A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
Key stage 1
Pupils develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. Pupils use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
In Year 1, pupils will be taught about changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life. They will learn about the Gunpowder plot and why we celebrate Bonfire night.
In Year 2, pupils will learn about events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally, for example the Great Fire of London. They will also study the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements such as Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong. This can compare aspects of life in different time periods.
Key Stage 2
Pupils continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. Pupils construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
In Year 3, pupils study changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age including late Neolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers, for example, Skara Brae. When studying the Bronze Age and Iron Age, they look at religion, technology and travel, for example, Stonehenge. The children also study Ancient Egypt, looking at beliefs, architecture, art, agriculture and climate.
In Year 4, the children study the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain including Julius Caesar’s attempted invasion in 55-54 BC, the Roman Empire by AD 42 and the power of its army, British resistance including Boudica and the ‘Romanisation’ of Britain and the impact of technology, culture and beliefs. The children also study Ancient Greece which includes a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world and early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900.
In Year 5 , children study the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England including Viking raids and invasion, resistance by Alfred the Great and Athelstan, first king of England, and further Viking invasions and Danegeld. The children also study the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 which links to the study of British values.
In Year 6, the children study the Second World War and its impact on the West Midlands as a local history topic. Year 6 also study the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and contrast these to that of Britain.