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Humanities (Geography, History and RE) - Mrs Till, Miss Riley and Mrs Flynn

Why do we teach humanities at Ripley Junior School?


At Ripley Junior School, we aim to teach ‘topics’ through a cross curricular approach, ensuring that our key themes are embedded within the core curriculum subjects (reading, writing and maths).


How do we teach Humanities at Ripley Junior School?


Each term, classes embark on a new theme or ‘challenge’, taken from the 2014 National Curriculum programme of study, the Focus learning challenge curriculum and from elements of local and national interest, including the interest of our pupils. For example, in the Autumn Term, a class may have a geographical focus, exploring how volcanoes make the Earth angry, whilst in the Spring term they may have a historical focus, studying the Roman invasion of Britain.


Topic work may involve analysing sources from the past, data handling to explore trends or even writing a story to retell a major battle! We believe learning does not end in a topic lesson – we must use our pupils' interests across the curriculum and so we embed the skills from other curriculum areas to tap into pupil strengths and interests, whilst developing mathematical and writing skills. 




Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Y3 Topic

Castles, Kings and Queens (link to transition)

Where castles were built in the UK and why they were built in these places.

Visit to Bolsover Castle

Castles and crowns

 Who ruled over the UK and where those rulers lived.

USA, South America, including the Mayans

Who were the Mayans, when and where did they live and how did they live their lives?

Exploring the rainforests of South America: where they are located, why they flourish here, the key features of the rainforest.

Linked to our visit to ‘Tropical Butterfly House’

Early Britain –Stone, Bronze and Iron Age

How Britain changed from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. How people lived in these times.

Linked to our visit to ‘Creswell Crags’



Places of Worship

What is the purpose and value of a sacred space?

Investigating what sacred places are, what is their purpose and why they are important.

Festivals of Light

What are the deeper meanings of festivals?

This links to our Harvest festival and Christmas production.


How and why do Christians follow Jesus?

The teachings of Jesus, stories about him and his impact on the Christian Faith today


What do different people believe about God?

What does faith mean to different people? How does believing in God help?

Fair World

Can religions help to build a fair world?

Looking at how religion teaches us to be fair to each other and how religious rules guide the lives of their followers.

Sex and relationships education


Y4 Topic

The Romans

Who were the Romans and what they did for us?



Where does our food come from? Focus on Spain/Italy

Typical foods of Mediterranean countries. Exploring which countries we get our food from, what happens to our food before it gets to our plate.

Ancient Egypt

How and where the ancient Egyptians lived, what was important in their daily lives, who Tutankhamun was and how mummies were made.

Water, water everywhere! – Rivers, Coasts, erosion and world’s seas (map work)

Rivers and seas around the world and in the UK. Features of a river and coast.

This links with our visit to ‘Holmebrooke Valley Park’


Religious Texts: Christianity, Judaism and Islam

Why is the Bible so important for Christians today? Why is the Guru Granth Sahib/Qur’an so important for Sikhs/Muslims?

Religious stories in religious texts. How holy books and codes of goodness help people to live good lives.


Why is pilgrimage important to some religious believers?

Rituals and locations of different religious pilgrimages.


Why is Easter so important for Christians? Events and beliefs associated with Easter.



What makes a leader worth following?

Who do we admire?

What qualities do inspirational leaders have?

Sex and Relationships Education


Y5 Topic


Who were the Anglo Saxons?

Where the invading troops came from and where in Britain they managed to settle and investigate how life in Britain changed as a result.



Who were the Vikings and when and where did they settle.

Why is the world different? Climates, biomes etc.

Polar regions and the conditions, features of a desert, life in a monsoon climate

Why is the world different? Climates, biomes etc.
Polar regions and the conditions, features of a desert, life in a monsoon climate


Ancient Greece


Mountains ranges, mountains in the UK, features of mountains and how they are formed. Links to compass work and OS map work.


RE community

How can we make our village/town/county a more respectful place?

Religious diversity in the UK and our locality.

How can we improve the community?

What do religions teach about the natural world and why should we care about it?


What can be learned from the Muslim way of life?

Key beliefs of Muslims – the 5 pillars of Islam

Right and Wrong

What can we learn from religions about deciding what is right and wrong?

Personal/family/school codes for living which influence or behaviour.

Sex and relationships education.

Y6 Topic


Asia trade focus and the Shang Dynasty

Trade links of the UK with other countries, global supply chain, life during the Shang Dynasty.



The world wars - WW1 and WW2:

Why the wars began, what happened during the wars, which countries were involved, comparison of countries before/after.

Links to Ripley- including fieldwork

Crime and Punishment

Comparison of the modern justice system and ancient systems, use of historical sources, experiences of people who committed crimes in the past.


Faith through the arts

How do people express their faith through the arts?



Using religion when life gets hard

What do religions say to us when life gets hard?

Identify some ‘big questions’ about life and the world that make people wonder and are difficult to answer


Why is prayer important for religious believers?

What prayer means to Christian and Muslims, ideas and feelings in a prayer, differences and similarities between prayer in Islam and prayer in Christianity, the impact of prayer on believers’ lives



What was the Holocaust? What happened at this time? Explore ideas about prejudice and discrimination, exploration of own values to live life by.

Showing commitment

How and why do believers show their commitments during the journey of life? (Birth, marriage, death)

Discuss why life is often described as a journey, importance and impact of religious ceremonies on a person’s life.

Sex and Relationships education

How do we assess Humanities?


Each unit of learning is allocated targets linked to the 2014 National Curriculum. When children are in Year 3 and 4, they are assessed again the Lower KS2 objectives and in Years 5 and 6, the Upper KS2 objectives. Using these objectives, the teacher will consider the work produced and input during discussions to make a judgement against each objective.


The following options are considered:

  • Working Towards (WTS) – more work is needed on this area.

  • Meeting expected Standard (EXS) – the child shows the expected understanding for the key stage.

  • Working Above (GDS) – the child has met this objective and has shown a greater understanding of the area, often making wider links.


This assessment data will then feed into class teacher’s reporting and identification of next steps for the class. Teachers also use their ongoing assessment (AfL) to adapt and adjust planning to ensure children have a sound understanding of each objective.

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