Beyond Face Value

Blitz spiritA study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

The purpose of this unit was two-fold: firstly, to offer opportunities to develop big picture overviews of topics which help pupils to appreciate the long arc of history; secondly, to give pupils a chance to study more modern history.

For many of you this will offer scope for an imaginative new unit of work. For others, it will be a chance to reconfigure some of the units from the previous curriculum that were in danger of being lost.
This new unit of work called Beyond Face Value is a series of skills-based enquiries looking at the way powerful people have manipulated evidence for their own ends and have tried to persuade others of their version of the past.

The case studies we have based the unit on deliberately draw in important historical content which all pupils should know about but which are no longer compulsory: the Tudors; Victorian Britain and Life in Britain During World War Two. Each of these has been popular in primary schools for decades and there is no good reason why they have been excluded from the compulsory pary of the National Curriculum.

The specific studies have all been chosen because they cast light on problems of evidence. By Y6 pupils should be looking at sources not just for what they tell us but should be aware that sources often disagree and then historians have to puzzle out who is telling the truth-pretty much a skill for life in the age of fake news!

The case studies are:

a. Portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I
b. Factory owners and factory workers’ contrasting versions of what factory life was like, to get pupils to understand vested interest.
c. Evacuation: whose version should we believe? Showing how government try to create a deliberately partial version of events for a particular purpose i.e. to boost morale , and how censorship was employed in wartime.
d. the Blitz; highlighting the way the government used propaganda, an important idea for Y6 pupils and brilliantly prepares pupils for Keystage 3 work which focuses heavily on which version of events should we believe and why.

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