Our history curriculum

Find out more about our history curriculum and read our FAQs

Introduction

We’ve been working closely with curriculum partners, subject experts and teachers and have now released our new interactive history curriculum plan.

Our curriculum partners for history are:

You can read more about how our expert groups helped shape our curriculum thinking in our Blog: Collaborating with our history expert group.

Find out more about how to use our interactive curriculum plans and adapt them for your school in our Guide to our new curricula.

When will all the resources be available?

We have started to release our new lesson planning and resources on a rolling basis across this academic year. 

Our new units and lessons all have a ‘New’ label beside them. 

NEW_label

You’ll be able to see what lessons we will be covering in each unit by clicking into the unit information on the unit sequence page. 

We’ll be releasing the rest of the lesson planning and teaching resources for these history units on a rolling basis across the year.

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By summer 2024, you’ll have access to everything we’re releasing for history. 

What's happening with our existing history resources?

All of our existing history resources, that were released before September 2022, will remain available for the whole of 2023/24. Please do keep using them alongside our new teaching resources that are rolled out this year. 

Once we've released all the teaching resources for our new curriculum, by summer 2024, we will then retire the previous history resources. 

FAQs

Our primary history curriculum

What’s the balance between British, World and mixed history in primary?

At primary, we follow the balance as laid out in the national curriculum for  KS1 and 2. This means that there is a variety of British, World and mixed history. We have focused on ensuring that the connections between the history of different places is clearly identified throughout the curriculum.

There seems to be a lack of chronology in KS1? How does this curriculum help us meet the national curriculum objective of “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”

While pupils' early understanding of the past, and chronology is developing it is not appropriate to structure their learning entirely chronologically as in later key stages. 

We are focused on building up pupils' understanding of the more recent past and various substantive concepts that underpin the rest of the curriculum like power and religion. 

When pupils encounter the more distant past, they do so in units that are chronologically ordered, allowing them to make sense of the order of people, events and developments but without a focus on absolute chronology which can prove distracting at this stage of their development.

The threads for primary seem very complex for younger pupils. Why are the same ones used for both primary and secondary?

The threads contain complex substantive concepts that are unlocked by pupils' repeated rich encounters with them. We do not expect younger pupils to have a fully nuanced understanding of a theme like 'Invasion, migration, and settlement' and the substantive concepts that lie behind it. 

What we do expect is that pupils will develop this nuanced understanding as they progress through both the primary and secondary curriculum because they will repeatedly encounter this theme and the relevant substantive concepts. If this does not begin at a young age then pupils' schema will not have developed fully or appropriately.

Our secondary history curriculum

What’s the balance between British, World and mixed history in secondary?

At secondary, we follow the balance as laid out in the national curriculum for KS3, and by the DfE's subject content guidance for history at KS4. This means that there is a strong British core to the curriculum, regularly punctuated and contextualised by units that focus on World history and the connections between the two.

The approach to our history curriculum

Are the sequences taught in a chronological order throughout the age phase? 

On the whole, yes. In KS1 the earliest units start with the changes within living memory before examining changes outside of living memory. Where more than one time period is studied within a unit, these are ordered chronologically. 

At KS2 the sequence is chronological, save for the placement of the local study concerning the Great War in Year 6, which allows teachers to teach this at an appropriate time of year to tie into the theme of remembrance if they wish. We have chosen to include the Benin or Maya unit after pupils' study of Anglo-Saxon and Viking England as we feel it provides the most effective point of contrast with British history at this point. 

At KS3 the sequence is chronological, save for those moments where units focus on events that were concurrent, forcing us to decide their order according to the overall coherence of the curriculum in disciplinary and substantive terms.

How does the curriculum allow for historical enquiry? 

Most of the units at KS2, 3 and 4 are structured to allow for this. They are focused on a guiding enquiry question and the lessons within them are designed to build pupils' disciplinary and substantive knowledge as they progress through the enquiry. These units end with a final lesson that allows pupils to answer the enquiry question using what they have learnt. 

At KS1 historical enquiry is introduced at the lesson level by prompting pupils to ask and answer questions about the history they encounter.

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