Engaging, exciting and empowering lifelong learners through a creative, mastery-based curriculum

Our curriculum is centred around developing the whole child: from their head, to their heart, to their hand.

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The characteristics of a historian at East Farleigh Primary:

  • An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.

  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.

  • The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.

  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry.

  • A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.

  • A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgments.

  • A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.

Curriculum Ambition: History

At East Farleigh, we believe it is vital that children study, understand and have great awareness of the history that has shaped the world they live in today. History is everywhere and of vital importance to the daily lives we lead. We aim to develop lifelong learners with enquiring and challenging minds, who are talented historians with an appreciation and understanding of their role within a local, national and global community through a mastery approach to the teaching of history throughout the school.

Our ambition, wherever possible, is to engage and excite children by experiencing history first hand rather than just learning about it. We achieve this through incorporating opportunities for children to take their learning outside the classroom, be this a visit to a museum, an exploration of the local area or a re-enactment in our own school grounds. We value the knowledge and expertise that exist within our own school community, and welcome outside speakers to share their own experiences, culture and heritage with us. As a result, children not only learn about experiences of others and of significant events from the past, but they also have a chance to relive them in a creative way; this provides them with valuable tools to compare and contrast events and information, as well as empower them with the confidence to question the reliability of historical texts, artefacts and sources.

Curriculum Design: History

The history curriculum at East Farleigh is structured chronologically throughout KS2, with KS1 focusing on events within or close to living memory. Topics and units have been selected from the National Curriculum to ensure that children receive a high quality and deep historical learning experience, this includes a comparison of a time in British history with one in another part of the world. This ensures that children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and the wider world; the nature of ancient civilisations, the expansion and dissolution of empires and characteristic features of past non-European societies.

The programme of study for history encourages full immersion in a topic for one seasonal term each year; this provides children the opportunity to make connections, draw comparisons and develop an appreciation towards the influence of different cultures and periods across a range of subjects such as Art, D&T, Computing and Science. This approach aims to provide meaningful cross curricular, creative and tangible learning experiences that engage, excite and empower learners in their quest for mastery.

Our history curriculum strives to promote British Values, build cultural capital and deepen children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, with great emphasis being placed upon not just learning about historical facts and significant events, but using a chronological narrative from the earliest times to the present day with a focus on how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.


Curriculum Concepts: History

There are four 'big ideas' that drive the teaching and learning of history at East Farleigh, we know these as 'threshold concepts.’ In order to master the 'big ideas' of history, and to secure deep learning over time, we revisit these regularly; this may be discreetly, through making connections with another subject, or explicitly, through a history focussed topic.

The four threshold concepts in history are:

  • Investigate and interpret the past – This concept involves recognising that our understanding of the past comes from an interpretation of the available evidence.

  • Build an overview of world history – This concept involves an appreciation of the characteristic features of the past and that these features are similar and different across time periods, and an understanding that life is different for different sections of society.

  • Understand chronology – This concept involves an understanding of how to chart the passing of time and how some aspects of history happened at similar times in different places.

  • Communicate historically – This concept involves using historical vocabulary and techniques to convey information about the past.

When history provides the vehicle for learning (see above), ten 'knowledge categories' (see below) will be used to enable children to make strong connections between the aspect of history they are studying (e.g., comparing our local area; East Farleigh, with the United Kingdom and the world) as well as focusing on more specific aspects of human and physically geography (e.g. the lasting impact of the Romans studied in Year 4 on a later period such as the Victorians studied in Year 5).

We also recognise the importance of vocabulary in supporting pupils to articulate more complex ideas, and each milestone introduces a range of precise historical vocabulary which is systematically taught as part of each topic.

Meeting Milestones: History

As part of our curriculum philosophy, built on around the concept of mastery and learning being a change to long-term memory, it is impossible to see impact in the short term. We do, however, use assessment based on deliberate practice. This means that we look at the practices taking place to determine whether they are appropriate, related to our goals and likely to produce results in the long run. We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set (POP tasks) and in comparing a child's work over time. We also use lesson observations to see if the pedagogical style matches our depth expectations.

Investigate and interpret the past

Milestone 1

  • Observe or handle evidence to ask questions and find answers to questions about the past.

  • Ask questions such as: What was it like for people? What happened? How long ago?

  • Use artefacts, pictures, stories, online sources and databases to find out about the past.

  • Identify some of the different ways the past has been represented.

Milestone 2

  • Use evidence to ask questions and find answers to questions about the past.

  • Suggest suitable sources of evidence for historical enquiries.

  • Use more than one source of evidence for historical enquiry in order to gain a more accurate understanding of history.

  • Describe different accounts of a historical event, explaining some of the reasons why the accounts may differ.

  • Suggest causes and consequences of some of the main events and changes in history.

Milestone 3

  • Use sources of evidence to deduce information about the past.

  • Select suitable sources of evidence, giving reasons for choices.

  • Use sources of information to form testable hypotheses about the past.

  • Seek out and analyse a wide range of evidence in order to justify claims about the past.

  • Show an awareness of the concept of propaganda and how historians must understand the social context of evidence studied.

  • Understand that no single source of evidence gives the full answer to questions about the past.

  • Refine lines of enquiry as appropriate.

Build an overview of world history

Milestone 1

  • Describe historical events.

  • Describe significant people from the past.

  • Recognise that there are reasons why people in the past acted as they did.

Milestone 2

  • Describe changes that have happened in the locality of the school throughout history.

  • Give a broad overview of life in Britain from ancient until medieval times.

  • Compare some of the times studied with those of other areas of interest around the world.

  • Describe the social, ethnic, cultural or religious diversity of past society.

  • Describe the characteristic features of the past, including ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of men, women and children.

Milestone 3

  • Identify continuity and change in the history of the locality of the school.

  • Give a broad overview of life in Britain from medieval times.

  • Compare some of the times studied with those of the other areas of interest around the world.

  • Describe the social, ethnic, cultural or religious diversity of past society.

  • Describe the characteristic features of the past, including ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of men, women and children.

Understand chronology

Milestone 1

  • Place events and artefacts in order on a time line.

  • Label time lines with words or phrases such as: past, present, older and newer.

  • Recount changes that have occurred in their own lives.

  • Use dates where appropriate.

Milestone 2

  • Place events, artefacts and historical figures on a time line using dates.

  • Understand the concept of change over time, representing this, along with evidence, on a time line.

  • Use dates and terms to describe events.

Milestone 3

  • Describe the main changes in a period of history (using terms such as: social, religious, political, technological and cultural).

  • Identify periods of rapid change in history and contrast them with times of relatively little change.

  • Understand the concepts of continuity and change over time, representing them, along with evidence, on a time line.

  • Use dates and terms accurately in describing events.

Communicate historically

Milestone 1

  • Use words and phrases such as: a long time ago, recently, when my parents/carers were children, years, decades and centuries to describe the passing of time.

  • Show an understanding of the concept of nation and a nation’s history.

  • Show an understanding of concepts such as civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy, and war and peace.

Milestone 2

  • Use appropriate historical vocabulary to communicate, including: dates, time period, era, change, chronology.

  • Use literacy, numeracy and computing skills to a good standard in order to communicate information about the past.

Milestone 3

  • Use appropriate historical vocabulary to communicate, including: dates, time period, era, chronology, continuity, change, century, decade, legacy.

  • Use literacy, numeracy and computing skills to an exceptional standard in order to communicate information about the past.

  • Use original ways to present information and ideas.

End of year teacher assessments, which take into account engagement in lessons, quality of outcomes and results from any POP/ summative tasks, help to form a judgement about a child's attainment within the subject. These judgements are made in relation to a child's progress towards mastering biannual milestones against four essential threshold concepts (see above).

What do our pupils think?

In history, we looked at cave paintings in real caves. I think history is really fun because I like learning new things.

Year 4

I can't wait to learn about WW2 when I get into Year 6.

Year 5

Making shields and learning about armour was great fun.

Year 1

I loved it when we learnt about WW2 aircraft.

Year 6

Aspirations for the future

As a Historian, you could become a:

  • Museum Curator

  • Archaeologist

  • Family historian

  • Member of Parliament

  • Teacher

For more careers, please visit First Careers

Disclaimer: This has been developed with reflection upon the National Curriculum (2014) and Chris Quigley’s Essential Curriculum.