Key Stage 2 History: Vikings KS2

The topic of Key Stage 2 History: Vikings is one that is widely taught at primary school level, as it is one that students find exciting and interesting. In addition, it provides teachers with lots of material they can use to demonstrate societal changes over time, which is the key aim of the new national curriculum.

This blog will provide you with a rundown of what your child will learn about the Vikings during primary school. Firstly, it is important to note that the national curriculum outlines that the focus of this topic is “the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England”. However, this will include teaching about the Vikings in a general sense, in order to provide a context to this focus.

key stage 2 history: vikings

Here is the breakdown of what your child will learn about the Vikings at primary school, presented in broader chapters, each with a few subtopics:

Introduction to the Vikings

Subtopics:

  • Meet the Vikings;
  • Viking Beliefs and Religion;
  • Viking Society;
  • Viking Warriors and their Longships.

This introductory topic will allow your child to get to know who the Vikings were, when and where they lived, and what was important to them. This will include looking at what early Viking society was like, what Vikings were good at, and how they told stories. Of course, Norse mythology is an important part of the lives of the early Vikings, so your child will be introduced to some Norse gods and stories at this early stage. Also, your child will learn about how the Vikings fought, and why their penchant for longboats was so devastating.

Vikings in Britain

Subtopics:

  • Exaggerated Reputation?
  • Who were the Anglo-Saxons?
  • First Viking Raids in Britain;
  • Vikings Defeat the Anglo-Saxons;
  • Danelaw.

This next topic of Key Stage 2 History: Vikings will dive into what the Vikings did when they started raiding in Britain. Using what they picked up in the first chapter, pupils will discover where and when these first raids occurred, and what actually happened during them. Perhaps teachers will also begin to challenge overly simplistic views of the Vikings. In relation to this, pupils will probably be introduced to who the Vikings were attacking – the Anglo-Saxons. Lessons in this area could include looking at how the Anglo-Saxons lived, in a similar fashion to how your child was introduced to the Vikings. This topic will also start to cover the first Viking settlers in Britain, and their growing power and influence in England.

The Anglo-Saxons Strike Back

Subtopics:

  • Athelstan;
  • The End of the Danelaw;
  • Spread of Christianity;
  • A Time of Peace in Britain?

As its title suggests, this section deals with how the Anglo-Saxons responded to the Vikings taking their land, and some of the English kings that were around during such events. Also, students will begin to discover how English society was changing because of the Vikings. Namely, the Anglo-Saxons and the children of Viking settlers were beginning to merge into one people and share one identity. They were beginning to live the same lives and follow the same religion – Christianity. However, this section will also discuss when this process did not unfold peacefully!


If you need more help on this topic…

Have a look at our specially created revision guide, designed to be the perfect partner for your child’s learning in this area:

Key Stage 2 History: Vikings

This guide contains:

  • Clearly presented and engaging content tailored to the new national curriculum;
  • Numerous practice questions and activities;
  • Many pictures and diagrams to aid learning and retain interest;
  • Advice and guidance for parents about the new syllabus
  • A mock practice paper for you to measure your child’s progress


The breakdown of topics of Key Stage 2 History: Vikings continues below…

Vikings Back on Top

Subtopics:

  • Ethelred the Unready;
  • Disastrous Danegeld;
  • St Brice’s Day Massacre;
  • A Viking King of England?

Next, pupils will begin to discover how this developing society was challenged by a new set of Viking raids, and how England failed to deal with them. At the heart of this, pupils will probably be introduced to the famously inept King Ethelred the Unready, and his consistent blunders while trying to keep his subjects safe. Finally, your child will be taught how this new wave of Viking raids resulted in a Scandinavian king of England, as well as the many wars that occurred before, during, and after this event.

An Island in Chaos

Subtopics:

  • Ethelred the Unready;
  • Disastrous Danegeld;
  • St Brice’s Day Massacre;

As the teaching of Key Stage 2 History: Vikings generally concludes in 1066 and the Battle of Hastings, the final topics your child will cover will deal with the death of King Canute and the chaos that this caused in England. Teachers will probably mention what life was like for the everyday person during power struggles, and suggest how despite the huge changes in leadership England had seen, the life of the common person had not changed all that much. Finally, children will be introduced to the conquests of Harald Hardrada, the last Viking to bid for the English crown, although he ultimately failed at the expense of William the Conqueror.

Summary of Key Stage 2 History: Vikings

All in all, the topic of ‘the Vikings’ at primary school level will see your child cover huge amounts of information during KS1 and KS2. As a result, it is important that you are aware of what they will be learning if you want to help them with their studies. For even more information, or for the new national curriculum itself follow this link to the government website.

Key Stage 2 History: Vikings

Also, have a look at our YouTube channel, CareerVidz, for more content and support for your child’s studies at primary school.