History Curriculum Policy
History Curriculum Overview
History Knowledge Organisers

Intent for History

Our overarching intent in History is to inspire a love of learning about the past and to develop a deep curiosity and desire to find out more about the History of Britain and the wider world.

More specifically, our intent in History is to develop subject content knowledge, subject substantive disciplinary knowledge and to understand and use historical vocabulary appropriate to the subject.

Subject substantive content knowledge is the knowledge learned about the periods in History studied across the curriculum and year groups in school.

Subject disciplinary knowledge refers to the specific knowledge, skills and concepts children will learn about the subject discipline of History.

Both the subject substantive content knowledge and the subject disciplinary knowledge are set out in the History Curriculum Overview, which also specifies the key vocabulary children will learn and use in their study of History across the school.

We strive to ensure our pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity and have the ambition to be successful learners.

Implementation for History

Our History Curriculum Overview sets out the sequence of learning for each year group. Sequences of learning are carefully planned and developed so that new skills and knowledge are built upon previous skills and knowledge to enable consolidation and progression.  Pupils’ learning is supported by books, online materials and resources, primary sources and evidence where ever possible. Opportunities to use historical enquiry skills are built into the curriculum and children are continuously encouraged to carry out research and investigation to question and challenge interpretations. Links to the Convention on the Rights of the Child are made wherever possible.

In addition, learning in History is enhanced by the following:

  • use of school visits to enthuse and help embed knowledge;
  • use of local resources, e.g. Locomotion Museum, Auckland Castle and Binchester Roman Fort;
  • regular visits and workshops with Jane Hackworth-Young;
  • after school History Club;
  • activities and projects carried out through Auckland Castle’s Partner Schools project;
  • the Heritage Award Project;
  • use of Durham Learning Resources;
  • use of grandparents and other family members as a primary source to talk about their childhood and toys from the past.

Overarching theme running throughout: RRS

History in 2s, Nursery and Reception – ‘Playing to Learn’

Learning and development in the Early Years (EYFS) is made up of Prime and Specific areas of learning. In Early Years, History is taught thematically through ‘Understanding the World’. ‘Understanding the World’ is a specific area of learning.   The areas of learning are cross-curricular, which offer a creative way to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding, whilst motivating them to learn, through stimulating experiences.

In the EYFS there are three characteristics of effective teaching and

• playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
• active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties and enjoy achievements;
• creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

History with younger children has to involve their own life, or the life of their family, to be meaningful to them.  As children learn about the world around them, they find out about the past through talking to parents, grandparents and friends, and they develop an interest in their own story, as well as the stories in their family.  This is the beginning of developing an understanding of the past, and helps them to learn about how other people are similar to, and different from them, yet share some of the same characteristics and ideas.   Past and present events in the children’s lives, and those of other members of the family or friends, are explored.

There are many opportunities in the Early Years for children to find out about the past, for example, through exploring stories, looking at photographs and visiting the local environment.  In the Early Years, children are asked ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions; they use the past, present and future tense; they talk about the past and present in their own lives, and the lives of family members; they recognise similarities and differences between families and traditions, objects and materials; they take part in role play and the creation of stories. Children develop a sense of change over time and learn to differentiate between the past and the present.  They develop their use of language relating to time in conversations, through the use of vocabulary, for example, ‘yesterday’, ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘old’, ‘past’, ‘now’ and ‘then’.

At the end of the Reception Year, every child will be assessed against the Early Learning Goals.  The ELG which covers History is Past and Present.

Children aged 3-4 will be learning to:

– Begin to make sense of their own life-story and family’s history.

Children in Reception will be learning to:
– Talk about members of their immediate family and community;
– Name and describe people who are familiar to them;
– Comment on images of familiar situations in the past;
– Compare and contrast characters from stories, including figures from the past.

Early Learning Goal:

Children at the expected level of development will:

– Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society;
– Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
– Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.


Our teaching sequence in Key Stage 1 starts with a focus on the child, their immediate surroundings and events from the present and very recent past, so the children can relate to and understand what they are learning because it is familiar to them.

As children move through Key Stage 1, they learn about events before and beyond living memory and places outside of their direct experience.

This sequence of learning prepares children with the knowledge and skills required for progressing into the Key Stage 2 History Curriculum.


In Key Stage 2 the teaching sequence is planned chronologically, from the earliest civilisations in Lower Key Stage 2 through to History post-1066 by the end of Year 6. The curriculum is also planned to allow consolidation of prior knowledge and builds on previous learning in terms of historical knowledge, concepts, skills and vocabulary.

The Mayan Unit in Year 5 gives an additional opportunity for comparison of key features of a contrasting, contemporaneous society in and around the year 1000.

Impact for History

Impact is measured by the child’s progress against their ability to meet the key aims of the National Curriculum for History.

The impact of our school approach will enable our pupils to:

  • think like a historian, for example, using critical thinking and interpretation of historical evidence, having sound chronological awareness, using historical language and having an understanding of significant historical events and their impact over time.
  • confidently use historical vocabulary and dates;
  • discuss, question and interpret historical evidence;
  • use personal skills and qualities, including resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and independence.


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