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At St Thomas we aim to develop children’s understanding of substantive concepts, which are revisited throughout different units and are identified in the overview below. Historical enquiry skills are built upon progressively throughout the units and include: Historical Interpretations; Historical Investigations; Chronological Understanding; Knowledge and Understanding of Events and People in the Past; Presenting, Organising and Communicating; and Substantive Concepts and Historical Vocabulary. In addition to this, progression of disciplinary concepts are also woven into units and include: Continuity and Change; Cause and Consequence; Similarities and Differences; and Historical Significance.

The coverage of some history in KS1, such as ‘Transport’ and ‘Explorers’, enables children to acquire an understanding of time, events and people within their own living memory as well as their parents’ and grandparents’ memories. For KS1, we have designed a curriculum that can be covered chronologically in each year group to allow a full opportunity for children to really grasp the difficult concept of the passing of time. Therefore, in year 1, children will start with a unit that is the furthest back in time and end with a unit that looks at some more recent history. This order repeats in year 2.

The aim is for children to truly develop and embed a sense of time, understand how civilisations were interconnected and to be exposed to a diverse range of history topics. Children start to understand how some historical events occurred concurrently in different locations, e.g. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Stone Age.



In order for children to know more and remember more in each area of history studied, the lesson sequence is structured so that prior learning is always considered and opportunities for revision and retrieval of key dates, events and facts are built into lessons. We have added 'do now' sections at the start of lessons that often revisit the key substantive knowledge taken from the linked knowledge organiser. Multiple choice quizzes also provide great opportunities to help make the key knowledge stick. This all allows for revision to become part of good practice and ultimately helps build a depth to children’s historical understanding. Through revisiting and consolidating skills, our lessons and resources help children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and challenge. Revision and introduction of key vocabulary is built into each lesson. This vocabulary is then included in knowledge organisers, 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. It is important for children to understand that the past influences the present and the future. We want to encourage children to learn that they can’t change history but what they can do is learn about it and learn from it then use this information to help shape a better future.


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. Progression across the school can also be measured through key questioning skills built into lessons, child-led assessment (such as success criteria grids) and low-stakes assessment (such as retrieval quizzes and summative assessments), all of which inform and target next steps in learning.


Click here for 'Long-term History coverage'

St Thomas CE Academy
Great Colmore Street, Birmingham B15 2AT
0121 622 2151