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How to use Hamilton topics

Julie St Clair Hoare By Julie St Clair Hoare

Hamilton's topics provide flexible planning that can be used as intensive or extended cross-curricular study over a range of subjects. Some focus heavily on history or geography, while others are more wide-ranging, incorporating National Curriculum for England objectives in design and technology, art, music, dance, science, PSHE, PE, English and maths.

For all school age children, we will look at whether they have a broad and rich curriculum. So for example, are the foundation subjects [Science, Design Technology, Computing, History, Geography, P.E., Art and Design and Music] being taught fully throughout key stage 2?

Amanda Spielman, OFSTED Chief Inspector

Topics can be used comprehensively throughout a whole term, or as selected blocks of sessions on a particular aspect of a topic, or even as individual sessions to cover a particular element of a topic. There is much to choose from - and it's up to you how you use the material.

Key Stage

In order to maximise choice, all topics are available to all Friends of Hamilton and school subscribers. However, please note that topics are written for a specific key stage. If you wish to use a topic for a different key stage, you need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives, to your key stage.

Topic Overview

Each topic comes with a topic overview. This provides a summary of the learning activities and the key National Curriculum (or EYFS) goals that will be covered within the topic, and within each individual block – helping you with the process of selection. Relating this to your own long term planning this will help ensure that you address the requirements of the curriculum.

I usually research each topic and magpie some ideas from here, there and everywhere as well as come up with my own ideas. This time I didn't need to do that at all! Your topic is exciting, packed full of activities I know my children are going to love – thank you!

Helen in Cardiff


Each topic is split into coherent blocks of teaching that cover a self-contained part of the topic. It is not expected that teachers will necessarily use all the blocks within a topic, or teach them in a particular order. However, it will often be helpful to begin with Session 1 in the first block, as this is designed to provide an introduction to the topic overall. The first session can also give you a sense of your children’s areas of interest and knowledge gaps that may help you choose blocks that will most build on children’s enthusiasms and learning needs.

We recommend working through a whole block of sessions in order, as the sessions progressively develop skills and knowledge, through the blocks. Each block culminates in a meaningful outcome in the final session.

Sessions and Timings

Each block is split into a number of teaching sessions. The timetabling of sessions is flexible and will vary from school to school. Teachers can schedule sessions once a week, or in more concentrated chunks of time – or however they choose! The length of time a single session will take will depend on a number of factors, including the cohort, the desired depth of outcomes and the adaptations made to the planning. There are many opportunities to extend or condense sessions according to the needs and opportunities in your class.