Life for ordinary people

Students will find out about the characteristic features of society at a time in the distant past by asking and answering questions from a range of different sources of information. This topic is divided into four different periods of History; Medieval, Tudor, Victorian and 20th Century. Students will look at big themes throughout these periods in order to give students a secure chronological framework and build up a picture of what life was like for ordinary people and how it has changed from 1066-today.


By the end of this unit it is expected that most students will be able to give examples of key characteristics from different periods throughout History and explain how and why they were important to the period. They will be able to identify and explain ways in which the lives, beliefs, ideas and attitudes of ordinary people in Britain have changed over time and the factors such as technology, economic development, war, religion and culture have driven these changes. Students will recognise how these changes are related to periods and events within a clear chronological framework.

Some students will not have made as much progress and will identify ways in which the lives, beliefs, ideas and attitudes of ordinary people have changed in Britain over time but may not necessarily be able to explain why. Students will be able to identify key characteristics from different periods but may not be able to fit these periods into a clear chronological framework.

Some learners will have progressed further and will begin to analyse the nature and extent of diversity and change within and across the different periods studied. In addition they may explore criteria for making judgements about the historical significance of people, events and changes across the historical periods.

Extended homework tasks

Students will produce a booklet showing how their life differs from one of the periods we have looked at in class. Students choose the period to compare.

How to help your child

There are many places where parents can take their children in order for them to get a sense of what life was really like for ordinary people. For example visit Basing House to meet a character from the Civil War or visit Audley End House where you can find out about the workers who lived on the estate in the 1880s. Parents can also purchase any books from the ‘My Story’ range for their children, which will give them a good understanding of life for ordinary people at a particular moment in History. Students should be encouraged to interview grandparents and parents about their own childhood for their children to compare lives of ordinary people through three different generations.

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