KS2 Life in Victorian times outstanding lessons

Teaching the Victorians under the current history curriculum. Incredibly Gove deemed that Life in Victorian times should not be a compulsory part of the KS2 history curriculum. So we need to find imaginative ways round this. Here are three to consider:

1. Make it the focus of your local history study. Build up some census return data on a database and make it a vehicle for some great ICT work, asking and answering questions and raising and testing hypotheses.

2. Make it the focus of your thematic study e.g. development of the railways for example

3. Carry on teaching it outside the National Curriculum. This does not mean extra time for history. You gain time by shaving a little off the other units.

There is just so much good planning, teaching and resourcing of the Victorians going on in schools today that we can’t throw it all out on a Gove’s whim. The outstanding lessons below continue to prove what can be done with this exciting topic.

PLEASE NOTE: Because this not a compulsory unit we have not aligned the lessons as closely with the planning so please bear this in mind. Not everything on the planner will have a lesson or a smart task.


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victorian britain knowledge organiser
Victorian Britain knowledge organiser – KS2

You are learning about Victorian Britain because this was a really significant period of huge change in industry and technology,…

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Victorian Britain – KQ1 – What were the main changes that took place during this time?

Motivating introductory lessons which , from the outset, challenges pupils to compare two images of the same place from the…

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Children working in Victorian factorie
Victorian Britain – KQ2 – Children working in Victorian factories: was it as bad as they tell us?

This lesson is designed for Y5/6 pupils who already have a little knowledge of industrial change but have not yet…

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country to city push
Victorian Britain – KQ3 – If life was so hard for families in the towns why did so many leave the countryside and move to the towns in Victorian times? – a history mystery

Starting a lesson with an apparent contradiction is a good way of engaging pupils interest. This ‘history mystery’ makes excellent…

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Is this what Dickens' London looked like?
Victorian Britain – KQ3a – What the Dickens was life like in the Victorian cities?

This lesson makes extremely good use of a technique called creative tension. Pupils listen, with their eyes closed, to a…

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How did people feel about the coming of the railway?
Victorian Britain – KQ4 – Victorian railways: winners and losers. A thinking skills activity leading to a role play

This active thinking skills lesson asks pupils to consider the likely effect of the coming of the railways on different…

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Going to school in Victorian times
Victorian Britian – KQ5a – Going to school in Victorian times: can pupils write a paragraph for a KS1 textbook using photographs alone? SMART TASK Y3-5

This activity puts pupils in the role as researchers for a new book on Victorian schools. They have been commissioned…

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Victorian Britain – KQ5b – Victorian poor and the workhouse; what does Martha’s story tell us?

NB This is an additional lesson that does not appear on the planner. This topic couldn’t be more relevant to…

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climbing boys
Victorian Britain – KQ5c – Climbing boys enquiry – SMART TASK

This enquiry falls into five parts: A selection of four related enquiry tasks which encourage pupils to explore and then…

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Victorian Britain – KQ6 – The Victorian Era: Dark Age or Golden Age?

This is the concluding lesson on the Victorians.  It starts with a plate and a poster commemorating the achievements of…

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Children working in Victorian factorie
Keeping up-to-date with your teaching of Victorian Britain at KS2

We often talk to children about the benefits that brought so many people into industrial towns in the first half…

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victorian photo
Using a Victorian census to discover what life was like 100 years ago SMART TASK

There are 4 separate ways of approaching this topic, each becoming increasingly more ambitious. Stage 1 only is featured below. …

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