Year 6 – Crime and Punishment

Project Overview

In history this half term, we have looked at crime and punishment through the ages. 

Throughout the year we have noticed the children have a real interest in history and gore, with a love for our Macbeth topic and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Working with this, the post-1066 thematic unit has been an exciting topic for them to really sink their teeth into and they have absolutely loved it. By providing pupils with a broad chronological sweep of nearly a thousand years of British history, it makes a significant contribution to pupils’ grasp of the long arc of time and helps place history on a timeline amongst other key events. 

The topic has focused on the key stories about criminals and how fairly they were dealt with throughout history, giving children the chance to use a range of primary and secondary sources to learn. We have looked at: Saxon crime and punishment; Medieval torture and how they ran their towns and cities; the story of Robin Hood and how he glorified being a villain; and how the introduction of the death sentence changed crime and punishment in 17th century Britain.  Within each lesson, the objective has been to open up informed debate, relating issues to the present day wherever possible and supporting children in creating an informed opinion using facts and evidence. In this way, the topic also makes a major contribution to pupils’ citizenship education. 


What The Student Says

“I loved it! I really loved looking at crime and punishment as it was harsh and full of gore. I also liked how we looked back to the past to understand how it has changed over time and what people were punished for.” – Student from 6MB

“It was cool as I really like blood and how they punished people and we got to look at that!” – Student from 6NP

“It has been the best history topic so far! They used to be so harsh in the past!”- Student from 6LJ

What skills were developed?

The children have:

  • developed their communication and language skills in debate
  • interpreted data from a range of charts and graphs
  • used a timeline to locate key moments and times in history
  • shown they can infer meaning from primary and secondary sources
  • question the validity of sources and use this to support their arguments
  • identified how crime and punishment has changed over time due to social history

What The Teacher Says

I have absolutely loved teaching crime and punishment as the children have been so engaged in it. They have really learnt about key moments in history and are able to know explain the changes and how they happened. They have consolidated their learning of using primary and secondary sources and have loved looking at the different pictures and sources we have collected, to gather and create an informed decision. 

– Miss Benson, 6MB class teacher.