1. Learning & Support
  2. Curriculum
  3. History


At St Mary’s Primary School, we aim to provide a curriculum that is: cross-curricular; rich in ‘real-world’ learning experiences; provides progression; develops the whole child; is broad, balanced and engaging; and reflects the distinctiveness of our school.

Our history curriculum fulfils these aims, whilst aligning with the requirements of the National Curriculum (2013).

The knowledge and skills to be acquired over Key Stages One and Two are:

  • To help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
  • To inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.
  • To equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
  • To help pupils to 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 the challenges of their time.

We aim 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.

In Key Stage One, pupils should:

  • Develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time.
  • 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.
  • Use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms.
  • Ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events.
  • Understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

This is organised within this structure:


Year 1

Year 2

Changes within living memory

Can identify people, practices or articles (such as parents, favourite toys) that have changed in one’s own memory and consider why that change has occurred.

Can pinpoint significant personal, social or national events that have happened within one’s own memory (such as Olympic Games, elections) and why they have been important

Events beyond living memory

Can describe a famous event that happened before one’s own time, know when it happened and say why it was important

Can construct an historical timeline and knows what life was like in one or two different periods

Significant individuals

Can name a handful of famous men and women, say when they lived and what they did that was important

Can describe a linked group of significant people and what they contributed to their field e.g. monarchs, explorers, inventors

Local history

Can name a significant local person (place or event) and why it/he/she is considered important

Can describe a significant local place (person or event) and why it/he/she is considered important


In Key Stage Two, 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.
  • Note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms.
  • Regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.
  • Construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.
  • Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

This is developed within these areas:



British history

Stone age to iron age

Can describe what life was like during this period, how the discovery of metals changed it, and knows what kind of evidence survives

The Roman Empire & its impact on Britain

Understands why the Romans invaded Britain, can identify some of the benefits they brought, and knows what kind of evidence survives

Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots Understands where, when and why settlers arrived in England after the Roman Empire collapsed and how they influenced and adapted to British life

The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggles for the kingdom of England

Can explain the sequence of events caused by Viking invasions, English resistance and how the Anglo Saxons finally gained power in England


A local history study

Can describe a significant local event or period (person, group or event) and explain why it/he/she is considered important

Can describe how the locality has changed over time e.g. from village to town to city; from agricultural to industrial

Recognises evidence of the past in the local environment

Can explain how a national event affected the locality e.g. socially, economically

An aspect or theme in British history that extends beyond 1066

Can trace the development of a simple object or commonplace activity over time, showing how it changed and why.

Can trace the development of a more complex subject over time, such as a family or an occupation, showing how it changed and why

Can describe a turning point or a change in British history, explain what happened, why it happened and why it turned out to be important

Can explain why a turning point or change occurred, recognising the forces that supported and held it back, understanding why it reached the conclusion it did, and what its consequences were


Earliest civilisations

Can describe the achievements of the earliest civilisations, and the lives of people in Ancient Egypt

Can describe the achievements, society and everyday life of the ancient Greeks and how they have influenced the western world

Recognises similarities and differences between  British and Islamic, Mayan or Benin societies around 900AD