone stepping in to help. A great resource to start conversations about self awareness and personal responsibility in relation to discrimination.