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History at CKIS

Our vision for history at CKIS

At Charlton Kings Infants’ School, we want to inspire our children to be curious about the past. We want them to ask questions, explore evidence, think critically and develop their own perspective and judgements. We believe that reflecting on our past as a human race enables us to learn from the successes and mistakes of our ancestors resulting in improvements as time goes on. History helps 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. 

Purpose and aims of history (Intent statement)

Our curriculum provides a broad range of experiences for our pupils: our pupils’ backgrounds, our culture and our climate for learning provide the following drivers that underpin ALL areas of our history curriculum:

Learning to Learn - which helps pupils to concentrate and focus and build resilience as learners

In history, children will study the lives of significant individuals in the past that have contributed to national and international achievements. Through doing so, they will see how many of these individuals had to demonstrate resilience, empathy, self-awareness, passion, excellence, communication and sometimes teamwork in order to reach their goals. As a result of seeing these learning behaviours in adults who have made significant contributions to the world, children will begin to understand how vital these skills are for life. Through the disciplinary knowledge required to be a good historian, children will develop many skills including asking questions, exploring and comparing evidence, describing change and thinking critically; these skills are applicable to many other areas of life and will stand children in good stead for their futures.

Culture and Diversity - which helps pupils to develop enquiring minds about the wider world

Through studying history, pupils will begin to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and the diversity of societies. They will see how people may have believed one thing 100 years ago but that beliefs aren’t always fixed and that these beliefs can change for the better over time (e.g. through studying Eugenie Clark or Bessie Coleman and the challenges they faced in achieving success in their chosen field, children will be encouraged to consider how women or people of colour were oppressed in those times and how this has now changed in many parts of the world).

Environment and Community - which helps to instil in our pupils a respect for our environment and for our local and wider communities

Children will be encouraged to think critically and consider the wider environmental and local impact of the changes and historical events they study (e.g. the invention of the aeroplane or the impact of the Great Fire of London on the people affected) They will have the opportunity to study the effects of pollution on our oceans through studying the lives of significant ocean explorers and seaside resorts. They will be encouraged to think about how things change over time and why, linking this to how they might contribute to improving things for the future. At CKIS, we endeavour to invite members of the local community into school as much as possible and wherever this is relevant to our learning.

Creative Arts and Physical Development - which helps our pupils to express themselves and excel as holistic learners

Children are encouraged to present their learning in a wide variety of ways including painting, drawing and making models among other things.

We offer a thoughtful range of experiences that support our culture: pupils enjoy a ‘full spectrum’ of academic, physical, spiritual, moral, social, cultural activities that enrich their lives. We aim to ensure that all children have the confidence and skills to develop as resilient life-long learners.


Our curriculum has been developed over time through:

  • Analysing the strengths and weakness of our previous curriculum
  • Considering how the National Curriculum aims and the Early Years Goals are being met across the school
  • Accessing subject specific CPD and network meetings and using this to inform our curriculum design


We aim for all pupils to:

  • Gain a thorough substantive knowledge base in history (see termly schemes of work) and the ability to recall knowledge accurately
  • Develop their disciplinary knowledge and skills in history (see termly schemes of work) in order to become good historians
  • Understand relevant subject specific vocabulary and use it independently within their learning
  • Be inspired by the range of significant individuals and historical events that they study
  • Understand that the world is always changing and that there are usually reasons for these changes
  • Compare life in the past with their lives now
  • Ask and answer questions
  • Understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identifying different ways in which it is represented
  • Know where people and events fit within a chronological timeline

The teaching of history at CKIS (Implementation)

AT CKIS every child is recognised as a unique individual. We celebrate and welcome differences within our diverse school community, encouraging all to grow and flourish. Learning is centred around experiencing the joy of discovery.

The ability to learn is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values, with a vision to prepare our children to be life-long learners, rooted in our school motto: The wings to fly, the confidence to try!

The history curriculum is carefully and coherently sequenced to enable our children to develop their growing knowledge and skills.

Pupils’ knowledge builds towards clearly defined end points, so everyone knows what we expect our pupils to achieve by the end of each topic, each year and each key stage.

At CKIS, we have documents called ‘Learning Leaves’ on our school website; the purpose of these is to share with parents/carers what we will be learning about in each subject over each term. As well as stating the key knowledge we will be teaching the children, the ‘Learning Leaves’ also feature key vocabulary and definitions, as well as further learning opportunities.

In addition, we have developed our own schemes of work which outline the specific knowledge that we expect our children to know and understand by the end of each term in every year group. The key learning is devised from the National Curriculum and the Early Years Framework as well as any additional learning that we believe is essential for our children. This learning is separated into substantive knowledge which details the subject specific knowledge we want children to know by the end of the unit of work (e.g. who the Wright brothers were and what they are known for) and disciplinary knowledge which relates to the skills required to be successful in that subject domain (e.g. handling evidence to find out about the Wright brothers).

With the support of the subject leads, the year group teams create medium term plans from the schemes of work. Staff build upon the prior learning when putting together lesson by lesson plans, with each unit starting with a ‘lesson 0’ to elicit and assess prior knowledge. The medium term plans are working documents that are adapted to cater to individual and cohort needs.

History in our Foundation Stage is covered in the ‘Understanding the World’ area of the EYFS Curriculum.  It is introduced indirectly through activities that encourage every child to explore, compare, observe, think, make decisions, and talk about the world around them. There are also short whole class taught inputs relating to some of the historical knowledge that we want children to develop.

During their first years at school, our children will be encouraged to talk about past and present events in their own life and in the lives of family members. They will reflect upon some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class; exploring the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books and storytelling will help aid children’s understanding. They will think and talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society. They will discuss similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities, cultures and traditions when learning about the past. Children will be encouraged to explore and be inquisitive about the artefacts and historical sources they encounter and compare them to the things they use/see today. They will be encouraged to develop an enquiring mind; always asking questions and seeking to find things out.

History in KS1 is introduced directly through a whole class teach. Some lessons are followed by the children completing an expected outcome to demonstrate their understanding. In provision there are a variety of activities that encourage every child to explore, demonstrate and apply their historical knowledge and skills.

The National Curriculum for history details the areas in which children’s learning should focus in KS1 and states that:

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.
  • 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.
  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

We ensure that our children are ready for the KS2 curriculum by learning about key historical events and people as suggested above. We focus on children having a sound understanding of the skills needed to be good historians; for example, cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity and difference, handling evidence, historical interpretations, historical significance and chronology. It is through developing this key disciplinary knowledge that they will be ready to tackle the various historical studies that they will encounter in KS2. We also conduct regular meetings with the subject leaders at Charlton Kings Junior School. This ensures we have a clear understanding of the progression in art from KS1 to KS2.

Gaining a secure understanding of historical vocabulary is essential for the children to become excellent historians. Using inspirational texts to engage our children in their history learning is really important to us. The table below shows the different vocabulary we want children in each year group to develop confidence with along with some of the key texts that may be used in each year group.

Key vocabulary and texts for each year group

Year Group


Key Texts

Related to disciplinary  knowledge

Related to substantive knowledge













Neil Armstrong Explorer

North Pole

South Pole

Edward Wilson

Roald Amundsen

Ranulph Fiennes






Year 1




Before now

A long time ago





Chronological order






Natural light

Light source


Darkness light

Light bulb





Orville and Wilbur Wright

Amelia Earhart

Bessie Coleman

Captain James Cook

Jacques Cousteau

Eugenie Clark






Year 2










Chronological order









St Paul’s cathedral



Tudors and Stuarts

Charlton kings




Spa town


Valentina Tereshkova

Sally Ride

Helen Sharman

Mae Jemison

Tim Peake



Bathing machine



Punch and Judy

Mary Anning







Demonstrating learning

In history, pupils demonstrate their learning in a variety of different ways using skills they have learnt across the curriculum.

Pupils demonstrate their understanding through enrichment tasks in the continuous provision that are observed and can be recorded in a number of ways. Children usually display work demonstrating expected outcomes as listed on the medium term plans in special presentation books referred to as ‘special books’. An online learning platform called ‘Seesaw’ is also used to upload pictures and/or videos of practical enrichment activities accessed independently in provision. Children may also lead their own learning through their play in the continuous provision and evidence of this may be uploaded to Seesaw as well. For example, they may choose to act out/role play a key historical event they’ve learnt about or compose a piece of music that represents an event or person. Children might also verbally explain their historical understanding by adding a voice note to the upload or a teacher may put a written caption on to accompany the photo/video. There may also be history learning demonstrated through other areas of the curriculum. For example, in English children may explore a text related to a key historical event or person they’ve been learning about and then complete some writing inspired by this. This can provide opportunities for them to fully embed their history learning.

Teachers carefully plan and monitor progress and adapt medium term plans to include key questions and checkpoints for children to demonstrate understanding in age-appropriate ways.

Meeting the needs of all pupils (inclusion)

Our school supports the principle that young children learn through play, and through well planned structured opportunities that are relevant, engaging and promote deep level thinking and learning.

Teaching through both a rich continuous provision, paired work, small group and whole class learning opportunities skilfully builds upon the experiences of the child and promotes their next steps as a learner.

Teachers and Teaching Partners competently provide a balance of structured cross curricular learning activities and child-initiated opportunities through high quality indoor and outdoor learning environments.

In this way we aim to ensure that children are actively involved in their learning and deepen their knowledge, skills and understanding becoming masters of their learning as:


• Problem solvers

• Resilient learners

• Collaborative thinkers

• Inspired questioners


All pupils are entitled to a broad and balanced curriculum that meets their needs.

History is taught in class groups, and accessible in our provision with all pupils included. All our teachers know the pupils in their class and their differing needs well. They plan and adapt lessons to help all pupils know and remember more so they make very good progress.

Some pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities, or those with English an as additional language, may need extra support to access, understand and remember key concepts.

For these pupils, teachers use a range of effective strategies, whilst promoting independent learning as far as possible. These may include:

● adapting and scaffolding pupil activities and resources

● focussed additional support from an adult in class

● extra pre learning or overlearning of key knowledge before or after the lesson


Some pupils very quickly grasp the main concepts being taught and are able to think more deeply to extend their learning. To ensure they reach their full potential, teachers may:


● set more complex activities that require thinking at greater depth

● ask pupils to apply their knowledge to a different situation

● go further by asking them to explain their thinking to others or present their findings to a group

Assessment (Impact)

Formative Assessment

At CKIS teachers constantly assess how far their pupils understand key concepts throughout lessons, mainly through questioning and observation. Quizzes and other games are regularly used to assess how far pupils have remembered learning from the lessons before. Teachers then adapt their teaching to ensure misconceptions or gaps in knowledge are addressed. In addition, they may need to introduce opportunities for more challenge or deeper thinking. Regular reviews of the medium term plans take place to ensure that they are setting the correct level of challenge and opportunities for our children.

End of unit Assessment

Key assessment criteria are written into our school curriculum and medium-term plans.

Assessments of children's learning are made through observations, classwork and things shared as evidence on Seesaw. These assessments contribute to a summative judgement at the end of each term against the history statements supplied by the history lead and found on INSIGHT.

Teachers and subject leads monitor children’s progress and attainment throughout the year to inform ongoing teaching and learning.

This is carried out through book looks, observations and using the data on INSIGHT. Teachers and subject leads ensure that they assess a balance of the disciplinary and substantive knowledge outlined in each term’s Schemes of Work.

Reporting to families and statutory assessment

The children’s progress across the curriculum is shared with families during parents’ evening appointments and their learning is shared through observations on Seesaw throughout the year. At the end of every year, families receive a report which comments on the children’s strengths across the curriculum and areas for improvement. The teachers make judgements for each child’s attainment and progress in every subject which is included in the report.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The subject leader for history monitors the quality of education regularly in accordance with the school’s monitoring timetable. This may take the form of:

 ● learning walks and drop ins, usually with a member of the senior leadership team and sometimes with a governor

● book looks. The subject leader looks at a range of books or other evidence across the school, sometimes with senior leaders or an adviser or governor

● scrutiny of planning, particularly to evaluate coverage and progression within the curriculum as well as the extent to which planning is catering for the range of needs of pupils

● pupil conferencing

● surveys for pupils and/ or staff

● lesson observations

Subject leaders have regular support from the senior leadership team where aspects of the subject policy and action plan are monitored and discussed. Action plans are reviewed and shared with the staff three times a year to ensure all staff are aware of key actions.

Resulting actions may emerge with additional leadership support, resources or policy changes implemented.

Subject leaders routinely have a teacher appraisal objective linked to an aspect of their subject leadership. Following all these activities, strengths and areas for development are reported and discussed with staff. Resulting actions are recorded on the subject action plan and reported to governors.

At the end of each year the action plan for history is fully evaluated. In addition, the subject leader evaluates how far history is meeting our curriculum intent statement. This evaluation feeds into the action plan for the following year. Evaluated action plans and evaluations are reported to the senior leadership team and governors

The role of the governors

Every subject has a specific governor allocated to it. The governor for history is Charlie Clover.

This governor evaluates the activities within this aspect and the impact on the quality of education and pupil outcomes.

They meet with subject leaders and review aspects of the subject, including seeing lessons in practice and talking to children.

Their findings are reported to the Governing Board. In this way, leaders are held accountable for the aspects they are responsible for, and subject leaders are able to access the appropriate support and resources to achieve their aims.