Our intention is that every child will be an interested and inquisitive learner of History. We follow the National Curriculum programmes of study for each year group, aiming to create the very best historians, well equipped to continue their studies in history as they move throughout their education. We challenge pupils to think, act and speak like those working in the field would, by developing a consistent approach across all year groups. Substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge are explicitly taught. By substantive knowledge we mean the people, events and developments from the past that children will learn about. By disciplinary knowledge, we mean all the various processes that children need to develop if they are to get better at a subject. This can both refer to a process of doing something (e.g. interpreting a source) but also a thought process in order to understand big concepts such as change, continuity and consequence.

High quality history teaching in primary school is our ultimate goal. This forms part of a larger progressive curriculum into KS3 and KS4. Our cohesive approach to teaching History throughout the trust is driven by several key principles. We began with the idea that getting better at history requires both substantive and disciplinary knowledge to be carefully blended together in all planning and teaching. Neither can be taught without the other. When planning our units, we took note of the preambles at the start of each key stage and did not simply focus on the ‘Pupils should be taught about’ section in order to creative clear, cohesive and sequential long-term planning, accounting for prior knowledge and key skills for meaningful progression. Our units recognise that it is fundamental children develop chronological knowledge, both in terms of sequencing periods of history and of having a clear sense of the characteristics of a particular period. Linking learning within and across key stages is essential to developing the bigger picture of history. In order to communicate their understanding, key historical terms are taught well and in context. The explicit teaching of the precise and subtly changing meanings of vocabulary linked to each topic has been developed over time with careful planning and revisiting allowing for long-term retention.

Historical concepts need to be rooted in the study of actual historical people, events, and development, which allows for the flow of the immediate narrative of learning and brings it to life and serves to build up an unseen and almost instinctive layer that forms our longer-term knowledge. It is this that underpins all future learning, giving us a chronological framework, historical terms and key concepts that enhance our learning across the curriculum.


The planning of each unit has been rooted in the four key concepts of: Chronology, Communicating History, Investigating the past and Thinking like a Historian. High quality input from experts and educational resources, including detailed CPD, complement the delivery of specialist learning, just as high-quality teaching responds to the needs of children. Collaborative planning created by both Primary and Secondary colleagues, provides units of work, rooted in historical content, which focus on embedding challenge, metacognition, retrieval and practice. Opportunities to extend learning outside the classroom are interwoven into the curriculum, for example, through educational outings and visitors.


Pupil dialogue and work in books shows a high standard of history being taught. Pupils are able to talk with historical language and vocabulary about a particular period. They can make links and connections to what they have been taught previously. Historical learning and enjoyment is visible.

Please see our History curriculum documents below:

History Curriculum Narrative St Matthews

History Overview

Progression of Skills

History Policy

History Action Plan 2023-24


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