How each unit/topic works

Each topic also begins with a ‘wondrous moment’ to get the children interested and this may be a trip/visit in/artefact/immersive audio experience/use of virtual reality or other.

Each unit plans for ‘now knowledge’ (people, events, situations, developments, chronology, characteristic features, historical terms) linked to a particular period. As children move through year groups, this also reinforces knowledge from earlier learning where it can, to strengthen ‘hereafter knowledge’ (our instinctive layer of historical knowledge that all new historical learning will become embedded within).

Each unit of learning focuses on understanding of key concepts (usually two or more) and the key question of each unit/topic determines and reflects these.

At the end of each unit, children of all ages are required to organise and communicate their findings so their learning gains coherence. Sometimes children will be given help to communicate clearly but sometimes they will use their understanding of the history to help them decide how to organise and present their ideas most effectively (in upper KS2).

Historical skills are embedded throughout the unit as historical (and geographical) knowledge is learnt and built upon. For example, knowledge of Africa is studied in year 2’s ‘Near and Far’ topic and this is revisited in year 6 as children study the ‘Lost Kingdom’ topic which includes the Kingdom of Benin and the transatlantic slave trade.

Historical Knowledge:

  • Chronological knowledge/understanding – dates, time-lines and sequencing events.
  • Characteristic features including people and places – how we recognise the defining features of a period or event through physical features, such as dress/costume, architecture, transport, agriculture, trade and the ideas that shape the period.
  • Historical terms.

Historical Concepts:

  • Continuity and change – similarities and differences within times as well as across periods.
  • Cause and consequence – why things happened and the effect that these events then provoked (the ripple through time).
  • Similarity and difference (diversity) – within a period/situation, between historical periods and over time.
  • Historical significance – of events/people.
  • Historical evidence (and contestability) – how do we know about the past and can we rely on these sources?.
  • Chronology* - understanding how time-lines and sequences can be traced back to each other

*Please note that chronology is classified as both a concept and form of substantive knowledge.

Historical Skills:

  • Historical enquiry – history is all about investigation and questions from both children and teachers.
  • Using evidence/interpretations of history – sources of evidence including primary where appropriate and layering of sources as well as an awareness that there can be different versions of the same event and that history is about fact, bias and point of view. Making historical inferences based on different source material.
  • Evaluation – selecting and combining information, and investigating for bias. Analysis and identifying what is significant.
  • Understanding that our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
  • Organising and communicating ideas – historical understanding can be shown through images, discussion, debate, diagrams, tables, drama, dance, written tasks and presentations.