Belmont’s evacuee children: a local history project

Primary History article

By George Skinner and Judith Peel, published 20th February 2021

A WWII local history project (KS1 & 2)

Teaching about World War II, particularly the home front, continues to be popular in primary schools, despite the government deciding not to include it as a compulsory subject in the new National Curriculum introduced in 2014. Many primary schools still choose to organise an evacuee experience of some kind for pupils and curriculum resources organisations recommend the topic. Today, teachers are often encouraged by curriculum developers to link the topic to other designated areas or objectives of the history curriculum or to other dimensions of the wider National Curriculum. Local museums, history groups and even railway companies provide tried and tested evacuee experiences and replica wartime artefacts are widely and cheaply available to schools.

At Belmont Primary, we discovered that pursuing such a project as a local study provided the perfect opportunity to trial our new skills-based approach to history. Under this revised version of its creative curriculum, the school aims for children to build investigative skills, alongside a bank of historical knowledge, to enable them, by Key Stage 2, to become ‘mini historians’ – so promoting independent research and enquiry within class-based studies...  

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