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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.
First World War - Scheme of Work
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First World War - Scheme of Work

(1)
‘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.
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
Slavery
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Slavery

(8)
This lesson offers graphic evidence of the cruelty on which enslavement was based and considers details about the way enslaved African society worked and how they were punished.
The Great Plague of 1665-6
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The Great Plague of 1665-6

(6)
A lesson plan which enables pupils to learn about the plague and to learn how the lives, beliefs, ideas and attitudes of people in Britain have changed over time.
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.
Census Detective
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Census Detective

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The purpose of this lesson is for pupils to look at some pages from the census and learn how much they can discover about people who lived in the past.
The Home Front
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The Home Front

(6)
This lesson asks pupils to develop their understanding of the war on the Home Front. Through primary source analysis it examines how those involved on the Home Front were encouraged to deal with the war and the problems that shortages and uncertainty created.
The Sinking of the Titanic
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The Sinking of the Titanic

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This lesson is based on the story of the sinking of the Titanic. Using the sources pupils can find out about the passengers on the Titanic to find out about those who drowned and also the survivors.
Medicine on the Western Front (Part One)
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Medicine on the Western Front (Part One)

(0)
The National Archives holds many documents pertaining to the First World War, allowing us to investigate many aspects of wartime life. Within these collections we have gathered together examples of a variety of records that relate to Medicine on the Western Front. The collections cover key examples of the medical issues faced during wartime, innovations inspired by the war, and the triumphs and struggles of those serving as doctors and nurses as well as the soldiers abroad. Both these collections of original sources, Part 1 and Part 2, can be used to support GCSE thematic modules which cover Medicine through Time to the present day and the historical context of the British sector of the Western Front. Teachers have the flexibility to download and create their own resources from these documents, to develop their pupils’ understanding of how to work with sources and prepare and practice for source based exam questions. Each collection includes a wide range of sources to encourage students to think broadly when exploring these topics. With each collection we have suggested 5 tasks based on some of the documents. The tasks can be completed individually or in groups. There is a downloadable pdf of questions to help working with sources. All documents are provided with transcripts. We hope that exposure to original source material may also foster further document research. The following themes covered by the documents in Part 1 include: Type of injury which resulted from trench warfare. Medical treatments received by injured soldiers and some of the medical developments that came with the First World War. Dangers faced by soldiers caused by exploding shells, grenades, shrapnel, gas, personal combat, flooding, noise, acute stress. Type of medical services from transport to hospitals. (For the injured, this could involve initial treatment and transport by a Field Ambulance unit and return to duty or movement to a Casualty Clearing Station. From here injured soldiers could be moved to a Base Hospital before transportation to a British military/civilian hospital at home via hospital ship. Transport itself ranged from stretcher bearers, horse-drawn ambulances, motor vehicles, boats or ships.) Included here also is the personal War Office record of war poet Wilfred Owen (one of a specific record set of notable high-ranking officers in the British Army).
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.
Christmas is cancelled! Cromwell's Commonwealth & the Interregnum
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Christmas is cancelled! Cromwell's Commonwealth & the Interregnum

(2)
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 ever 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”
The French Revolution
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The French Revolution

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This lesson encourages pupils to examine and investigate the British reaction to the outbreak of the French Revolution through the use of primary source evidence. Suitable for KS3 - Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901 - The French Revolutionary Wars
Elizabethan Propaganda
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Elizabethan Propaganda

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This lesson is intended for use either as part of a study of the use of propaganda over time, or within the context of work on Elizabethan England and the Spanish Armada.
Fire of London
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Fire of London

(1)
This lesson can be used ofr KS1, KS2 and KS3. It looks at the story of the fire of London through evidence relating to some of the key characters - Thomas Farrinor and Charles II.
1833 Factory Act
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1833 Factory Act

(1)
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.
Body Snatchers: Medicine, Crime & Frankenstein
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Body Snatchers: Medicine, Crime & Frankenstein

(1)
The early 19th Century saw many advances in science and medicine, in a time where scientific and religious ideas often clashed over what was morally correct. These ideas are explored in nineteenth century literature such as the novel Frankenstein, but the stories in the real world were often as shocking and brutal as the Gothic fantasy. This lesson explores the business of the grave robber and how they furthered the study of medicine through a grey area of the law. This lesson can be used as part of several fields of study for GCSE, including: Crime and Punishment History of Medicine/Health and the People Social Reform of the early 1800s Historical Context of ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley. The confessions of Bishop and May describe their daily lives in great detail. The full confessions are twelve pages long each, and so have been presented as extracts to provide the most relevant sections describing one particular case. The initial task can be completed as group work, in carousel, or individually as its own lesson before moving on to the rest of the sources. Care should be taken in providing the source describing the murder to students. The final source shows the on going effects of the Act over twenty-five years later, asking students to consider these sources in the context of a larger narrative.
Victorian Homes
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Victorian Homes

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A lesson plan on Victorian homes. Pupils are gradually introduced to sources on Hackney, starting with a small map section, then photographic evidence, concluding with the census.