Areas to cover

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Yearly Overview-Year Six- History


Areas to cover


Autumn One

The American Civil War

American expansion

America after the War of Independence.

The Lewis Clarke expedition, and early pioneers.

American slavery

Slave states in the south, and free states in the north.

Slave resistance and the underground railway.

American movement for abolition.

Election of Abraham Lincoln.

American Civil War

Unionists versus Confederates.

Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Causes and consequences of Unionist victory in the War.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

  • America, the story of us is an entertaining, if slightly melodramatic, documentary from which it would be good to show clips. Available on youtube.

  • The History Channel website has some excellent clips and resources.

  • The American Civil War (Dorling Kindersley) and The Civil War in Color by John C. Guntzelman.


Autumn Two

The Industrial Revolution

Machines and factories

Changes in cotton spinning. The cotton frame and power looms.

Growth of the factory system.

Development of Manchester as ‘Cottonopolis’.

Steam Engine

Principles of how the steam engine was used to create rotary motion.

First applications of the steam engine.


Development of canals. Aqueducts, barges and locks.

Ability to mass transport heavy goods.

Stephenson’s Rocket and the invention of the train.

Spread of rail transport around Britain.

  • The Young Oxford History of Britain & Ireland, pages 286-320.

  • Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey, pages 327-378.

  • The BBC website has some articles on the period, and clips from a recent documentary about the industrial revolution and a documentary about trains.

  • This topic lends itself well to local history, eg. canals and Victorian train stations.


Spring One

Social Reform

Increasing pace of social change

Changes and disruption caused by industrialisation.

Loss of artisan jobs to machines and factories.

Luddite rebellions.

Urbanisation and its consequences.

Child Labour

Child labour in mines, cotton factories and chimney sweeps.

The campaign to end child labour.

The Factory Acts.

Wealth and poverty

The poor law and the workhouse.

Growing material prosperity.

The 1851 Great Exhibition.

  • The Young Oxford History of Britain & Ireland, pages 286-320.

  • Great Tales from English History by Robert Lacey, pages 327-378.

  • The British Library have sources showing social change during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The National Archives have some good sources in their ‘Victorian lives’ section. BBC Primary website has a good section on Victorian Britain, in particular ‘children at work’ and ‘children in factories’.

Spring Two

Political Reform

Political radicals

Growing calls for British politics to change.

Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt and the Peterloo tragedy.

The Great Reform Act

Changes to the electoral system.

Significance of the Act.

Further reforms towards full democracy in 1928.


Wolfe Tone’s rebellion and the Act of Union.

The Irish potato famine.

The campaign for Home Rule, and Irish Independence.

  • The Young Oxford History of Britain & Ireland, pages 308-317

  • The Houses of Parliament have resources on the working of Parliament, votes for women, and an illustrated timeline about the history of Parliament.

  • For events in Ireland, show clips from The Story of Ireland (2011).


Summer One

The British Empire

The Growth of the British Empire

‘‘The empire on which the sun never set’.

Different nations that were once part of the British Empire.

The ‘Pax Britannica’.

The British in India

The Indian Mutiny, causes and consequences.

The creation of the British Raj.

Queen Victoria as Empress of India.

The British in Africa

The Scramble for Africa amongst European countries.

Spread of British power in Africa.

The Boer War and the national outcry.

  • The Young Oxford History of Britain & Ireland , pages 250-321.

  • The National Archives has an excellent set of resources on the British Empire.

  • Clips from films , e.g. Zulu (1964), Ghandi (1982), and Mangal Pandey (2005).

  • Clips from BBC series Empire by Jeremy Paxman are available on their website, as well as some articles about aspects of Empire.

Summer Two

The Victorian Age

George III, George IV and William IV

Unpopularity as Kings.

George III madness, George IV’s notorious behaviour.

Coronation and reign of Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s qualities as a monarch.

Loving marriage to Prince Albert.

Life in Britain by 1900

Technological revolution.

Inventions and social developments.

Similarities and differences with today.

  • The BBC has a collection of articles about life in Victorian England, clips from a series about Victorian criminals, and many resources about Queen Victoria.

  • Clips from films and documentaries could be used to illustrate live in the Victorian age, such as The Victorians (2009) and The Victorian Farm (2010).

  • Books such as The Victorians (Dorling Kindersley) and The Victorians (Usborne).

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