Purpose of study

A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. 


  • 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.

Prior learning

Prior learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Talk about people and times

that are special to me and my

family and friends, like “remember

the party when we had fireworks

and big bangs”.

Talk about what is happening

tomorrow or what happened

yesterday. Say what day it is.

Talk about how things change,

To place known events and objects in chronological order.

To use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms.

To use an increasing range of common words and phrases relating to the passing of time including century, decade, BC, AD

To place some historical periods in a chronological framework.

Recognise photos of my

friends, family and other special

people and say who they are.

Use everyday language

to talk about time.


To sequence events and recount changes within memory.

To speak about how he/she has found out about the past.

To use dates to place events, artefacts and historical figures on a timeline.

To plot recent history on a timeline using centuries.

Know the order of things that

happen every day (such as I get

out of bed, I have my breakfast, I

get dressed) and say what

happens next.

Children talk about past and

present events in their own lives

and in the lives of family members.


To explain how they have changed since they were born.

To find out something about the past by talking to an older person.

To refer to more than one source of evidence for more accurate understanding of events.

To understand that changes occur over time and add evidence and dates to timeline to represent this.


Know the difference between past and present events in  own lives.


To use common words and phrases relating to the passing of time including: past, old, new, recent, young, days, months.

To answer questions by using specific source such as an informative book or website.

To study two different accounts of the same event, exploring similarities and differences.      

To use historic terms related to the period of study.


Know some reasons why people’s lives were different in the past.


To explain the differences between the past and present in own life and that of other children from a different time in history.

To know about a famous event that happens somewhere else in the world and why it has been happening for some time.

To know that Britain has been invaded by several different groups over time.

To use sources of information in ways that go beyond simple observations to answer questions about the past.



To find answers to some simple questions about the past from simple sources of information.

To explain how the local area was different in the past.

To use 'information finding' skills in writing to help them write about historical information. 

To explain how events from the past have helped shape our lives.



To give a plausible explanation about what an object was used for in the past.

To record what he/she has learned by drawing and writing.

To identify similarities and differences between given periods in history.

To discuss what we can learn from some primary and secondary sources of information and evaluate their usefulness.




To ask and answer questions such as What was it like for a…? What happened? How long ago?            

To know some of the lasting effects of an invasion of Britain.

To use a variety of resources to find out about aspects of life in the past.



To describe some simple similarities and differences between artefacts

To discuss the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements and use some to compare aspects of life in different periods.


To appreciate that the food people ate was different because of the availability of different sources of food.



. To ask and answer questions about old and new objects.

To recount the life of someone famous from Britain who lived in the past giving attention to what they did earlier and what they did later.


To know some achievements of an early civilisation.



To explain why certain objects were different in the past, e.g. iron, music systems, televisions.

To research the life of a famous person from the past using different resources to help them.


To understand that sources can contradict each other.



To ask and answer relevant basic questions about the past.

To sequence events about the life of a famous person.


To research two versions of an event and say how and why they differ.



To answer questions using an artefact / photograph provided.

To make comment on why people did things, why events happened and what happened as a result.


To communicate his/her learning in an organised way, using appropriate terminology.



To give examples of ways in which life is different in the present day compared to that of the early 20th century.

To research the life of someone who used to live in the area using internet and other sources to find out about them.


To ask a historically valid question about change.


History supports spiritual development by helping children develop a sense of curiosity and the mystery of how and why events in the past happened and raises questions as to what could have happened if events had had different results. Artefacts are used to give pupils a sense of the past and aid pupils in understanding the people who produced and used these objects. Pupils are encouraged to explore the role played by important individuals, for good or ill, in the shaping of the world we live in. Pupils also reflect upon different interpretations of the past and how these interpretations have been arrived at.


History supports moral development by asking children to consider and comment on moral questions and dilemmas. Events and beliefs in the past will often be at odds with what we would consider unacceptable today (and were to some people in the past also) Pupils will be encouraged to show compassion for people facing dilemmas and to empathise with decisions which people in the past made and the reasoning behind these decisions. Notions of right and wrong are explored in connection with events from the past, linking with the value of justice.


History supports social development by exploring the similarities and contrasts between past and present societies and be made aware of how, in the main, we are very fortunate to live in ‘the modern world’ which links with the value of thankfulness. They will examine how other cultures have had a major impact on the development of ’British’ culture. Pupils will also be encouraged to build up their own social development through collaborative and team working activities.


History supports cultural development by encouraging children to gain an understanding of and empathise with, people from different cultural backgrounds. They will examine how other cultures have had a major impact on the development of ’British’ culture. Pupils develop a better understanding of our multicultural society through studying links between local, British, European and world history