Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

We already have a very busy school timetable, how can Empathy Week fit into it?

We've refined our programme over the years so that it can fit into pastoral, tutor or assembly time in your school. Each session is 15-20 minutes but equally you can use them in lesson time for a complete lesson around a certain film. For example:

Teacher 1 - Uses Film 1 and it's supporting slides in a year group assembly (20 minutes). The supporting two sessions of 20 minutes are then used by tutors in pastoral time throughout the rest of the week at a time that suits them.

Teacher 2 - Plans a PSHE/Citizenship lesson and uses Film 1 and then one of the supporting sessions for a 40-60 minute lesson. Teacher 3 - Uses the films but doesn't use the supporting lessons due to time constraints - also fine!

The programme is designed to be structured but also flexible and adaptable to the needs of your school and cultural context.

What's the time committment to complete the programme?

This is completely up to you as a school. The minimum to complete the programme and have a positive benefit on your school is Stage 1 - watching the 5 films and having reflective discussions.

Your school can decide whether to take this learning further with Stage 2 - two supporting lessons around Empathy for others and ourselves.
There is then the option for students to take part in the Empathy Action Project which has a 6 week time frame. The best projects from your school can be entered into the Global Empathy Awards - see more about this amazing opportunity here.
Please see more about the stages of the 2022 programme on our 'About' page

Are the films appropriate for all ages?

No they're not - which is why we create age-differentiated versions of each film. You can see an example of how this works with our free lesson to download here We create 3 versions of each film, one for 5-7 year olds, one for 8-10 and another for 11-18. We advise teachers to watch the films when they're released in early February but also read the guidance and resources released in December 2021.

There maybe some cultural and contextual issues as to not show one film or another in your classroom. For example, with Pete's story the 11-18 year old version refers to suicide. If you have students affected by this then it maybe best to use the 8-10 version or miss it altogether. Again, we ask for teacher discretion as you know your students and we don't!

What do my students gain from Empathy Week?

Students will watch 5 cinematic films of 5 different people’s lives, learning about other perspectives and also having a platform to discuss the social themes relevant and bringing it into the context of their own lives.

Throughout stage 2 they will be able to explore having empathy for themselves and what they need to do in order to develop empathy for others.

In stage 3 they have an opportunity to take on their own Empathy Action Project through the support of our framework and online guidance - actively developing leadership, resilience and empathy skills.

The best projects can then be submitted to the Global Empathy Awards which is held virtually in late June 2022.

What is this years theme?

This year our theme for the week is ‘Passion and Purpose’ and some of the themes in the films include; mental health, homelessness, passion, chasing purpose, being yourself, living with downs syndrome, LGBT, immigration, resilience, power of sport, racism, being a changemaker, youth empowerment and more. It is a beautiful opportunity to be empowered, seen and heard.

Why is empathy important?

Empathy is a vital 21st century skll and arguably the most important leadership skill. It underpins effective communication, problem solving, creative thinking, listening and even public speaking amongst others.

Empathy is a skill. It can be practiced, taught and developed over time. We know it's hard to find the right opportunities to do this and expose students to those that are different from themselves, especially with a whole school approach. That's why we do what we do and we'll know you'll love it!

How do we define Empathy?

The skill to understand another and the ability to create space for someone to reveal their authentic self whilst reserving judgement.

Can you even teach empathy?

The research says yes. Some of the latest research from Cambridge University in 2021 shows that not only can empathy be taught in schools but that it also increases levels of creativity. Oh and one of the scientists behind the paper is part of our Empathy Advisory board - so we're in good company!

Take a read of the report here

Feeling really geeky? See the full scientific paper here.

Why is Empathy Week free for state and government schools but my independent private school has to pay?

We believe that every student should have the opportunity to take part in Empathy Week.

Unfortunately there is a considerable lack of funding within most state/public schools. We believe it is the right thing to do, to ensure that participation is free for these students and ensure cost is not a barrier to a school's decision to take part.

We charge private schools and independent fee-paying schools to participate, and by doing so, those schools are not only providing a fantastic programme for their own students but also supporting the local community of schools and children around them.

The cost also often equates to a student being able to access the whole programme and opportunites for less than $2 a student. Every school that has paid for the programme so far has continued to pay each year displaying the value we add to those schools.

We are on a mission to build the #EmpathyGeneration, we would love you to join us.

Covid-19 is still an issue, can Empathy Week be delivered online?


Throughout 2021 we engaged 80,000 students with most of them being shown the films online. All our resources are downloadable digitally.

Listen here to teacher Al who spoke about her use of Empathy Week in her school - Listen here (6 minute listen)

Do you have any teacher testimonials?

Yes we do! See a few of them by clicking here

Where can I download more information that I can pass on to other members of my team?

We have a schools information pack, a learning framework pdf and a curriculum checklist.

Please click here so you can view/download them.

Further information for teachers

Find out more about the curriculum framework and how this aligns with your own school's no matter where you are in the world.