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St Thomas' CE Primary Academy

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St Thomas' CE Primary Academy


'A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.


Marcus Garvey




Here at St. Thomas’ CE Primary Academy, we value a high-quality History curriculum, which inspires a curiosity and appreciation about Britain’s past and that of the wider world. At its heart, History is about people. As such it is overflowing with fascinating, real-life stories, remembering brilliant people and heroic acts, which we use to engage children in our ambitious curriculum. Building their knowledge and skills in the discipline of History through key concepts, children become creative learners able to analyse, interpret and compare events and sources. 



The History curriculum uses a spiral approach to embed understanding of the key concepts for each Key Stage. Children will use their vocabulary and knowledge to make connections and develop their empathy for and understanding of people in the past. Working like historians, through speaking and listening and evaluating sources, the children will learn critical awareness while searching for answers and drawing conclusions. Learning through narratives, questioning and by continuously building upon and developing historical skills, children will be able to express their interpretation of the key abstract concepts of development, trade, beliefs and civilisations.



Fundamental Knowledge and Skills within the EYFS

At St Thomas’ Primary Academy, children in Reception begin to learn prerequisite skills and knowledge for History through understanding that events occur in chronological order, such as knowing what to do first when brushing their teeth. This is reinforced through sequencing stories, as they become story tellers and can arrange pictures in order as well as recounting events they have experienced. Their growing awareness that changes have occurred over time, for example that features in their lives have not always been the way they are now, ensures they are ready to be introduced to the historical concepts in KS1. They begin to make sense of their own life and that of their family, recognising the difference between past and present as then and now. This develops to being able to talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society. All of these experiences build knowledge that prepares the children for their learning journey in History as they enter KS1.


Key Stage One Concepts:

Rich and poor

Understanding that there is a difference in the choices people have depending on their circumstances. Fewer rights, less care, fewer options when poor, whereas having money meant a better life.

Lasting impact

Focus on one moment in time – what was the long-term impact? Eg. Titanic changed maritime laws and safety at sea provision around the world. FN changed nursing practices permanently. The Great Fire changed London.

Key Stage Two Concepts:

Civilisation and empire (slavery)

Chn need to understand what civilisations are, how they develop, adapt and build over time. Understanding how empires rise and fall, the ambition and power that drives expansion and the role of slavery within them.


Understanding the breadth of trade, that ancient civilisations were trading with people on the other side of the world, that contact with others spread ideas as well as goods.


Progress over time, understanding how everything that exists is built on what came before. The rudimentary stone tools being used in the Stone Age led to better in Bronze and even better in Iron Age.

Beliefs (including religious)

Understanding how beliefs shape decisions made and lives led (in any era). Historical empathy, seeing life as through someone else’s eyes.


Following the progression grids allows teachers to plan and teach lessons that focus on the substantive and disciplinary knowledge children need in order to make connections with previous learning as well as develop new understandings. Each unit asks a ‘Big Question’ that encourages deep thinking, oracy and using the vocabulary learned across the term. Authentic primary and secondary sources are used in lessons where possible, to allow children to explore artefacts, watch media and read high-quality texts in their journey to become Historians. Enriching the curriculum with trips, and developing cultural capital inspire discussion, questioning and contextual vocabulary through bringing history to life.



By weaving the key concepts through all the units in the History curriculum, children will develop an understanding of how the society in which they live was formed. Their ability to appreciate similarities and differences with other cultures and societies will help them to become responsible, tolerant and curious citizens of the future, equipped to find answers to questions and evaluate information. Practising both these transferable skills and discipline specific skills will enable children to confidently take their place in the wider world.