Primary WW2

Why was Rohm murdered?

Although World War Two was always a very popular, and usually well-taught, topic in primary schools, the government decided not to include it as a compulsory topic in the National Curriculum which came into effect in August 2014. Notwithstanding this decision, many schools have decided to carry on teaching it anyway, as it works. So, if you are thinking of teaching this to KS2 pupils what approaches are recommended?

Firstly, it is best to focus on the Home Front with younger pupils. Not only is this narrow period of time very vivid and clearly different from their own lives, there are loads of accessible resources in the form of film, artefacts photographs, letters, diaries and oral testimony. It lends itself extremely well to role play and to approaches using fiction. Pupils can begin to empathise with the trauma of evacuation, whilst learning that children had diverse experiences.

As pupils move through the primary school, so they should start placing events on the Home Front within a broader context. Taking the example of evacuation again, pupils could be asked to explain why mothers stopped sending their children away in the first six months of the war (the Phoney war) but didn’t hesitate in later 1941 (at the height of the Blitz). Pupils grasp the key concept of propaganda when wondering why all images of evacuation in the media of the time were so positive.

All these ideas are brought to life in a variety of fully-resourced outstanding lessons which are featured on the site. There are lessons ranging from evacuation to VE day, each linking with another key are of the curriculum whether it be data handling or persuasive letter writing.

Why did Britain have to go to war in 1939? KQ1

Pupils learn the sequence of events leading to the Second World war before a lively role-play debate in which they exchange well-rehearsed arguments verbally in the House of Commons and then write tight summaries of the key arguments for both sides.

Step 1

Start with the puzzling...
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Planner for Britain at War: The Home Front 1939-45

The new  detailed downloadable planner below has key questions, suggested activities, resources and assessments for teaching The Home Front in World War Two at KS2 and links with the lessons on the site. It has been released, on teachers' request, prior to all the...
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Evacuation enquiry – links with numeracy KQ2

This lesson comes towards the beginning of the topic after pupils have explored the nature and reasons for evacuation. I am grateful to Julie Tzivanidou of Cove Junior School, near Farnborough , for providing the original version of the PowerPoint presentation.

Learning objectives

  • pupils learn to...
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Teaching Life in Britain 1930-1945 at Key Stage 2

Inexplicably axed by Gove from the 2014 curriculum, my advice is to carry on teaching this highly successful unit focusing on the Home Front. You can shave time from other units to make room for this because you know it works so well and leads...
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