Teaching The French Revolution to Key Stage 3 has never been statutory. Even with Gove’s reforms of the 2014 history curriculum , it only appears as a sort of walk-on part in the British history unit 1750-1900. I think it is a great topic, and one that fits the significant society category very well. You need to go for turning points and the links with today. Why do the French sing the Marseillaise at rugby matches when we sing God Save the Queen?
The focus is on causation as the underpinning theme throughout the whole study. The lesson comparing the different ways in which the Storming of the Bastille has been interpreted offers a colourful and exciting way in, as does the ‘Through the Keyhole’ view of Versailles. Comparisons can be made across countries and periods by contrasting the reasons for the revolutions and the execution of Louis XVI can be compared with that of Charles I. By exploring the way people set about ruling in the two countries pupils are well prepared for the comparison of Cromwell and Robespierre. This provides an exceptionally rich vein of material for the study of interpretations.
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