Vikings in Schools

The National Curriculum for History at Key Stage 2 outlines a core of British History that should be taught to children in state schools in England. It recommends teaching "the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor", which it states might include:

  • Viking raids and invasion
  • resistance by Alfred the Great and Athelstan, first king of England
  • further Viking invasions and Danegeld
  • Anglo-Saxon laws and justice
  • Edward the Confessor and his death in 1066

As part of CiC's Viking project, scholars and primary school teachers worked together to make a creative curriculum that explores Britain's Viking history through a variety of approaches, including art, drama, dance, imagination and immersion. The resulting programme required children to engage their senses as well as their minds - they had to think both creatively and critically as they experienced the Vikings history for themselves.

The results, in many ways, spoke for themselves: teachers witnessed the children making a cognitive leap between their own experiences as Vikings and the artefacts they saw at the British Museum. Moreover, the children remained excited about their lessons long after the school days were over, convincing their parents to come to an after-school exhibition showcasing their Viking experiences.

The educators who created the project curriculum feel strongly that these techniques can be employed in an ordinary classroom in the UK and beyond. To that end, they have created Viking schemes of work - which teachers may use freely - that they hope will inspire teachers to try the techniques for themselves.

In addition, training materials geared toward improving the transition between Key Stage 2 and 3 History have been published by the Historical Association in cooperation with Civilizations in Contact. Written by Andrew Wrenn, former Humanities Advisor for Cambridgeshire, "Before 1066 and All That" is aimed at Year 6 and focuses on the discovery of a mass grave of Vikings near Weymouth in 2009. The free scheme of work is available directly from the Historical Association's website.

Schemes of Work

West Stow Videos

Year 6 Transition

Illustration of Brother Christos, a monk wearing a brown habit and with large keys hanging from his waist.

"Brother Christos" is one of a number of fictional historical characters created by Civilizations in Contact to help children understand different aspects of Viking life.

As a Byzantine monk, Brother Christos was brought to Vestenby by Jarl Einar (the village chief), to help educate the village children. He represents the influence Christianity had on the Vikings.