Sky News

Video lesson: sickness benefits in the UK

Here’s a fairly topical upper-intermediate level lesson, as we get closer to the general election. I saw this report on Sky News back in mid-February and thought it would be a really good talking point. Apparently, David Cameron is thinking of cutting sickness benefits for people who don’t accept help, or try and help themselves. Most of the report focuses on obesity, but they chuck other things into the mix like alcohol addiction, which seem like a separate issue altogether.

Anyway, take a look…

So this is a completely authentic text. It’s pretty difficult to grasp a lot of it, but learners can definitely get a general understanding of the issues. Obviously this is a touchy topic for some, and the resources I’ve created are designed to provoke discussion and opinions. Consider the audience carefully – mine were students at a humanities school who expressed a desire to learn a bit about the welfare state.

sickness benefits lesson resources

teacher answers

General aims:

  • Students will practise listening for gist and detail in the context of an authentic news report
  • Students will learn about the UK benefits system
  • Students will practising expressing opinions/debating in the context of the provision of state benefits

Lesson time: 90 mins approx


Students discuss the following

What causes someone to become fat?

Elicit ideas (lifestyle, mental health issues, genetics, etc)