A study of King John, designed for Key Stage 3 history students. It seeks to combine literacy education, citizenship education and an engaging Schools History Project approach to historical enquiry. Unit One explores King John's reputation as "the worst king ever". As users investigate how this interpretation was formed and perpetuated, they should also develop the skill of writing a balanced and reasoned essay using the analogy of a Grand Prix race track. Unit Two is a shorter citizenship/political literacy-driven exploration of the dynamics of mediaeval monarchy. King John himself guides the students towards an understanding of how mediaeval politics was different from today, and most importantly, why that matters.
Dale Banham is Head of Humanities at Holbrook High School, Ipswich. Ian Dawson is a former Director of the Schools History Project.