Victorians (Old Curriculum)

Turn back the clock (Old Curriculum)

Study Victoria - her life, family, portraits and homes. Major inventions lead into the daily life of Victoria’s subjects. Workhouses and child labour are studied through fiction. Use census data, maps, buildings and the advent of railways to develop local history.

Each Topic is written for a particular Key Stage. If you use a Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

This Topic was written for the old National Curriculum of England.  We have left it on the website so that teachers unconstrained by the new National Curriculum can continue to access this material.  Teachers in England would have to adapt this Topic to the new curriculum or use some of the new Topics available on the website. 

Supporting documents for topic
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01: Victorian census detectives

Children are introduced to the notion of a census in order to ‘turn back the clock’ and find out about people who lived in their local area back in 1841. They become ‘historical detectives’ and use extracts to build visual pictures of families living at that time.

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01a: Census collating and counting

Extracts from the 1891 Census are used to compare with the previous session’s findings and to look for trends. The children then use the data to produce block graphs and pie charts that enable them to read the data more precisely.

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02: Garbage in, garbage out

Children consider the role of the Victorian Enumerator whose job it was to collect the data from the census. They compare this to modern day databases and use the internet to assess several databases for their search capabilities.

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03: The power of the database

This session focuses on a basic spreadsheet database with imaginary Victorian data. The children consider how inaccurate data entry will affect the totals and patterns. They use the database to correct and add data and filter and sort.

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04: The cartographer’s challenge

Children take up the Cartographer’s Challenge and compare maps of their local area from the Victorian period with maps of today. They work out what has changed, been added or no longer exists and consider reasons why.

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04a: The historian explains

In this session we get out and about with old photos, maps, a camera and notebook and focus on how the local area has changed on the ground. Children collect evidence then complete a guide for a Victorian travelling forward in time to re-visit his ‘old’ street.

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05: Population explosion

Children learn of the huge population explosion that took place in the 19th century with the advent of industrialisation and the rural decline. Children use a map of the area showing a wider region than before and colour code it to show growth in the towns/cities.

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05a: When I was a lad

Children consider the effects of the exodus from country to town and how for some, it was the start of a better life and for others, a road to poverty. They write articles/dialogues centred on a grandfather looking back on the changes in his lifetime.

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06: Railways and the changing landscape

The next set of 6 sessions focus on the coming of the railways. We begin by looking at how the railway system came about, how it affected the landscape and what was good or bad about it. The children undertake their own research using books and internet.

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06a: The railways – just the ticket

Time to focus on support or opposition to the railways. Children hear and discuss points of view of real Victorian people then produce a set of railway ticket opinion cards to reflect these views. Will the railways be a ‘First Class Idea’ or a ‘Destination No Go’?

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07: The railways are coming - to us

The railway debate now focuses more locally: children look at censuses and maps and discover movement, job development and town growth. They prepare an unbiased report for a local Mayor of the facts behind their area becoming a railway town.

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English Plan 9: Non-fiction - persuasion

Identify persuasive features in letters and write own persuasive letter. Investigate passive sentences, topic sentences, paragraphs, emotive vocabulary and spelling strategies. Analyse and write a persuasive speech and give at a debate. Write and perform an advert.

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08: The railways: good or bad?

Children analyse reports from yesterday and vote as to which ones are the most unbiased and accurate. After listening to the Town Meeting, children then produce a poster that states whether the railway in their area is a good or bad thing in the 19th Century.

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09: A railway in our town

Children consider occupations of the people in their local area and how the arrival of the railways could affect them individually. They research some of these jobs and get in role as a local character to take part in the debate tomorrow.

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09a: A chance to let off steam

The teacher takes the role of the Town Mayor and chairs a meeting in which local people express their views about the railways coming to their town. Each child takes the role of a townsperson and fully engages in the debate.

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10: Victorian legacy: architecture

Children discuss what they think is the legacy of the Victorians and home in on the style of architecture the Victorians developed. They do some research and collate a guide as to the main features from this period.

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11: Victorian legacy in our local area

Children venture out into their local area and record examples (drawing and camera) of the Victorian architecture still visible – they use guide from yesterday as well as images of how the area used to look and record both detail an large scale.

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12: Our own great exhibition 1

Children use their sketches from the previous session and using line and tone generate a series of art works that will form the start of a class display or exhibition of their local area during the Victorian era.

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12a: Our own great exhibition 2

The Exhibition is now planned fully with each child taking a role - be it design, marketing, research, etc. – the children engage in high-level collaborative work to produce a large display to which the rest of the school is invited.