St Hilda’s CE Primary School

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Our Intent
Our history curriculum offers a coherently planned sequence of lessons to ensure pupils have progressively covered the substantive and disciplinary knowledge, skills and concepts required by the National Curriculum. Our history curriculum aims to develop historical skills and concepts which are transferable to whatever period of history is being studied and will equip children for future learning. These key historical enquiry skills and concepts, which are revisited throughout different units, are: Historical Interpretations; Historical Investigations; Chronological Understanding; Knowledge and Understanding of Events, People and Changes in the Past; Presenting, Organising and Communicating.
The coverage of recent history in KS1 such as ‘Toys’ and ‘Travel and Transport’ enables children to acquire an understanding of time, events and people in their memory and their parents’ and grandparents’ memories. For KS1, we have designed a curriculum that can be covered chronologically in reverse to allow a full opportunity for children to really grasp the difficult concept of the passing of time.

The intent in KS2 is that children study a variety of units that vary in chronological order from ancient history such as ‘Ancient Egypt’ and then progress onto more modern history such as ‘The Railways’. Upper KS2 enables children to repeat and embed this sequence of chronology with a wider selection of ancient history and more modern history. The repeat in KS2 looking at chronological order from ancient to modern allows for children to truly develop and embed a sense of time and how civilisations were interconnected. Children start to understand how some historical events occurred concurrently in different locations, e.g., Ancient Egypt and Stone Age Britain.

Substantive Knowledge
Substantive knowledge refers to the residual knowledge that children should take away from the unit after it has been taught ‘sticky knowledge and vocabulary’. It consists of the core facts and historical knowledge of the period, such as historical narrative, significant events or people, period features, chronology, and substantive concepts. In our progression map, you will find a concise summary of the substantive knowledge for each unit.

Substantive Concepts
Substantive concepts are concepts that children will come across repeatedly throughout their education in history. They are words that are hard to define in one definition as they mean slightly different things in different contexts and periods of time. As a child progresses through their education, they will learn a little more about the concept each time they come across it, slowly building a coherent understanding of the concept throughout history. It is not expected that by the end of primary school, children will have a full understanding of these substantive concepts, but they will be able to draw from their learning in history to better explain what they mean. Substantive concepts should be taught within historical contexts to provide a strong base for children’s understanding. Examples include ‘power’ and subsidiary words, such as ‘rule,’ ‘monarchy,’ ‘emperor’ and ‘democracy.’ In the progression map below, you will find the substantive concepts addressed in each unit. Each substantive concept is covered more than once to ensure that children have plenty of opportunities to develop their understanding. The substantive concepts in different colours are the main, most significant substantive concepts that run throughout all key stages.

Disciplinary Knowledge/ Historical Enquiry
Disciplinary knowledge is knowledge of how historians investigate the past, and how they construct historical claims, arguments, and accounts. For ease, we use the term ‘historical enquiry’ to refer to the complex tools, methods, and assumptions that historians draw on. It is important to note that ‘historical enquiry’ describes the way that historians approach the study of the past. ( We develop disciplinary skills by teaching how to study history through: historical interpretations, investigations, chronological understanding, knowledge and understanding of events, people, and changes in the past, presenting and organising and communicating. Pupils progressively learn to gather, organise, and evaluate evidence interpret findings, analyse and make connections, evaluate, and draw conclusions and communicate findings. We also teach pupils a progression in disciplinary vocabulary to aid their enquiry and interpretation.

Disciplinary Concepts
Disciplinary concepts are concepts used in the study of history. They form the basis of many questions historians ask about the past and include continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity and difference, and historical significance. Continuity and Change, Cause and Consequence, Similarities and Differences and Historical Significance.
These concepts will enable children to ask historically valid questions, create connections, identify contrasts, examine trends, and construct analyses. These are mapped out and differentiated for key stage 1, lower key stage 2, and upper key stage 2.

Our Implementation 

In order for all children to know more and remember more in each area of history studied, there is a structure to the lesson sequence whereby prior learning is always considered and opportunities for revision of facts and historical understanding are built into lessons. However, this is not to say that this structure should be followed rigidly: it allows for this revision to become part of good practice and ultimately helps build a depth to children’s historical understanding. Through revisiting and consolidating skills, our lesson plans help children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and challenge. We have a specific series of lessons for each key stage, which will offer structure and narrative but are by no means to be used exclusively, rather to support planning. The revision and introduction of key vocabulary is built into each lesson. This vocabulary is then included in display materials and additional resources to ensure that children are allowed opportunities to repeat and revise this knowledge. Through these lessons, we intend to inspire pupils to develop a love of history and see how it has shaped the world they live in. Teachers ensure all pupils, including those with ESL and/or SEND are able to excellent progress from their starting points by adapting their planning as necessary. 

Our Impact 

The impact of using the full range of resources, including display materials, will be seen across the school with an increase in the profile of history. The learning environment across the school will be more consistent with historical technical vocabulary displayed, spoken, and used by all learners. Whole-school and parental engagement will be improved through the use of history-specific home learning tasks and opportunities suggested in lessons and overviews for wider learning. We want to ensure that history is loved by teachers and pupils across school, therefore encouraging them to want to continue building on this wealth of historical knowledge and understanding, now and in the future. Impact can also be measured through key questioning skills built into lessons, child-led assessment such as success criteria grids, jigsaw targets and KWL grids and summative assessments aimed at targeting next steps in learning. 

All pupils are entitled to a broad history curriculum. Any adaptations made to support pupils’ learning in history usually should not be to the overall curriculum content but rather to how the content is taught. In the case of pupils with the most complex learning needs, there may be occasions when it is appropriate to modify the curriculum. However, this will be the exception. Ensuring that all pupils otherwise encounter the same content is particularly important given the role that hinterland information has in facilitating learning in history. Evidence suggests that significantly reducing content or complexity for some pupils might in fact limit their access to content or limit their ability to learn. It is likely that pupils will benefit most from support that combines extra attention to securing the most generative knowledge while ensuring that all pupils are able to learn about events and periods in a rich context and through meaningful examples.
Teaching draws attention to important content and terms, and frequently revisits these and builds in regular retrieval opportunities. This supports the secure
retention that will unlock rapid later recognition of these terms.
Exposition is clear and builds on pupils’ prior knowledge.
Teaching uses narrative, story, and rich historical contexts to support learning of new material.
Curriculum design and teaching are adapted appropriately to the needs of pupils.
Adaptations for pupils with SEND are carefully considered and take into account the importance of background information in learning.Adaptations  CLICK HERE

British values, including those of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs are embedded in the History curriculum. Students explore issues such as democracy in their historical context and relate them to the modern day through studying periods such as Ancient Greece. This enables the students to understand how, overtime, changes happened and to evaluate their impact. By looking at the achievements of famous British people (KS1), students develop an awareness of how they have influenced and shaped the country in which we live. This includes an appreciation of their work. Teaching students to respect and value diversity is encouraged in the day-to-day teaching and learning through showing respect for different viewpoints and ideas as well as in the ability to work effectively together both individually and in groups.