Crime and punishment
This post-1066 thematic unit has been produced to meet demand from KS2 teachers for a topic that is genuinely relevant and up-to-date for top juniors: something for them to get their teeth into and to voice their own opinions. By providing pupils with a broad chronological sweep of nearly a thousand years it makes a significant contribution to pupils’ grasp of the long arc of time. It is helpful if the topic can be linked to work done on Saxon justice.
We have concentrated on what motivates pupils: stories about criminals and how fairly they were dealt with. With all enquiry questions the object has been to open up informed debate, relating issues to the present day wherever possible. In this way the topic makes a major contribution to pupils’ citizenship education. You will find the areas covered to be key but there will be gaps; that is the nature of the beast. Far better that pupils can see the big picture and it’s relevant to today, than they get bogged down in too much period detail. Above all the topic helps pupils to develop a deeper understanding of crucial historical concepts: change continuity, turning points.