History Junior

History is taught in order to give pupils’ an interest in and understanding of significant events and people in the past, the influences that they have on our lives today and to teach them to have empathy with others (understanding that modern views of society are different to those held in the past).

We aim to enthuse pupils with an interest in the past, developing their understanding, enabling them to enjoy the richness of cultural and social heritage in Britain (including British values SMSC) and the world and appreciating how things have changed over time.

Pupils are taught to develop a sense of chronology and to understand society and their place within it. They are presented with opportunities to develop their skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation through a variety of activities.  Pupils experience real history through themed days within school e.g. Roman Day for Year 4 and Viking Day for Year 5, drama, debates and visits to historical sites such as Norwich Castle Museum. Such activities provide a stimulus for cross-curricular opportunities, including speaking and listening and writing. We also use artefacts, visual resources and Information Technology to inspire children to learn more and stimulate their curiosity about the past.

  • Year 5 in spring 2 have been learning about the Mayans

    Year 5 in spring 2 have been learning about the Mayans. To begin the topic, we read about famous Mayan civilisation artefacts. We looked at a picture of an artefact and made a prediction for what it was. We then discovered what is really was and discussed how close our predictions were. In the following lesson we then learnt about what daily life was like for the Mayans. We looked at the differences for workers and nobles as well as what the Mayans ate, what clothes they wore and what entertainment they had. Year 5 then found out about Mayan inventions and how they still affect our lives today. We have also investigated Mayan religion and why their Gods were important to them as well as identifying important Mayan places and facts.

  • Remembrance Day

    Remembrance Day was marked in an assembly at the Junior School. The children learnt about Armistice Day on the 11th November 1918. At 11 o’clock on that day, nations who were fighting laid down their weapons and this signalled the end of the war (known then as the “Great War”). Today, we know it as the First World War. Armistice is an agreement for peace.

    One year later, the first two-minute silence was held. King George V had asked the people of Britain to pause and remember all those who had fought and died in the service of their country.

    In in 1920, King George unveiled the nation’s new war memorial called the Cenotaph, where people go to remember the fallen.

    The children found out about the Royal British Legion and how it remembers the fallen by launching the Poppy Appeal, where members and volunteers sell millions of red paper poppies. In the weeks leading up to 11th November and on Remembrance Sunday, people are asked to wear a poppy as an act of remembrance.

    The children listened respectfully and with interest.

    On Wednesday 8th November, key stage one children were extremely lucky to be joined by the Mayor of Dereham. He talked to the children about why we wear poppies, the significance of the poppy and encouraged the children to join in with reciting a special passage to remember the soldiers who fought in the wars.

    On the Friday the Infant School participated in class assemblies for Remembrance Day, including a two minute silence. Reception children also had the opportunity to make poppies.

  • Black History Month

    Year 3 enjoyed watching a video and researching the life of Mary Seacole, who was born in Jamaica over 200 years ago. She broke social rules and prejudices to travel the world, run businesses and help those in need – even in the most dangerous places. She was best known for her work as a nurse in the Crimean War and is remembered as an incredible woman and inspiring role model. They used their findings to engage in a discussion and debate about her achievements.  In music, the children learned to sing a Ghanan folk song Tue Tue and to play it on the ocarina.

    Year 4 have been ‘celebrating our sisters’ in relation to this year’s Black History month theme. We have learnt about Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman and the part which they played in the Civil Rights Movement. We discussed the important of equality throughout our school and what we can do to ensure we treat everyone with respect. Finally, we created some beautiful art work to celebrate our differences. In music, the children learned a Rap celebrating Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

    Year 5 have been finding out about Harriet Tubman and her “underground Railway” where she devoted her life to secretly freeing slaves. We designed panels for a patchwork quilt, which has symbols to represent messages like, get your wagon ready or take the mountain path to find a safe house. The symbols were used, partly to remain secretive, but also because the slaves could not read or write.

    Year 6

    To celebrate and recognise black history month in Year 6, we researched influential women that have contributed to different industries such as sport, science and medicine, politics, entertainment and broadcasting, literature arts and music. We presented the information that we found in a variety of ways such as: posters, storyboards and drawings. We discussed the theme of this year’s black history month and that this is an opportunity to for everyone to learn about significant Black and Mixed Heritage people and their contributions to Britain and worldwide. 

  • Federation Time Capsule Project with Taylor Wimpey East Anglia

    Toftwood Infant and Junior School have been involved in an exciting project to create and then bury a time capsule at the nearby Taylor Wimpey East Anglia development site. Children from both schools chose items which would help people in the future understand what 2023 was like and to give them an insight into school life. Items included photographs of events, drawings by the children, brochures and tickets of places visited, leaflets of Dereham, memorabilia linked to the jubilee and recent coronation, a letter to King Charles, handwritten notes, coins, stamps, a school jumper, a map of the school, a school dinner menu and a sweatshirt.

    On Thursday 13th July, a selection of children accompanied Mrs Pedlow and Mrs Sutterby to witness the time capsule being buried at the Etling Grove site in Dereham. The time capsule has been placed in the grounds and the plan is to open it in fifty years.

  • History Summer 2 2023

    What is oral history?

    Oral history is a way to learn about past events from the spoken stories of people who lived through them.

    This can be with family members or members of the community. It generates and preserves historically interesting information – a primary source material.

    We wrote letters to the residents of Sanford House care home in Dereham to see if they would take part in our oral history activities. We asked them questions about their school day memories.                                                 

    We learnt that many of the residents struggle with their eye sight or holding a pen so they had help to type their letters. They told us that our letters brought smiles and giggles to their faces as they evoked many lovely, long-forgotten memories.

    It was interesting to make comparisons between our school days and theirs’. A lot of facts about school life during war time will help us with our other learning in history.

  • The King’s Coronation Celebration

    The children at Toftwood Infant and Junior School have had a celebration fit for a king!

    The Federation came together for two days of activities and a special lunch to help celebrate the King’s Coronation. To mark this important occasion, the children dressed were invited to dress up in red, white and blue or as a king or queen.

    Over the course of two days the children took part in lots of fun activities including crown making, creating Union Jack flags, learning to sign the National Anthem and naming photos of the royal family. Year one children will also be writing to King Charles next week. A special assembly to commemorate the King’s Coronation led by Janet Marshall took place at both schools.

    Children were invited to participate in a competition to decorate a Coronation rock. We were very impressed with the individuality of the children designs which included a corgi, a crown and the Union Jack flag. The children have been given the opportunity to take their rocks home or place them in the community in Toftwood or Dereham. Perhaps you will find one of the special rocks when you take a walk around the locality.

    On Thursday we had a special federation picnic lunch which we were lucky enough to have outside and all together. Seeing the children outside laughing, playing and enjoying their time together was a wonderful sight.

    What a wonderful two days we have had celebrating such an important historical event and special time for our country. Hopefully very memorable for all the children and staff. A big thank you goes out to our wonderful lunchtime and kitchen staff for their hard work.

  • History Spring Term 2023

    Year 3 have been enjoying their Stone Age topic. They started their learning with an important timeline of events as chronology is an important feature of our learning.

    On Monday 9th January, Year 3 had a visitor to introduce our new history topic, the Stone Age. We began the day by considering how far back in time the Stone Age was. We used a tape measure and had to imagine that each year was worth 1cm. It was an incredible distance from our lives now! We learned about how the Stone Age can be divided into three different time periods: the Palaeolithic (old stone), Mesolithic (middle stone) and Neolithic (new stone).

    Next we talked about all sorts of animals that lived Britain around 12,000 years ago. We were allowed to hold some real objects such as a wolf’s rib, a cave lion’s jaw bone and a hyena’s fossilised poo!

    After that we discussed the different types of Hominids that used to live on Earth and we discussed how early humans have changed over time. We loved looking at models of some of their skulls and even tried on masks to make us look like early Hominids! We took part in an activity that showed how our brains can reason and imagine and how that separates us from other animals. We looked at a diagram of our brains and which part helps with different processes and responded using our reflexes.

    Our visitor showed us different types of weapons and compared them to ones we have now. We saw spears and axes and how spears could be hardened in a fire and discussed how tools were developed to have handles and make them more deadly weapons.

    After lunch we had a competition where 2 tribes had to try to rebuild Stonehenge. It was all about team work and we considered how the Stone Age Britons might have been able to move stones as heavy as a bus for hundreds of miles! We then got to handle objects such as an obsidian knife, stone-age string, a shark’s tooth and real bronze-age children’s toys!

    Finally we took part in a fishing competition as fishing would have been such a key element of hunting during the Stone Age. Our three classes had to pass the caught fish all the way to the other end before the points could be counted. In the end it was a draw between CT3 and SW3! It was a great day and our visitor commended the children on their knowledge and behaviour.

    Demetria: “it’s been fun because we got to find out about lots of animals that lived in the past.”

    Dylan: “I thought the visitor was very funny and taught us lots of new things.”

    Isla: “I really liked handling the objects especially the meteorite.”

    Their cross curricular work resulted in some fantastic cave paintings. They were fascinated to discover that historians still do not know how cave paintings started, but the four main theories are:

    • To decorate caves
    • To communicate a message to other people
    • As part of a good luck ritual before a hunt
    • To keep a record of events like important hunts

    The children tried to create their own message through their cave style art, for others to decipher.

    As well as art, the children made DT links when they designed and built their own model Stone Age house by joining and moulding clay.

    This term, Year 5 have enjoyed studying the Mayan civilisation. They enjoyed studying artefacts and experienced seeing what it would be like to be an archaeologist, discovering new items, trying to work out what materials were used and what purpose, each one might serve. We even have some replicas which they could handle in the class museum.

    They have learnt about how their society was structured and what lifestyles were like for different groups of people. They were very interested in considering the importance of different types of achievements and inventions, expressing which ones we considered the most significant and justifying our choices.

    The children also had fun learning about the many different gods, and their powers, summarising their understanding in the form of Top Trump cards, which they then played against each other.

History Spring Term 2019

Year 3  

Stone Age Day

Year 3 has a special Stone Age visitor who taught them all about the history of our country over 12,000 years ago.

Year learnt all about the different types of amazing creatures and animals (bison, boar, cave lion, mammoth and wolf) that roamed the earth then and how Stone Age people lived and fought.  We had no idea that the Stone Age people sought the protection of living together in Community or that they were prey!

It was very exciting to see how Stone Age people made fire using a bow drill.  Our visitor showed us how the fire is started by hitting two sharp pieces of metal together.

Year 3 really enjoyed the day and loved dressing up as Stone Age people.  It was fun and we learned so much about this time period.

Year 4

Anglo Saxons at Norwich Castle

Year 4 enjoyed a fascinating day at Norwich Castle, learning all about the Anglo-Saxons.

As they arrived, the children met a metal detectorist who discovered a brooch in Norfolk that reveals the story of Thurweald, an Anglo Saxon King and his people. As part of the day, the children met different Anglo Saxon characters who revealed the story of Thurweald, who had died. The children enjoyed making replica Anglo-Saxon broaches, they met a trader and handled some genuine artefacts, sat with a wonderful story teller to act out the legend of Thurweald’s defeat of the monsters in the forest and even learned how the Anglo-Saxons buried their dead.

Year 4

Anglo Saxon Day

Year 4 took part in a fun-filled, fact-fuelled day to round off their Anglo Saxon topic.  They learnt about runes; how to make Anglo-Saxon pottery and how to cook an Anglo-Saxon recipe – honey shortbread.  It was delicious!

The children were told with the Anglo-Saxon tale ‘Beowulf’ and then, like true Anglo-Saxons, deciphered original Anglo-Saxon riddles before creating their own.  Year 4 were taught how to do an authentic court dance and then learnt how to play Nine Men’s Morris – an Anglo Saxon board game.

The day was a fantastic finale to a truly memorable topic!

Year 5

Maya Civilisation

Year 5 have had an interesting and fun project learning all about the Mayans. We did not even know where they lived or when at the beginning of the topic and now we know all about their religion.  This involved lots of sacrifice of animals and people.  We have discovered about their everyday lives and how some aspects of their culture lives on in the present day.

We explored them through the Text “The Corn Grows Ripe” which we all enjoyed and we have created some rather spectacular Mayan masks.

Through this topic, we went on to have a South American Day where we learned how to weave and how and where cacao beans are produced and then turned into chocolate.

It was a really information topic and the South American Day was a great finale!

History Autumn Term 2018

Year 3

Ancient Egyptian Day

The year 3 children learned about the fascinating Egyptian civilisation and how the mummification process occurred.

They had a visitor from Portals to the Past and during this day they completed a fact finding activity, played some Ancient Egyptian board games and had the opportunity to look at some artefacts.

An amazing day was had by all Year 3’s and they left Ancient Egyptian Toftwood familiar with everyday Egyptian life!

Year 4


The children in Year 4 had a very special visitor to link in with their history topic, pupils were immersed in all things Roman.

The children learnt about key historical figures, significant places, weapons and battle techniques and important dates relating to Roman Britain. After splitting into the three classes, each group participated in themed activities. These included playing a Roman board game called ‘Delta’ which involved sliding counters and scoring points using Roman numerals; learning about and handling real Roman artefacts; and finding out lots of facts as part of a Roman quiz.  In the afternoon, the children were immersed in a Gladiatorial fight in our very own Toftwood Arena with our Toftwood Emperor!

Year 5

Viking Day

On this brilliant learning day, Year 5 met a rich Viking man (who had expensive trousers).  In the hall we learnt about the Vikings as that was our topic in history.  All of year 5 were in the new hall as it was a good experience and fun way to learn about the brutal invaders.  Also it is a bit like a school trip but in school.

First off, we went into the hall and there was a very well dressed Viking who was called Thor. The Viking explained what their countries were called and were they came from which were Denmark Norway and Sweden. He also said that the reason they came to England was because there conditions were very poor and cold .Thor then showed there countries on a massive map and there was also the countries they invaded on there.

Next, year 5 rushed into the assembly hall as we were very late, we were late because we talked about what equipment they would have in their house and what it looked like also the Vikings jobs for the girls and boys. After brake, some classes were lucky enough to play a board game named fox and geese. After that, our class did a quiz on their lifestyle, gods and toys the children played with in the activity we did it with a partner my partner was Amelia.

Then, we went and had lunch in the other smaller hall and had a play before going to see him again. Secondly, we all came back to the new hall and sat around the tall, hairy Viking.  When we were sitting in the circle with all of year 5s classes.  Whilst in the circle, Thor showed us some metal and some coins he then put the coin on the stand and put the decorated metal on it and hit it with a very heavy hammer.  When he was making the special coins there were lots of bangs and some coins did not have the pattern centered so he had to make more.

After that, the man showed us many different weapons that only the men would use because they went to battle. Some of the weapons varied in types like an axe that was as big as a toddler also there was a spear and sword the spear was bigger than him and the sword was very precious as it can break or snap easily.

Then, we saw some armour: a real Viking helmet that had a sharp point on top which was almost as pointy as the spear that was quite scary to be honest. Thor said that the Vikings did not actually have horns on their helmets it was from an opera to tell which Vikings were bad or good. After that, someone from year 5 went up on stage and wore real Viking chain mail! The boy from the crowd said it was very heavy and tried to jump but only managed 2cm off the ground.

Some people had quotes on the afternoon “my favorite part was the afternoon” also “the afternoon was the best because we got to see the weapons”

Near the end of the day, the tired Viking asked us things in old English then we had to figure out what he was saying then say it in English. Most of the time he was saying parts of the body some of it was tricky even though we are learning old English in our English lesson. It was very funny hearing some words.

The overall opinion from Year 5 on Viking day is that it was mind blowing, factual and informative.

Year 6

Ancient Greeks

In the Autumn term, Year 6 studied Ancient Greece as part of our history topic for that half term. We studied the History of Greece by learning about the geography of Greece, roles of women, education in Ancient Greece and the Greek gods and goddesses.

We took part in a ‘Greek themed day’ where a Greek visitor helped us to play Greek games and we took part in our own Olympic games! We dressed up as traditional Greek characters.

This learning inspired us to write our own Greek myths using the stories of Theseus and the Minotaur, The Gorgon’s Head and Persephone. We debated the differences between Athens and Sparta to decide who had the better way of life.

Remembrance Day 2018

With the centenary of World War 1, Toftwood Juniors chose to commemorate the event by having a whole school assembly with Mrs Hughes and then discussing it further in class with the teachers.

The children understood why we wear a poppy as a symbol of Remembrance Day.  The children across the Federation, have been creating their own poppies as a sign of respect.  These were tied to the gates and fences of the Federation schools.

The day was also commemorated by the Kitchen staff. They baked and decorated poppy biscuits for the children as yet another visual reminder of Remembrance Day.

In class, the children participated in discussions about the trenches. They found the trench life of World War One unbelievably difficult to grasp and displayed great respect for the soldiers that took part in it. Many children also shared family anecdotes about their own relatives that had been in both World Wars.