Intent: why do we teach what we teach?

Vision statement: 

Why does history matter and why does it matter to our pupils and our community specifically?

Core principles:

  • Interpreting the past, exploring competing narratives
  • Enquiry led, building a schema for pupils
  • Explicit focus on second order concepts – more detail on this?
  • Writing critically
  • Fact and opinion, trusting the world, navigating narratives and questioning them,
  • Breadth of what we cover – focus on British history in primary and then expands across the  globe in secondary
  • Interplay between British history and Global history e.g. Tudors in Y5 with focus on British context and then in Y8 greater focus on European context
  • Chronological order throughout primary and then spirals a second time through secondary

It is our mission to prepare our pupils for success at university and beyond. Interpreting the past is a transformative and fundamental pillar of this success. We teach an academically rigorous curriculum which inspires our historians to ask questions about our understanding of history and form substantive judgements on events and periods which define our narratives, belief systems and relationships.

In the primary school, units are designed so that pupils engage with sources and evidence, cause and effect, similarity and difference, significance, and empathy. Open-ended enquiry questions require our pupils to engage with these historical concepts, forming understanding, opinions and judgements on the time periods studied.

EYFS Curriculum Overview

2 year olds

Nursery (3-4 year olds)

Reception (4-5 year olds)

 Past & Present big question:

Who do I belong to?


Past & Present big questions:

What are journeys?   Who am I?

Who helps us?

Past & Present big questions:

Where do I belong?

What make my family unique?


Curriculum Overview


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9


H1: Discovering the past:

How did we discover dinosaurs?

H3: The Great Fire of London

How severe was the Great Fire of London?

Time periods in history

 Time periods in history

H10: The Victorians: What was it like to be a child the Victorian British Empire?

How do we know about the past?

 World views in c1000

 Emerging empires in 1600

 The First World War


How did we discover dinosaurs?

Features of 17th century London

Time periods in history

H7: Vikings: Were the Vikings misunderstood?

H11: The early reign of Henry VIII: What motivated the young Henry VIII?

H14: Nazi Germany: How did the Nazi party rise to power?

 Contested power, contested land (11th and 12th centuries)

 The British Isles in the 17th century

 Russian Revolution and interwar Europe


H2: Discovering the past:

How did children play in the past?

H4: Women’s voices in history: What makes a hero in history?

Time periods in history

H8: Anglo-Saxon England: Who held the power in Anglo-Saxon England?

H12: Henry VIII’s break with Rome: Why did Henry VIII break with Rome?

H15: The English Civil War: Why was the English Civil War so devastating?

 Empires: expansion and collapse (13th century)

 Expanding Empires

 Second World War and the Holocaust


What was the past like for my family?


H5: The Romans: How should we view the Romans?

Mini recap: Vikings in Britain

 Time periods in history

Cause and effect

 Stability and instability (14th and 15th centuries)

 The Enlightenment and  French Revolution



What was London like in the past?

Civil rights

What did the Romans achieve in Britain?

Mini recap: features of Saxon England

 H13: The First World War:

How did the First World War change warfare?

Time periods in history

 Religious revolution and resistance in the 16th century

 Industrial Revolution

 Campaign for Civil Rights


 What was London like in the past? Pt II

Time periods in history

 H6: Discovering the Stone Age: How do we know about the Stone Age?

H9: Local History: How has Edgware Road changed over time?

How did the First World War change warfare?

H16: The British Empire: How did the British Empire treat the people living in it?

Silver and gold

 19th century political reform

 Post-War Britain#

Curriculum Overview

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Year 13


Crime and Punishment

Cold War

In search of the American Dream 1917-1996

Tudor Rebellions 1485-1603



Cold War

Weimar and Nazi Germany

South Africa: Apartheid-Rainbow Nation (1948-1994)


The study of history begins in the EYFS through their integrated pedagogy. This learning is vital is developing a sense of belonging and identity, to their own families, to our KSA family and finally our community.  In our 2 year old provision, pupils remember and talk about recent experiences they have shared together.  They begin their knowledge of chronology by identifying and observing change in their day, over the seasons and in their lifetime.

We expect our historians to form their own interpretations about the past, using primary and secondary sources to form judgements. This is a skill we embed from our first unit in year 1, where children interrogate a ‘live’ Mary Anning and Barnum Brown, asking them questions about their important discoveries. By the end of their journey through the primary school, children interrogate primary and secondary sources to argue how they believe the Nazi Party rose to power in inter-war Germany.

Key Stage 3 history is currently undergoing a process of change as we move to a centralised Ark Curriculum. By building on the primary school’s rigorous coverage of Britain’s history with many units covering varying aspects of world history, the children apply and develop their historical skills in units ranging from the Crusades to the Russian Revolution.

Key Stage 4 is also undergoing a process of change as we move from AQA (studied by Year 11) to Edexcel (studied by Year 10). Year 11 pupils study Germany 1890 – 1945, the Inter-War years and Empires. These courses offer pupils a variety of time periods, places and historical themes. Year 10 pupils are studying Crime and Punishment, Early Elizabethan England, the Cold War and Germany 1918-1939.

Key Stage 5 is also undergoing a process of change as we move from OCR (studied by Year 13) to Edexcel (studied by Year 12). Year 13 pupils study the Stuarts 1603-1660, the Russian Revolution 1894-1953 and China 1839-1989, alongside a coursework topic. Year 12 pupils study America 1917-1996, South Africa 1948-1994 and Tudor Rebellions 1485-1603, alongside a coursework topic. These topics have been selected as they contain a significant topic within early Modern British History and the global history topics have been chosen to ensure a diverse range of histories are studied that help pupils to understand the modern world and their place within it.           

Pupils have some of the foundational knowledge and concepts from their journey of learning over their journey through the school. Our curriculum progresses in skills and knowledge, returning to significant aspects of history where necessary, such as the World Wars, the Holocaust, colonisation and decolonisation and the Reformation. Our pupils respond to challenging GCSE questions using skills and knowledge they have not just acquired in Key Stage 4 or 5, but throughout their entire KSA journey.

Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?

Year group

Hours of teaching

Organisation of work


Integrated into daily teaching and learning in the provision

Memorable moments are captured as pupil voice in observations and learning journals



Exercise books, writing progress books



Exercise books, writing progress books



Exercise books, writing progress books



Exercise books, writing progress books



Exercise books, writing progress books



Exercise books, writing progress books



Exercise books



Exercise books



Exercise books



Exercise books



Exercise Books



Folders (online and offline)



Folders (online and offline)

In the EYFS, history is explored through the learning area ‘Past and Present’. Although each year group has a dedicated unit, learning is woven through the entire curriculum and pupil frequently investigate history through a range of experiences. Some examples are learning about roles in their community such as ‘Career’s Day’ in February, developing their use of past and present tense when recounting shared experiences like Reception’s Thames boat trip in HT3 and using photographs in a class display to identify and talk about their family members in our 2 year old provision.  

In both the primary and secondary phase, each unit has an enquiry question which is answered with a written outcome. Specialist teachers have intellectual preparation time together, a crucial touch point in identifying misconceptions and practising the delivery of historical concepts in preparation for teaching. As the pupils start their learning, a Knowledge Organiser is shared with the pupils in both their exercise and homework books, outlining what each historian needs to know as an entry point to each aspect of the unit. This document sequences the unit into lessons, identifying the key knowledge to be taught each lesson. As the unit progresses, the children revise the previous week’s learning both in the Do Now and for homework . Within lessons, teaches teach the content on the KO greater depth, imparting knowledge and using texts, deliberate practice techniques and extended writing tasks, leaving a body of work in the children’s books which they can refer to in their independent outcome.

To make history accessible to all secondary pupils, reading is chunked and key words and concepts are pre-taught then underlined and highlighted in the text. Assessment for learning happens every lesson through use of cold-call, asking multiple pupils the same question, whole class questioning with white boards, multiple-choice questions and exit tickets. Historical skills are built up gradually over time to manage cognitive load and so skill development follows on from what has been learned previously. This means, for instance, that pupils learn how to make inferences before they are asked to judge a source’s reliability. Additionally, historical thinking skills are developed over time, so that pupils think about the concept of change within their own experiences, before evaluating the extent of change and then writing an A Level essay for this skill in year 13. Historical writing is also built up so that pupils first master providing a point with evidence, before writing a complete essay. Structures, such as paragraph scaffolds, and sentence starters, are provided to enable pupils to complete the work independently. Knowledge Organisers are given for all units and a key homework is revising from knowledge organisers for a test.  Revision guides provided for GCSE pupils and A Level pupils have textbooks to work from at home.

There are six subject specialists in the department. In the primary phase, two specialist teachers teach Y1-6, with other teachers teaching their own classes. In secondary, one is a trainee, and three are fully qualified teachers. Staff are supported with co-planning sessions, department meetings which share best practice, discuss the curriculum and discuss teaching and learning strategies. Teachers are supported through drop ins, observations and coaching. Teachers in the history department develop their subject knowledge through reading course books, in addition to further texts. Departmental conversations also develop ideas and understandings, especially for historical pedagogy.

Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?


Within lessons, history teachers in primary assess pupils’ understanding during the lesson at many points. ‘Well Worn Paths’ are ordered lists of pupils which the teachers follow, prioritising the highest-leverage pupils first. These paths are used to inform live feedback, enabling teachers to assess success against the lesson objective and collect live data. Pupils and teachers both assess each learner’s success against the learning objective; this informs planning for the next lesson.  In alignment with assessment in the Early Years, practitioners observe the children in play, use skilful interactions to comment and question, supporting children to deepen and share their understanding of the past and present.  Children show what they know by making comments and asking questions which are captured as ‘memorable moments’, usually in pupil voice, photographs or observations. These are collected in pupil’s learning journals to support practitioner’s judgements of how well pupils know and can articulate their knowledge.

In the primary phase, enquiry questions for each unit - answered with a formal written response - require our pupils to demonstrate understanding at length. Pupils’ writing is also formally assessed against national standards, meaning teachers assess ability to communicate understanding in written form.

Pupils will begin an enquiry question without their teachers first having a knowledge of their progress in the unit: teachers will only begin the process when they are confident that the pupils are able to be successful. This happens with live feedback and data collecting within lessons, acting on misconceptions and mistakes in the moment. “Exit tickets” and end-of-lesson independent tasks also form a data-collecting point for teachers at the end of each lesson.

Quizzes are also used to formatively assess what our children have learned, and the data from this informs planning for future ‘Do Nows’ and pre-teaches in other Humanities units. Teachers use these quizzes to identify strengths and weaknesses across cohorts. The summative and formative data collected from quizzes informs future units, including the planning of ‘Do Nows’ and revision at the start of lessons in the following unit.

In secondary, pupils receive written feedback approximately every six lessonsm alongside live feedback on their oral and written contributions.  Checkpoints through the half term assess pupils ability to complete specific aspects of a historical skill or particular exam questions. Teacher feedback then allows pupils to improve, before they complete a cumulative assessment towards the end of the half term. At Key Stage 3 and 4, knowledge organiser quizzes take place and for Key Stage 4, this data is captured to inform future lessons that address misconceptions or gaps in knowledge. In addition, these quizzes develop revision skills. Teachers re-teach skills which pupils appear to be struggling with, which leads to improved work.