John Newton & Amazing Grace

This film, produced by BBC Manchester in association with  Jerusalem Productions Ltd, looks at the story of John Newton, the remarkable journey of Amazing Grace, and explores the concept of grace itself – being saved by God, without it being deserved, which connects it so strongly to the events of Easter. Rick Wakeman described Newton’s journey from slave trader to preacher, making use of the many locations that played a part in Newton’s life – including the ports he knew as a sailor; the vicarage in Olney where Amazing Grace was written, and the churches that played a part in his life. The programme shows how every word in the hymn relates to Newton’s life – an autobiography in six verses. A large part of the story of the hymn takes place in the USA, which has taken it as an unofficial anthem, sung at national events, by civil rights groups and at weddings and funerals.



Resources for KS3 (11-14) and KS4 (15-16). However, they can easily be used with KS5 (17-18) and adults:


Amazing Grace Resource Pack


In order to use these resources it is necessary for students to have watched the entire film. In addition sections may be re-shown in relation to each topic. The topic ‘Programme Outline’ contains the timings for each part of the film.


Teachers can select all or any of the resources and activities as suitable for the course they are pursuing. Although closely related to the film there are additional ‘Stretch and Challenge’ topics as well as cross-curricular materials.


Additional topics include:
• 20th century versions of Amazing Grace;
• Joseph Emidy;
• Notes on Amistad and 12 Years a Slave;
• Personal Revelation and Conversion;
• Slavery and the Roman Catholic Church;
• The Bible and Slavery;
• The use of hymns in worship.


Additional versions of resources are included:
• Dyslexic (D) for all topics;


and as appropriate –
• SEN – Special Educational Needs (S);
• EAL – English as an Additional Language (E)



The film

Programme outline

The Bible and Slavery

Slavery and the Roman Catholic Church

Lough Swilly

Amazing Grace – Timeline

Amazing Grace – the Slave Triangle

The Slave Triangle EAL

The life of a slave

Amazing Grace – the music

Amazing Grace – the music EAL SEN

20th century versions of Amazing Grace

The campaign to abolish slavery

12 years a slave


Joseph Emidy

Personal revelation and conversion