Rational / Vision

Founded in hope St. Mary’s CE (VA) Primary School is a place where all can find their voice, grow in wisdom and live well in community and service.

The History curriculum at St. Mary’s provides a strong opportunity to deliver our school’s Christian vision.

We believe that hope gives us optimism for a better future.

Finding our voice –Oracy is an intrinsic part of History lessons and through the wide range of opportunities given to debate and discuss, History allows children to develop the skills to communicate effectively with the world around them. Through the sharing and valuing of their opinions they grow in self-confidence, self-esteem and emotional wellbeing.

Living in community and service – Through learning about the local history of the Wakefield area, the History curriculum develops knowledge and understanding which allows our community to grow in our understanding of the shared history of the place we live, valuing our self and others locally now and in the past. Through learning about both British and World history children develop a sense of their own history and cultural heritage. Through a strong relationship with Wakefield Museum, History to Life and the West Yorkshire History Centre our sense of community is deepened.

Grow in wisdom – History facilitates a deep and broad understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world we live in so that we can best develop the knowledge, understanding and respect required for us to be able to understand the complexities of people’s lives and how processes of change have affected societies and relationships.


In accordance with the National Curriculum for History, our approach to teaching and learning within the subject allows staff and children to explore the core historical concepts in a coherent way. These historical concepts are central to the History subject knowledge map as the conceptual pillars which outline learning outcomes in a progressive way from EYFS to Year 6. The conceptual pillars are:

  • Chronology knowledge and understanding
  • Cause and consequence
  • Continuity and change in and between periods
  • Similarity/difference within a period
  • Significance of events/people
  • Historical enquiry

Each year group plans developments in these conceptual pillars through their class units of work which are evident on the subject knowledge map.

Subject Provision

  • At St. Mary’s we adopt a creative approach to planning learning opportunities. We actively promote our children as Historians. We place a high priority on developing and valuing children’s oral contributions so that they can discuss, debate, question and think critically. Teaching and learning incorporates a wide variety of creative approaches including enquiry, drama, discussion, debate, art, music, and story.
  • Class books are used as the main evidence base for History. The main source of evidence is pupil voice. Other evidence includes photographs which capture historical enquiry, artefact handling and visits. Class books are annotated by class teachers to link evidence to the conceptual pillars. Individual pupil books are used to capture historical enquiry and application in extended end of unit pieces of work in response to the unit’s big question. Photographs and video are used to capture and evidence of learning through first hand experiences, oracy and drama.
  • Giving pupils a wide range of opportunities for first hand experiences is central to the History curriculum. Teachers have access to an up to date list of contacts for first hand opportunities linked to each year group’s topics on the subject knowledge map to enable children to learn through visits and visitors. One first hand experience (visit or visitor) must be planned for each History topic.
  • Careful thought is given to the learning environment for History. A working wall with timeline and key vocabulary for the current History topic is present in each classroom. Learning is progressively added to the working throughout the class’s enquiry. In the hall, a large scale time line is available and used as a key learning tool. Classes teach the chronology linked to their unit of work using this resource.
  • Currently teachers evaluate the learning outcomes achieved within lessons by making professional judgements based on the evidence from within lessons (oral and practical), the class book and children’s individual books. Teachers use these judgements to inform their feedback to children (prioritising oral feedback within lessons wherever possible) and future planning. Subject leaders monitor coverage of the conceptual pillars through conversations with teaching staff, book scrutiny and pupil voice.

Next steps within the subject are to develop a more formal method of assessment where children’s learning will be assessed against the conceptual pillars within each unit of work. Children will be assessed taking into consideration their broad range of evidence to determine a ‘best fit’ judgement of working at, below or above age related expectations within each conceptual pillar. A trial of this is currently being carried out by the subject leaders.


History units of work are delivered in discrete blocks of time between Geography and Science units. A History unit can be covered over a period of lessons across of block of weeks.


In following the History curriculum, our expectation is that all pupils are History literate and as a minimum pupils are able to:

  • talk chronologically about the periods of time studied and the connections between then, making sense of the passage of time from the earliest times to the present day.
  • communicate in a range of ways to show their knowledge and understanding of significant aspects of British history and that of the wider world.
  • use a wide, varied range of historical terms and vocabulary in context.
  • show skills of analysis, interpretation and problem solving to show understanding of the historical concepts covered within the subject knowledge map.
  • question and research to carry out historical enquiry using a range of sources.
  • make links and connections within and between themes in the periods studied and their lives in the world today.

By following our History curriculum a child will be able to:

  • talk and enquire as a historian.
  • know and understand British history as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day and how people’s lives have shaped Britain and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
  • know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world and the characteristic features of past non-European societies.
  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms.
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance.
  • use understanding of historical concepts to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions and create their own structured accounts.
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry and 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 connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short and long term timescales.