Making sense of the poem: Sequencing - Task

Created on: 18 Jun 2020 | Last modified: 29 Jun 2020

‘The Tale o’ the Glasgow Girls’ is a narrative poem, which means that it tells a story. There’s a lot going on the story so this activity is to help you work out what happens in each part of the poem.

Glasgow Girls protesting

Each of the 20 short paragraphs below describes what each of the verses and choruses of the poem is about and the key events that are described.

You can print out the sequence, cut out the paragraphs and order them in the right sequence.Read or listen to the poem again and try to arrange the paragraphs in the right order so that you have the correct sequence of events sequence of the story within the poem.

Or you can use the grid and use numbering to show the correct sequence of events.


Mr Girvan, a teacher, and the author and narrator of the poem, tells a bit about starting a new job at Drumchapel High School teaching English as Additional Language to a diverse group of refugee young people from parts of the world where life was dangerous and difficult.

The refugee pupils shared their culture and traditions with the rest of the Drumchapel High pupils, helping everyone to mix easily.

People from the wider community joined the campaign. They kept watch for Home Office vans and warned families it looked like a dawn raid might happen, so that they could get away.

The achievements of the Glasgow Girls campaign are described.  The campaign which was not violent in any way and which was based on a desire for justice, got the support of politicians of all political parties. It got a ban put on child detention, some families and individuals were freed from detention and some were given official permission to stay in the country.

Chorus: It’s important for communities to have all the facts and information so that they can fight racism and poverty.

The UK Government was sending quite a lot of refugees to Glasgow because there was a lot of empty housing. People in Glasgow welcomed the refugees but some people were suspicious that refugee families were getting extra that they weren’t entitled to. Talking about it within communities was the answer.

The news of dawn raids and detention caused fear, anger and concerned action among pupils and staff at Drumchapel High School  including activism and seven girls came together to start campaigning- the Glasgow Girls formed.

Chorus: Roza, another of the Glasgow Girls, and her family fled from Kurdistan in Iraq was scared when she first came to the school but soon began to enjoy it.

Chorus: A description of the Glasgow Girls, angry reaction to what was happening to their friend, and their sense of justice and courage in speaking out.

The people of the community and the Glasgow Girls had just basic equipment and methods to fight against the  power of the Home Office but they were successful in getting some media support that helped them take the campaign to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

The campaign involved support from lots of organisations as well as the seven pupils who formed the Glasgow Girls. Working together was the key to the success.

Chorus: The campaign to support refugees and asylum seekers goes on. If you want to stand up against injustice in society, be inspired by the Glasgow Girls!

Chorus: One of the Glasgow Girls, Amal, cried tears of happiness on her first day at the school, at being able to re-start her education.

The newly formed Glasgow Girls campaign was busy speaking to asylum-seeking families, politicians and the media trying to do something about the detention of families and children in South Lanarkshire’s former Dungavel Immigration Detention Centre, which used to be a prison.

Chorus:  Older kids are great at helping younger ones to learn about the world, including about prejudice.

The UK Home Office began a programme of dawn raids (breaking down doors and forcing entry to homes very early in the morning), detention (like prison) and deportation (not being allowed to stay in the country) against the most vulnerable asylum-seeking families.

Chorus: Young people’s voices are powerful in calling for fairness, equality and justice. They should be listened to.

Drumchapel High School staff welcomed the refugee children and tried to help them settle in and join in the learning that was going on in the school.

Art, music, drama, dance and sports helped the refugees to deal with some of the trauma that had happened to them before coming to Scotland, and to make friends with the other pupils in the school.

Chorus: Description of the Home Office’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.


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