Anglo-Saxons

Outstanding KS2 history lessons on Anglo-Saxon Britain

All lessons below follow the outstanding planner you can find in the medium -term planning section

To ensure that you follow the National Curriculum requirements, and more importantly to deepen pupils’ real understanding of this topic, it is important to plan it with the Vikings in mind. Indeed, there is a case for combining the two to make one longer topic. The reasons for this are clear. You can’t teach the Anglo-Saxons for long without mentioning the Vikings. For example, Alfred the Great was considered great partly because of the way he saw off the Viking threat at a critical time in Britain’s history. So our approach has been to have 4 enquiries relating exclusively to the Anglo-Saxons, and then a  couple which look at their inter-relationship with the Vikings.

Resist the temptation to get so bogged down in detail that pupils lose sight of the overview. That is why activities such as those in KQ4 are so important. Always remember: deep vibrant learning trumps curriculum content coverage every time.

In terms of the concepts being taught, there is ample opportunity to look at causation in terms of why the different invaders came to our shore, change and continuity as the battle for control of these land ebbed and flowed, and interpretations: was Alfred really great and were the Dark Ages in Anglo-Saxon Britain really that dark?

Outstanding Scheme of Work for teaching the Anglo Saxons

You’ll probably be thinking that there is an awful lot of pre-1066 British history in the KS2 curriculum with the Anglo-Saxons being particularly prominent. The way round this, I think, is to skilfully link your teaching of the Saxons and the Vikings so the interrelationship...
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Why did the Saxons invade? Push or pull? KQ1a

A fun thinking skills activity in which pupils infer from visual clues before moving on to analyse a range of influence cards and evaluate a video before coming up with their own explanation for the Anglo-Saxons invasion.

This activity is part of a series...

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The mystery of the empty Saxon grave. Anglo-Saxons KQ2

This highly engaging lesson places pupils in the role of detectives.  After a short briefing they have to work out the significance of the various clues found in the bodiless ship burial.  They then use their deductive power to work out which of 4 suspects...
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Anglo-Saxons: Coming of Christianity KQ3

A series of smart tasks, rather than a full outstanding lesson. The first part of this two part session looks at how it happened, the second at how we know. The early part asks pupils to grasp the narrative of events within a timeline from Roman...
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Anglo-Saxons struggle against the Vikings KQ4

This task encapsulates the struggle between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings in an engaging way that really makes pupils think about the dynamics of the conflict - rather than 'one damn event and treaty after another'. By using a technique called living (or fortunes) graph, pupils...
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Alfred the Great. How great was he? KQ5

In this outstanding lesson, pupils are asked to critique and then improve the BBC children’s website entry for Alfred the Great. But first they need to see how history has commemorated Alfred and then carry out some research for themselves. This lesson offers plenty of opportunities...
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How effective was Anglo-Saxon justice? KQ6

Pupils work in groups to create a series of short dramatic enactments, each of which illustrates a way of keeping law and order / punishments meted out in Saxon times. These are then summarised before giving the real-life case of Edgar for them to decide...
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Were Saxon times really ‘Dark’ Ages? KQ7

Pupils design a two-sided paper plate on which they record the arguments used in the debate about the 'Darkness' of Saxon Britain. On one side they show the enlightened side of Saxon society. On the other, covered in black paper to represent the Dark side...
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