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.

History Spring 2024


Reception children talk about their past experiences, including days out with their family and special times such as birthdays. They find out about the past and how life has changed from a variety of sources, including photographs, objects and stories.

Classes looked at castles and found out they were usually made of stone, placed on a high hill and sometimes had a moat with a drawbridge. They also learnt about Norwich castle. Following on from these carpet sessions, some children played with the catle small world play and created their own castles using construction in the classroom.

Year One

Year one studied the topic of ‘Our Planet and Beyond.’ The children learnt about the history of space travel including learning about the race to space and the astronauts Neil Armstrong, Yuri Gagarin. The children thought of questions they would like to ask an astronaut. They have been introduced to time lines for the events of space travel.

Year Two

During the topic of ‘Air, Land and Sea’ the children have learnt about Lord Admiral Nelson. They found out about important dates in his life and could use prior knowledge of how a timeline works to create their own timeline for Lord Admiral Nelson. Some of the children were able to expand on the information and wrote additional facts for each date.

Autumn 2023


Reception children undertook activities linked to bonfire night at the beginning of November. Activities included discussing experiences of bonfire night, watching videos of the celebration, finding out about firework safety, and creating firework pictures.

During independent learning time, reception children have had the opportunity to find out about dinosaurs and explore the dinosaur bones.

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Whilst playing with the small world play castle, some children were intrigued to learn about real castles.

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Reception children learnt about Remembrance Day. They made their own poppies in class and had a class assembly where they observed a two minute silence. They watched a CBeebies video called ‘poppies’ which is a lovely video showing how the poppies grew in the field after all the grass had turned to mud.

Year 1

Year one children found out about extinct animals and also those that are endangered. They made a timeline to show when the animals became extinct.

Year 2

Norwich’s Past

Year 2 children have learnt about life in Norwich in the past. They studied the cathedral and castle in Norwich. Lessons included looking at artefacts relating to Norwich’s past, comparing old and new landmarks in Norwich, and finding out about castles and how they were defended.

See grid below to show understanding before and after the topic.

The children participated in a History Day- see special events tab for further details.

Year two also looked at the significant person William the Conqueror. They created a timeline for his life.

Night time

As part of our topic Night time the children have learnt about a significant person from the past, Guy Fawkes.  The children wrote about who Guy Fawkes was and why he is an important historical person.

They picked some items that Guy Fawkes might have used in 1605 and described how he would have used them. They then explained the difference between objects that Guy Fawkes could have used, compared with what he might have used today.

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. 

Black History Month

Over the last three weeks we have been celebrating Black History Month. Here are some of the activities that have taken place across the Federation.

Reception – In Reception we have been learning about some amazing people in our history. We enjoyed reading Mo Farah’s “Ready Steady Mo” and learning about his amazing achievements at the Olympics. We looked at some iconic music created by black artists and learned the sign for dancing when listening to Martha & The Vandellas “Dancing in the Streets”. We also had a go at dancing to Bob Marley’s classic hit ‘Three Little Birds’.

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Year 1 and year 2 started learning about Black History Month by discussing the importance of treating everyone equally during an assembly. We looked at our PATHS rule ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’ and talked about the importance of British Values.

Year 1- We enjoyed dancing to Martha & The Vandellas “Dancing in the Streets” and Nina Simone’s “Young Gifted and Black”. We were inspired by the story of the Olympic athlete Mo Farah and enjoyed watching videos of his races. We also learnt about Daniel Hale Williams who was was an African-American surgeon who founded the first non-segregated hospital in the United States in 1891, as well as completing the first successful heart surgery.

Year 2 –In year 2, we have been learning about the lives of Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks as part of our learning in black history month. The children have discussed how black people were treated in the past and how much it has changed thanks to the actions of people like Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks. We also explored some modern day heroes like Mo Farah, Stevie Wonder and Stormzy.

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 term 2023


In the summer term, Reception children visited Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse for a fairy tale event. Part of the day involved helping the ugly sister and Cinderella with jobs around the house and gardens. Jobs included pumping water from the well to water the plants, washing clothes using the wash board and washing dolly, and milking the pretend cow. They got to see the Suffolk punch horses. This sparked a conversation about working horses and their role before tractors were used.

Year one

Link to Year one Holkham Hall visit.

Year one children wrote letters to the King; they asked him questions about his coronation.

Year One Holkham Hall 2023

On 9th June 2023, the children in Year One were lucky enough to visit Holkham Hall. We started the day with a long bus journey and were very impressed with how well the children were behaving. When we arrived, the children took part in two activities. They were given a tour of the hall and were amazed with all of the sculptures, carpets and ceilings.

They then got to find out about toys from the olden days. They played with ‘pick up’ sticks, marbles, yoyos and tiddlywinks as well as many other toys. The children even got to make their own Victorian toy; a thaumatrope! They drew two pictures on two circles and then stuck them to either side of a straw so that when they spun the straw, the images would blend together to create one image. They loved learning about this optical illusion. The children then said goodbye to Holkham Hall and reflected on their favourite parts of the day during the bus ride home. ‘I loved every part of the day’ said Demi.

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.