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St John's C of E Primary School

"Sharing joy and hope in the community."



At St John’s CE Primary School, we see history as a subject to enhance children’s curiosity about the past and gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We believe that high quality history lessons inspire children to want to know more about the past and to think and act as historians. The children will discover how the past influences the present and, in doing so they develop an understanding of chronology. Essential skills of asking perceptive questions, thinking critically, researching and analysing evidence and developing perspective and judgement, as well as presenting their point of view are key in history; skills that are also essential in life. History opens our eyes to the diversity of human experience; it provides us with opportunities to learn more deeply about society and ourselves, and knowledge of the great events of the past help to bring context to our everyday experiences. It is our objective to instil a love of History in all our children.



We aim to provide a history curriculum with appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum History Programmes of study. We aim to provide an interesting and varied curriculum that interests and intrigues our children while meeting the needs of all backgrounds, cultures and abilities.

From EYFS up to the end of KS2, the children will be taught about various historical events, where they take place within a historical timeline and famous historical figures, some of which have shaped the world today. We will, where possible, link History to other curriculum areas and endeavour to provide enrichment opportunities.



The National Curriculum for History aims to ensure that all children:

  • Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind.
  • Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’.
  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses.
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts: understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.



At St. John’s we implement a progressive history curriculum that builds on prior knowledge and skills year on year.  The history curriculum will be taught through effective teaching and sequences of lessons and experiences through topics.  These are aimed to be challenging, inspiring, creative, nurturing and encourage active learning.

At present, our curriculum is taught on a two-year cycle (Year A and Year B).  The lessons are planned to ensure that all children are well supported in their learning and that opportunities for differentiation and depth is planned for.  Where appropriate we use historical artefacts, visitors, workshops and visits to excite and intrigue our children to find out more about events and people from the past. We aim to give our children as much understanding as possible about what is was like to be around at a particular period in history by having practical lessons where possible.


Topic books are used across KS1 and KS2 at St John’s CE School and can provide a record of the children’s learning and progress of history and geography. A triangulation of teachers’ planning, children’s work and pupil voice help to inform assessment and progress made during the teaching sequence and throughout the year.



At the end of each key stage, the children’s learning is assessed against the age-related expectation bands that are based on the 2014 National Curriculum statements for History. At St. John’s, we use summative assessment to determine children’s understanding through pre and post assessments and this also informs teachers planning. History is reviewed by the subject leader, who also carries out regular learning walks, opportunities for pupil voice and topic book scrutinies.


History in the Early Years


In the EYFS, history is taught through the 'Understanding the World' Early Learning Goal.  Children in our reception class begin to learn the concept of history as they talk about past events in their own lives. This provides an initial introduction to chronology, which plays an important role in helping pupils to understand what is meant by ‘a long time ago’ or ‘before living memory’, using their own lives, experience and interests to support this. They will talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society and understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling. This introduction to chronology in the early years helps to build vocabulary and knowledge that things do not always remain the same and supports an understanding of changes over time that are further explored in KS1 and beyond.

Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

To meet the Early Learning Goal children should be able to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.