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The National Archives Education Service

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The Education Service provides free online resources and taught sessions, supporting the National Curriculum for history from key stage 1 up to A-level. Visit our website to access the full range of our resources, from Domesday to Britain in the 1960s, and find out about more about our schools programme, including new professional development opportunities for teachers.

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The Education Service provides free online resources and taught sessions, supporting the National Curriculum for history from key stage 1 up to A-level. Visit our website to access the full range of our resources, from Domesday to Britain in the 1960s, and find out about more about our schools programme, including new professional development opportunities for teachers.
The Road to Partition 1939-1947
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The Road to Partition 1939-1947

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The purpose of this document collection relating to the creation of India/Pakistan is to allow students and teachers to develop their own lines of historical enquiry or historical questions using original documents on this period. The sources offer students a chance to develop their powers of evaluation and analysis. Teachers may wish to use the resources to encourage students to ‘curate’ their own exhibition
The Boxers of Whitechapel
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The Boxers of Whitechapel

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Free printable teaching resource pack including four case studies on Whitechapel in 1880 using original historical documents for a document led enquiry/investigation. Whitechapel in the late 1800s was an area of overpopulation, industry and crime. With such wide systemic issues it can be easy to lose sight of the experiences of the individuals who lived in the area. This lesson explores the historic environment through the interconnected lives of four individuals who lived in the area during the 1880s. What can the stories of two West Indian boxers, the daughter of an Irish carpet maker and a child born in Whitechapel itself reveal about the challenges and benefits of living around Commercial Street in the Victorian era? https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/the-boxers-of-whitechapel/ Suitable for Edexcel GCSE History: Whitechapel, c1870-c1900: crime, policing and the inner city Migrants in Britain, c800–present Crime and punishment in Britain, c1000–present AQA GCSE History: AC Britain: Migration, empires and the people: c790 to the present day
Adolf Hitler
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Adolf Hitler

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The lesson plan and sources helps pupils to look at conflicting evidence and assessing their reliability and to develop an understanding of the various ways Hitler is portrayed.
The Poor Law
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The Poor Law

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This lesson can be used as a starting point for investigating the new Poor Law in more depth and discussing attitudes to the poor in 19th century Britain.
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Histories
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Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Histories

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This resource contains a hyperlinked list of National Archives current resources for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories on The National Archives website. It includes education resources, exhibitions, research guides, blog posts and podcasts by staff and external writers and links to external websites. The intention for this resource is to make it easier for teachers to find resources for teaching a diverse curriculum. We are committed to further improving our resources and continuing to increase the number or Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic histories told through our lessons and collections. This document will be updated periodically to add new resources that have been made available through our website. In light of the debates around the term ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic,’ and the acronym ‘BAME,’ it might be important to note that it is used primarily for its practicality. Indeed, our records highlight the shifting nature of language as it applies to ‘race’ and racism over time, often inspired by social justice struggles. They provide a broader historical context for the emergence of such terms, and how through ongoing discussions, they are likely to change again in the future.
Victorian Prisons
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Victorian Prisons

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Victorians were worried about the rising crime rate: offences went up from about 5,000 per year in 1800 to about 20,000 per year in 1840. They were firm believers in punishment for criminals but faced a problem: what should the punishment be? There were prisons, but they were mostly small, old and badly-run. Common punishments included transportation – sending the offender to America, Australia or Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) – or execution: hundreds of offences carried the death penalty. By the 1830s people were having doubts about both these punishments. The answer was prison: lots of new prisons were built and old ones extended. The Victorians also had clear ideas about what these prisons should be like. They should be unpleasant places, to deter people from committing crimes. Once inside, prisoners had to be made to face up to their own faults, by keeping them in silence and making them do hard, boring work. Walking a treadwheel or picking oakum (separating strands of rope) were the most common forms of hard labour.
The English Civil Wars Virtual Classroom
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The English Civil Wars Virtual Classroom

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Which factor was the most significant in paving the way for the execution of Charles I? In this virtual classroom session, students study a range of documents to consider some of the causes of the English Civil Wars. Book The English Civil Wars now Suitable for: Edexcel GCSE History (9-1). Unit: Warfare and British Society, c1250-present, option 12, Warfare and English Society in the Early Modern Period: the experience of war. OCR GCSE, History A, Explaining the Modern World (J410). This session provides support for the unit: War and British Society c.790-2010: The Civil Wars of 1642-1651 in England, Scotland and Ireland: the nature of these wars; their impact in the people of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the unit: Monarchy and Democracy in Britain c.1000 to 2014: Defeat and return of monarchy: Charles I’s personal rule 1629-1640; the Civil Wars and the abolition of monarchy; the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. AQA GCSE History (8145). Thematic study 2B Britain: Power and the People c1170 to the present day, part two: Challenging royal authority: the short and the long term impact of the English Revolution.
Cold War -Did the Cold War really start in 1919-39
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Cold War -Did the Cold War really start in 1919-39

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There are 6 galleries in this Exhibition, each containing a number of case studies. Each Case Study is designed so that it can be used as a 'stand alone' item in one or two classroom sessions. However, each Case Study in a Gallery is linked to form a more coherent area of research. This has been done to give students and teachers the maximum amount of flexibility. The Case Studies in each Gallery are linked together to allow students to answer the 'Big Question'. Details of the Big Question can be found on the Introduction to the Gallery Page and on each source page. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/cold-war/
William Shakespeare
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William Shakespeare

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This lesson provides pupils with evidence about Shakespeare that differs from the traditional 'greatest playwright of all time' material that many will be used to. Pupils studying life in Tudor times both from a History and English perspective can learn about Shakespeare as a person rather than a world famous writer.
What is History Virtual Classroom
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What is History Virtual Classroom

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How do historians know what to believe? This exciting session gives pupils the opportunity to work with a range of primary documents selected around a specific theme. Pupils will gain an understanding of how different types of sources can be used to find out about the past, and how historians can use these sources as evidence. This session supports schools focusing on a thematic study in British history (beyond 1066). Book What is History now
African nurses (in the NHS and earlier)
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African nurses (in the NHS and earlier)

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This lesson has been developed in collaboration with the Young Historians Project and their project ‘A Hidden History: African women and the British health service’. Other educational resources can be accessed via their website. For an essential activity for students using this lesson consult their blog post on Princess Ademola listed in external links below. “The recruitment of African women into the National Health Service from British colonies began in the period after the Second World War. However, nurses, doctors and other medical professionals had trained in Britain before this, as the colonial power did not provide the full facilities for medical training in the colonies. Despite their long history of work within health services in Britain, the role of African women is rarely highlighted in discussions of the history of the NHS or of health work more generally. Current narratives on Black women in the British health service tend to focus on the ‘Windrush generation’ and Caribbean contributions”: Young Historians Project. Use this lesson to find original documents which explore the role of African nurses in the health services of Britain. Please note that some sources contain offensive language that was used at the time and is unacceptable today.
1833 Factory Act
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1833 Factory Act

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A lesson to teach about the 1833 factory out where children can investigate how the far the act had solved the problems of child labour.
Armistice and Legacy
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Armistice and Legacy

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‘Armistice and Legacy’ is a graphic arts project illustrated by nine students who spent a week at The National Archives, illustrating their interpretations of First World War records and the research undertaken by The National Archives staff during the centenary of the war. The tales are told through the eyes of those who served in the war, showing the diverse experiences at the front and at home. The eBook can be used as a resource to learn about the experiences of war, or as an example of work your students could create inspired by historical documents.
Christmas is cancelled! Cromwell's Commonwealth & the Interregnum
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Christmas is cancelled! Cromwell's Commonwealth & the Interregnum

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The lesson supports the new GCSE courses for Key stage 4 and the National Curriculum at Key stage 3, the development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745. This is the first online lesson we have created on Oliver Cromwell using the National Archives State Papers as evidence for a historical enquiry. The State Papers offer a wonderful glimpse into the world of the Protectorate when England was a republic. For example one source reveals the impact of puritan beliefs on the celebration of Christmas. According to a report by Sir Henry Mildmay on 15th December 1650, to Parliament: “Council have received informations that there was very wilful and strict observation of the day commonly called Christmas Day, throughout the cities of London and Westminster, by a general keeping of shops shut up; and that there were contemptuous speeches used by some in favour thereof” Other sources in the lesson cover the nature of martial law, Cromwell’s treatment of royalist supporters, his foreign policy and its effects at home, and the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. There is also material relating to Charles II’s court in exile, where according to a letter in January 1657, “the news from England is of plots and treasons, year of gunpowder treasons, that would have sent the Protector to heaven in a fiery chariot”
First World War - Scheme of Work
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First World War - Scheme of Work

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‘Why are historians still arguing about the First World War?’ Using original letters, reports, photographs and maps, students follow an enquiry led approach via six modules of 1-3 lessons each. Working with these sources your students will be able to put the evidence to the test and bust a series of common myths about this conflict, including were the soldiers ‘lions led by donkeys’ or did ’women spent the war nursing and knitting’. This scheme of work is designed as an an ‘off the peg’ resource for students learning about the First World War at Key Stage 3-4.
Women and the English Civil Wars. How did these conflicts affect their lives?
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Women and the English Civil Wars. How did these conflicts affect their lives?

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This lesson could be used as part of a teaching programme for any of the thematic studies for the GCSE history courses relating to the study of Warfare and British society or Power and Authority. It explores the stories of some of those women whose lives were changed by the English Civil Wars. The documents reveal that they played a variety of roles, a few of which may surprise us. Throughout history, wartime has impacted on all different types of people. The lives and experiences of women are sometimes harder to gauge, particularly further back in time. However, it is possible to discover more about the important roles that women had in these wars and in others. It is also important to include different types of people: men and women, young and old, rich and poor, when we study history. The lives and experiences of ordinary people help us to understand what it might have been like to live through war then as well as now.
Medieval Castles
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Medieval Castles

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The documents in this lesson relate to Framlingham, Portchester, Stokesay , Berwick and Alnwick castles. Some of these feature in the specification for OCR History GCSE module: Castles Form and Function c1000-1750 as specified sites in conjunction with English Heritage. Framlingham Castle is the first named site for OCR in 2018, followed by Kenilworth Castle in 2019. For AQA, GCSE History, module Historical Environment of Medieval England, Stokesay Castle is the specified site for 2018 and Pevensey Castle for 2019.
Framlingham Castle
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Framlingham Castle

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All the documents included in this lesson relate to Framlingham Castle which features in the specification for ‘OCR History GCSE module: Castles Form and Function c1000-1750 as specified site’ in conjunction with English Heritage. Framlingham Castle is the first named site for OCR in 2018. The records used cover a range of material including royal grants, extracts from pipe rolls and the Calendar of Patent Rolls, royal orders, licences and pardons. We hope that these documents will offer students a chance to develop their powers of evaluation and analysis. All sources have been provided with a transcript and as the language may prove challenging, we have also provided a simplified version with more difficult words defined within the text. Each source is captioned and dated to provide a sense of what the document is about. Alternatively, teachers may wish to use the sources to develop their own lesson in a different way or combine with other sources. All the documents included in this lesson relate to Framlingham Castle which features in the specification for ‘OCR History GCSE module: Castles Form and Function c1000-1750 as specified site’ in conjunction with English Heritage. Framlingham Castle is the first named site for OCR in 2018.