I have been studying the new primary curriculum and intend over the next couple of weeks to re-write the web site pages to reflect how my characters will work within it.
The good news is that there is not only scope for inclusion of my characters, but that they seem to fit the new history and literacy curriculum better than before! Sir William Petty is obviously going to remain in demand, as the Great Fire of London is actually mentioned as an example of a significant national event in the Key Stage 1 History Curriculum document.
Guy Fawkes is also key to an event “beyond living memory that is significant nationally,” so he will continue to keep me busy in October and November.
My pirate Captain Burwash and the highwayman John Nevison remain great characters for literacy topics (in Key Stage 1 and 2 respectively). Highwaymen and pirates were never in the old history curriculum, but lots of schools use pirates, or the sea, for topic work to inspire literacy and other areas of learning, and the highwayman poem should remain a very popular piece for Key Stage 2 literacy work. There is also mention in the new Key Stage 2 curriculum of possibly studying “crime and punishment” through history, and my highwayman character certainly shines a light on the seventeenth century aspect of that particular topic.
My English Civil War characters will be of good use for Key Stage 1, especially as part of the Key Stage 1 study of “significant historical events, people and places in their own locality”. A LOT of Yorkshire schools are near a castle or battlefield from the Civil War – that’s an event and a place of local significance. In the Key Stage 2 curriculum it again mentions a local history study from beyond 1066, but also requires a study of some history extending beyond 1066 – both of these studies could happily involve the English Civil War.
As for Captain Eynos, my late Elizabethan character, he will still be great as a stand-alone character for inspiring motivated literacy work – the creation and recording of an exciting adventure story. More than this, as he is a contemporary of Sir Francis Drake, having all the right costume and artifacts for the period, I am now working on the creation of a new character – one of Drake’s crew who circumnavigated the globe with him on the Golden Hind. This very neatly fits the Key Stage 1 history curriculum requirement for “significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements”. One example the document gives is a comparative study of Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, but this works just as well with Sir Francis Drake as the earlier adventurer. Already one school has booked me for their “To Infinity and Beyond” topic as Drake’s sailor. You can’t go much further on the earth than all the way around it!
I am very excited about the new academic year, and look forward to visiting schools old and new in my various guises.