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History Curriculum


Aims & Objectives

At English Martyrs Catholic Primary School we aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity and provide them with a thorough understanding of the past of both Britain and the wider world. We aim to ensure that pupils are able to think critically and ask historically valid questions when examining evidence and can develop their own ideas and opinions, which are backed up by historical evidence. In our school history makes a significant contribution to citizenship education by teaching about how Britain developed as a democratic society. We teach children to understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today and to appreciate and respect the diversity in our country that has developed as a result of this.

The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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, 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.

In Foundation Stage pupils are taught to:

  • To develop a sense of time through events in stories, in children’s own lives and their family relationships using appropriate vocabulary.
  • To develop an awareness of time and change. Learning about seasons and life cycles through photographs and artefacts.
  • Begin to discuss similarities and differences within their own lives and environments.

In Key Stage 1 pupils are taught to:

  • Develop an awareness of the past and a sense of chronology through the study of people and events in different periods.
  • Use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms while comparing similarities and differences and discussing key features of historical events.
  • Understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past, using historical enquiry to explore changes within and significant events beyond living memory, the lives of significant individuals and significant events, people and places within their own locality.
    In Key Stage 2 pupils are taught to:
  • Develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, making connections and noticing trends over time.
  • Interpret and communicate historical knowledge that addresses questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.
  • Build on their knowledge from Key Stage 1 through a combination of in-depth and overview studies of Britain and the wider world, making connections between the events, people and societies from the past to better understand the present.

Teaching & Learning

At English Martyrs Catholic Primary School we make history an enjoyable learning experience. We encourage children to participate in a variety of historical experiences through which we aim to build up the confidence and knowledge of all children. Teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to understand how significant events in the past have shaped the present and their skills in historical enquiry to find out more about the past. We place emphasis on examining artefacts and primary sources and giving the pupils opportunity to visit sites of historical interest. We encourage visitors to our school to talk about the past and stimulate interest through drama, music and hands on activities.


We recognise that there are children of widely different historical abilities in all classes, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways by:

  • setting open-ended tasks which could have a variety of responses;
  • setting tasks of increasing difficulty (not all children complete all tasks);
  • grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group;
  • providing resources depending on the ability of the child, including providing ‘hands-on’ experiences;
  • using classroom assistants to support the work of individuals or groups of children.