Thematic Curriculum – Conflict

Following on from our trip to Portsmouth Historical Dockyard, the children will be learning more about Lord Nelson and HMS Victory later in the term.  However, we think it is essential that children’s understanding is based on a chronological narrative, so to begin the theme of Conflict we are returning to 1066 and the Norman Conquest.  We will then continue to examine the impact that conflict has on society by learning about the Crusades, Elizabeth I’s wars and The Seven Years War, before reaching the nineteenth century and the Napoleonic Wars, the Great Game and Crimean War and the Boer Wars.

Throughout the term, links will be made with other curriculum subjects.  This week and next, the children will be learning about the impact that the Roman conquest of Britain and the Norman Conquest had on the language we speak in their Latin and French lessons. In Maths, the children have been looking at graphs that illustrate how much more likely you would be to die in an untimely and unpleasant way if you lived in a tribal society.  (People living in British Columbia prior to the eighteenth century had a 30% chance of dying a violent death, compared to only around 1% of people living in Europe at the time of the First and Second World Wars.)  In History and Art lessons this week, the children have been looking at the Bayeux Tapestry, analysing its reliability as a historical source as well as using it as a source of inspiration for developing and creating their own artwork.

In Life Skills, the children will be learning about pilgrimages and the importance of Jerusalem and the Holy Land to the Abrahamic religions.  This work will join up with lessons on the Crusades in History, helping them to appreciate that events from nearly one thousand years ago still have relevance today.  In Music lessons meanwhile, the children have begun a topic focusing on Beethoven and looking at how conflict shaped his compositions, including the influence of Napoleon on his third symphony.

In English this term, the class novella is The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, through which the children will be learning about internal and societal conflict.  They will also be reading prose and poetry that links with the History curriculum, such as Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade and Hardy’s Drummer Hodge.

We hope that by introducing a thematic curriculum, the children will better appreciate that the world does not comprise of the discrete subjects they encounter at school; that instead all disciplines overlap and interweave, bringing greater richness and depth of interest and enjoyment.