Thornton Primary School

Thornton Primary School

Love • Respect • Ambition

Love. Respect. Ambition.

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History Curriculum Overview



At Thornton Primary School, we teach History in a way that inspires our children to want to know about the past. The curriculum includes historical events that have occurred in Britain, from the earliest times to the present day. Our children are encouraged to consider these times and how people’s lives have been influenced as a result.


There are opportunities for our children to know and understand significant aspects of history form the wider world, including the nature of ancient civilizations and the expansion and dissolution of empires. Our children will engage in field trips to experience the various aspects of historical enquiry. They will be taught to think critically when exploring a range of sources, asking perceptive questions, weighing up evidence, whilst trying to form connections and record their own structured accounts.





History is taught utilising the History Association schemes of work and following our whole school overview. The units of have been selected to provide a breadth of both national and international events, time periods, civilisations and significant individuals. These are also being supplemented by local history studies.



We support our SEND children by pre-teaching subject specific vocabulary and adapting work where appropriate. Methods of recording are changed to support children with a range of needs, if required.


Learning Connections

In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, the content of the history curriculum relates to personal events from their own lives and people that they know. This extends to historical events within their living memory, as well as some significant events and the lives of significant people, beyond living memory. Pupils in Key Stage 2, continue to develop knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, using their geographical studies to support these. They are encouraged to explore and 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 challenges of their time. This relates strongly to the PSHE curriculum and the core values at Thornton Primary School of Love and Respect.



Being able to use and apply historical vocabulary, enables the children to better understand the subject, the topic content and communicate their ideas accurately with others. Each unit from the History Association has a key vocabulary list that is topic specific. We supplement this with History Rocks topic vocabulary cards and the general History vocabulary list suggested by Lancashire County Council.



We monitor the impact of learning each lesson through teacher observations, using the plenary section on the History Association schemes. More formally, we have designed a post topic quiz, as well as a specific assessment for each unit, that will provide a distance from learning check, to be completed at the end of each term. Using these methods, we can track the progress made across school and monitor their knowledge retention.


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, and 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.

(Taken from the History Programmes of study; DFE-00173-2013)