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St Stephens Primary School



At St Stephens we deliver a historical curriculum that develops learning and results in the children gaining knowledge and skills which enables children to enquire, research and analyse in history.  We use varying learning styles through our theme learning, enabling all children to access our thematic curriculum. At St Stephens we have developed a historical curriculum that supports the importance of a balanced curriculum which prepares children for opportunities and responsibilities later on in life.  We teach the children to think critically about facts and opinions of others and understand historical events that have changed our world to what it is today. We look at significant people and the important part they have played in our society. 

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. 

At St Stephens we provide many learning opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the history of Britain and the wider world through field trips, photos, artefacts and historical talks.


Teaching and Learning at St Stephens show progression across all key stages within the strands of History. Children at St Stephens have access to key language and meanings in order to understand and apply their knowledge to their learning. Our theme learning is displayed as a working wall which focuses on the aspects of History and emphasises the terminology used throughout the teaching of History, British Values and SMSC which help children to make links with the wider curriculum. Our children are encouraged to think like historians and develop their critical thinking as historians would. Children will have access to local historical sites, have historical figures into school and gain an understanding of history in their community to provide first-hand experiences for the children to support and develop their learning. They will have the opportunity to explore artefacts and historical sources to inspire their love of learning. Children at St Stephens will look at how history has shaped different cultures and beliefs of today.  British Values and PSHE links will show children the importance of our historical world. 

As set out by the national curriculum, we encourage children to develop the following knowledge, skills and understanding:

Key stage 1 Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should 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. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should 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 should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented. 

In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching about the people, events and changes outlined below, teachers are often introducing pupils to historical periods that they will study more fully at key stages 2 and 3. 

Pupils should be taught about:  

  • changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life  
  • events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]  
  • the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]  
  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

Key stage 2 Pupils should 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 should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.


Pupils are taught about:

  • changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
  • the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
  • the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
  • a local history study - Saltash / Brunel / Victorian
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 .
  • the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.

At St Stephens we use the National Curriculum to guide us on the content and focus in the Programme of Study to inform our thematic approach. We endeavour to provide cross curricular learning opportunities for children to develop their curiosity and find out more about the past.




Children at St Stephens will understand and use the key skills of chronological understanding, Knowledge and understanding of events in the past, historical interpretation, Historical enquiry and organisational and communication.  Most of the children will achieve age related expectations in History. At St Stephens children will become historians. They will learn lessons from history to influence decisions that they make.

Early Years

History in the EYFS curriculum includes' ‘Understanding of the World '’ combining ‘People and Communities,’ ‘The World’ and  ‘Technology,’. At St Stephens children begin to develop and understand history through our thematic approach. 

Children have an enriched environment with many historical artefacts to encourage curiosity in their child initiated play. Children are also exposed to a variety of fiction and non fiction texts that encourage children to ask questions. 

We encourage children to develop an understanding of their own identity , similarities and differences in both appearances and cultural aspects through stories, SMSC and P4C, which supports children to discuss their own feelings and understanding of the world in which they live. 
As well as the above, the Characteristics of Effective Learning  encourage children to explore the world around them and develop confidence in asking questions in order to make sense of the world and their own local environment and community. This provides the foundations for learning in Key Stage 1.

 The subject leader for History is Mr J Burr





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