Learning by Key Stage


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Following the transfer of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum (BECM) collections to Bristol Culture in Spring 2012, further resources are not currently available.

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This section has been developed to help support the teaching and delivery of British Empire and Commonwealth history.

We can appreciate the sensitivities around teaching some of the topics related to this history and therefore have provided learning packages to assist in your delivery of them. There are curriculum-linked activities with archive material and resources arranged by Key Stage for you to download to your classroom.

Key Stage 1

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesAre you looking to teach ‘Toys from our Past’ from a different angle?

Click on the links below and discover how this topic can be transformed into exciting learning activity by looking at what children from other countries play with. This activity is especially designed for Key Stage 1, with a PowerPoint lesson, teaching notes and suggested activities, as well as an archive folder of rare toy images; from countries such as India, Hong Kong and Canada.

  • Book ‘Toys from the Commonwealth’ Loan Box now, and bring these toys into your classroom for your students to discuss, investigate and, of course, play with. Click here to book…

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Learning activity

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources View our image archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Teaching notes

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Key Stage 2

Commonwealth Online Key Stage 2 education packGet first-hand accounts of immigration and migration in Britain after World War II to help support your teaching of Britain since the 1930s.

Through oral history, images and film, explore the impact and changes the war had on individuals who were all in search for a better life.

  • To book a Suitcase Stories Loan box, filled with character stories and supported by interesting artefacts and images click here…

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Learning activity

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Background information

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources View our image archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesWatch our video archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Listen to our audio archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Teaching notes

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesSend us your feedback

Key Stage 3

Commonwealth Online Key Stage 3 Slavery education resources This learning activity explores the history of the transatlantic slave trade, through six themes.

This will allow teachers to pick and choose themes that are relevant to their teaching of the subject, as well as to make use of the archival material such as artefact images, images and oral histories to support the teaching of this shared history.

Each theme has its own learning activity, teaching notes, background information and archives.

Our slavery-related Loan Boxes are available to hire and are based around the themes mentioned above. For more information, click here…

Key Stage 4

Commonwealth Online Key Stage 4 education resourcesThis theme has been designed to support teachers and learners preparing for the Schools History Project GCSE course ‘Medicine Through Time: A Development Study’.

The resources are not a course in themselves, but focus on key concepts and understandings of the role of medicine in colonial countries during the British Empire. The archive material presented here can be used alongside more commonly used materials.

The collection includes some themes like the role of the Colonial Medical Service and the life experiences of men and women who served in the colonial countries as doctors and medical professionals in the 19th and 20th centuries. The archive folders can be used as a teaching resource for whole classes, groups or individuals as part of a teaching scheme or for self-study.

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resources Listen to our audio archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesView our image archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesWatch our video archive

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesTeaching notes

Commonwealth Online learning and teaching resourcesSend us your feedback