What can we discover about Victorian workhouses from clips of the film Oliver?

This lesson was originally taught by Kathryn Price at Crescent Primary in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Year 4 children had just started their topic of the Victorians and this activity was carried out within the first two weeks of term. As this lesson fell so early in the term, children had only a limited knowledge of what life was like for poor Victorian children. As their knowledge developed so they were soon able to start making judgements about the film Oliver’s accuracy as a historical interpretation. This lesson draws heavily on Kathryn’s imaginative ideas.

Learning objectives

  • to use video clips to understand what life was like for poor children in Victorian times.
  •  to evaluate the value of feature films for providing historical evidence

Step 1

Set the scene as a bit of a puzzle. You have found this film clip but are not sure exactly where it comes from or what the film is about. Can you help me? It is important that you keep the introduction very brief so as not to give away too many clues. The children need to come at this with a relatively clear mind, free of too much background knowledge that would prevent them from

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