Woodlands Homework Help Religion News

Help with primary-school religious studies homework

In primary school children are introduced to many different faiths. Religious education (RE) in primary schools is not part of the National Curriculum, but it is compulsory for all (maintained) primary schools to teach RE in KS1 and RE in KS2.

Religious Education invites children to think about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about a higher power, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It aims to help develop pupils’ knowledge of the world's principal religious traditions and worldviews and promote tolerance and understanding.

For primary-school RE homework, your child will often be asked to find out facts. As parents, you'll be encouraged to help your child do the research. As anyone will know who has done a search of the internet, you can never be sure whether the sites that come up are suitable for children. But with the Homework Gnome, you don't have to worry! Every religion topic is covered in an age-appropriate style, with information, images and videos suitable for primary school children*.

To get started, just look through the list below to find the topic your child is studying at school now.


A weak and sickly child with four older brothers, Alfred was an unlikely king. However from his youth he proved to be brave and intelligent, a man who valued wisdom and knowledge and saw himself as part of a wider Christian community. He was inspired by his early trips to Rome and developed a view of kingship based on firm moral and religious grounds.

Fierce Viking attacks threatened to destroy the Anglo-Saxon world into which Alfred had been born. By 870 the ancient kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia and Mercia had fallen to the Vikings, their kings replaced by puppet leaders who were loyal to their Viking overlords. As the last independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Wessex was under constant attack. Alfred and his brother King Aethelred were engaged in almost continuous warfare. Although they won some victories they were at times driven back into the heart of their land and forced to rely on guerrilla tactics.

A fierce and brave warrior, Alfred is described as charging at his enemies like a wild boar. In 871 Aethelred died from his injuries and Alfred became king. Alfred’s personal qualities enabled him to rally his people and inspired them to continue their struggles even when the odds seemed overwhelming. Alfred proved himself to be a clear-sighted tactician, a valiant and insightful leader, courageous, but willing to deal with his enemies in order to buy more time for Wessex. By converting Guthrum and adopting him as a foster son he effectively neutralised one of his most dangerous enemies.

One of Alfred’s greatest innovations lay in the system of burhs or fortified garrisons that he established as part of his defences. Provisioned by the surrounding countryside, these well-defended settlements attracted merchants and craftsmen. Careful town planning laid the basis for later development and growth. Alfred introduced a rota system into the military which meant that farms and fields were not neglected during time of war and could continue to supply the army with provisions. Alfred also recognised the importance of a strong navy in preventing Viking attacks on the land. He built large warships and brought in foreign craftsmen to supply expertise where necessary. He also reissued coins with a higher silver content and a new design in order to restore faith in the economy. Taxation and a written system of laws, together with a keen sense of justice, enabled him to carry out his reforms.

One of Alfred’s deepest regrets was the loss of knowledge which had resulted from the Viking destruction of the monasteries and the fall in literacy rates that had followed. He believed that all English freemen should be literate and that the clergy should be schooled in Latin. Alfred himself learned Latin when middle-aged in order to undertake the translation of important classical texts into English. He imported scholars from overseas and set up a school at court.

Alfred had a keen eye for posterity (what people in the future would think about him). He asked Bishop Asser to write his biography and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles were commenced during his reign.

Alfred’s sense of history and his own historic destiny were fundamental to the development of the English monarchy. His reforms helped to transform the society in which he lived and laid the foundations of the English state. His grandson Athelstan, building on Alfred’s successes, was recognised as the King of all Britain.

Famous Friends

Bishop Asser – a Welsh monk who was recruited by Alfred to join the community of scholars at Winchester. In 893 he began writing his Life of King Alfred. He became Bishop of Sherborne in the 890s.

Guthrum – more of an enemy than a friend! He was king of the Danish chieftains and was actively fighting Alfred from 874. In 878 his surprise night-time attack on Alfred forced Alfred to hide out in the Somerset marshes. Guthrum was defeated by Alfred at Edington and as part of the peace treaty converted to Christianity taking the name Aethelstan. Alfred became his godfather. He lived in East Anglia until his death in 890.

Pope Leo IV – a Roman by birth, he was pope from 847-855. During this time Alfred visited him twice on pilgrimage. Pope Leo is said to have recognised the young Alfred’s abilities and appointed him a consul. The Battle of Ostia, a famous victory of the papacy over Saracen pirates, took place in 849. Pope Leo is also said to have halted the burning of the Anglo-Saxon quarter of Rome by making the sign of the cross.

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