Teaching Crime and Punishment as a post-1066 thematic unit at KS2

For a while now, a number of schools have been developing interesting thematic units that span 1,000 years and which redress the KS2 imbalance of pre-and post-1066 thematic studies. One of the most successful appears to have been a variation on ‘1,000 years of crime and punishment’.

Not only does the topic appeal to pupils of this age (I would suggest Y5 or Y6), it also enables them to discuss topical moral issues to do with treatment of ‘outsiders’ attitude to the poor, and the role of prisons in today’s society. By looking at sensitive and controversial issues through the long lens of history can be extremely valuable.
So what makes a good thematic study? Here are my top ten features.

  1. It must have relevance to pupils and the society in which they live. When so much of KS2 is positively archaeological this is a great chance to teach some genuinely modern history.
  2. It is intrinsically interesting in its own right with plenty of exciting content. In this Crime and Punishment topic Key Question 4 , for example, there are exciting activities on smuggling and highwaymen.
  3. It should
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