Regarded by many as simply too complex to be taught to Y7 or Y8, the French revolution divides opinion.  Personally I think it is a great topic, as long as you don’t feel that you need to cover the whole period from the 1780s to 1815 in equal detail.  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?  I focus mainly 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.

The following Key Stage 3 history lessons for teaching the French Revolution have been judged to be outstanding according to OFSTED criteria. You will find a wide variety of teaching and learning activities and full lesson plans as well as a rich array of teaching resources including PowerPoint® presentations.

Key Stage 3 Outstanding History Lesson

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