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History Curriculum Design

The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.

Theodore Roosevelt


At Thorpe Willoughby CP School, our history curriculum is designed to bring history alive! We aim to inspire children's curiosity to know more about the past, gaining a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain's past and that of the wider world. Our History curriculum ensures that children acquire a chronological understanding of British history from Stone Age to present day and a knowledge and understanding of world history such as the ancient civilisations of Greece, the Mayans and Egyptians.


Our history curriculum has a focus on the significance of these periods of time. We provide opportunities to explore and learn about significant historical people, places and events that have changed the world.


Through our half-term curriculum themes, our history curriculum provides children with opportunities to ask questions, think critically, consider evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. It aims to enable children to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives.


We recognise through our history curriculum that subject-specific vocabulary is important for children to acquire. This will support their historical knowledge and understanding of the subject and themes. When planning our themes, history is often a curriculum driver and the vocabulary required to succeed is identified, planned and modelled.


We intend that our history curriculum demonstrates and celebrates our school values, giving our children opportunities to recognise, challenge and understand how these values have been represented in their own way through time throughout other civilisations throughout time.


What History Looks Like at Thorpe Willoughby

In our Foundation Stage, we teach Reception-aged children history through the EYFS Statutory Framework and the Development Matters non-statutory guidance. Understanding the World is one of the four specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and guides children to make sense of their physical world and their community. We ensure our curriculum and provision areas encourage children to explore their local history and wider.


Our history curriculum is developed around the Primary National Curriculum, England for children in Key Stages 1 and 2. History is taught through our half-termly themes for example Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age is taught through our ‘Warriors of the World’ theme.  History often serves as the main driver subject for our themes ensuring explicit history teaching within an immersive curriculum.


Within our History Curriculum, we ensure:

  • Three history studies are taught explicitly each year.
  • All children engage in historical enquiry relating to the UK, Europe and the wider world.
  • Children learn about their heritage and locality through local studies of Selby & York. They appreciate the rich history of their locality including Selby Abbey and learn about the important role York has played in many key events in history.
  • Enhanced experiences are provided to engage and support children’s learning. For example: Educational visits, inspiring visitors, artefacts and virtual tours allow us to travel to far-away places such as Rome and back in time to Ancient Greece!
  • Exciting opportunities and activities provide opportunities to immerse ourselves in the historical period e.g. Stone Age Day,  visits to significant historical places and attending Royal Tudor Banquets.
  • Children learn about significant historical people, places and events throughout history.
  • Historical sources, artefacts and historical evidence are used in the teaching of history to allow children to form opinions and draw their own conclusions.


History - Whole School Overview

History - Progression