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Cockshutt CE Primary School & Nursery

History Policy



History Policy




At Mere’s Edge Federation, we aim to deliver a high-quality history education that enables our learners to gain an understanding of our local heritage, Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Our lessons inspire children’s curiosity to know more about the past. Children, through history, are encouraged to ask perceptive questions, sift arguments, weigh evidence, think critically and develop perspective and judgment. 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.




The National Curriculum for history aims 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.





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 [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]
  • 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 [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]
  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.




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. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.


Pupils should be taught about:

  • changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
  • the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
  • the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
  • a local history study
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.




The school uses a variety of teaching and learning styles in history lessons. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s knowledge, vocabulary, skills and understanding in History. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our History lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We place an emphasis on examining historical artefacts and primary sources. Pupils are also given the opportunity to use maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, aerial photographs, historical footage and the use of ICT. School visits to sites of historical significance are greatly encouraged, as well as visitors coming into school to talk about their experiences of the past. We recognise and value the importance of stories in history teaching and we regard this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past. We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they should always ask searching questions, such as ‘how do we know?’, about information they are given.


At Mere’s Edge Federation, we recognise the fact that we have children of differing ability in all our classes, and we strive to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this through a range of strategies that are differentiated by task, expected outcome and/or support from peers or adults.




We use the national curriculum for history as the basis for our curriculum planning, but we have adapted this to the local context. Local history and heritage studies are at the heart of our history curriculum and we are fortunate to be surrounded by rich history in our locality. Where possible, local heritage is embedded throughout each topic, which enables pupils to focus on a ‘local’ area before moving to the ‘national’ and the ‘global’ scene. Our local history enables pupils to discover the people that lived in their community in the past and how their lives may be similar and different to their own. Pupils can consider how the local area has changed and why, and yet why have certain parts have remained the same. Ultimately, at Mere’s Edge Federation, we want our pupils to feel part of their locality and develop a strong sense of pride in where they live. We also strive to ensure that we have a history curriculum that embraces, celebrates, highlights and foregrounds diversity, so that our pupils can develop a respect and understanding, but also feel represented.


We carry out the curriculum planning in history in two phases: long and medium-term. Our long-term plan identifies the units covered each term over an academic year. Our medium-term plans, give details of each unit of work for each term. The history lead provides assistance to staff during this stage and has created assessment statements for each unit, which are to be used to form the basis of the medium term plans. Teachers use these statements to plan a sequence of history lessons and then, assess their pupils against them at the end of the term. The history subject leader is responsible for keeping and reviewing history planning in line with an agreed Monitoring & Evaluation timetable.


History lessons at Mere’s Edge Federation ensure that children are continually building upon prior knowledge, which enables them to achieve a depth of understanding. In addition to the key knowledge, the subject leader has also mapped out the key concepts and skills that our pupils acquire and develop throughout each unit in a progression document. This planned progression ensures that there’s an increasing challenge for the children as they move up though the school. The subject leader has also created five ‘sticky facts’ and a vocabulary sheet for each unit, which provide staff with the key knowledge and historical language that our children need to know, and retain in their long-term memory. These are presented to the children in the form of a knowledge organiser and are continually referred to during the unit of work.



We teach history in EYFS as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. We relate the historical aspects to the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals, which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. History makes a significant contribution to the ELG objectives of developing a child’s understanding of the world. Through playing, exploring and active learning, our pupils are continually provided with rich historical opportunities. As a result, pupils are able to make sense of their own life-story and family’s history, explore the past through settings, characters and events in stories, and also, talk about the lives of people around them and familiar situations that have occurred in the past.



The content and positioning of history units is designed to develop a coherent and progressive

history curriculum which supports quality teaching and learning. Links are only made with other

subjects where they can meaningfully and significantly contribute to the teaching of those areas.


Possible opportunities include:


English - 

History actively promotes the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some

of the texts used within Pathways to Write are set in a historical context that brings the periods to life

e.g. Escape to Pompeii, Stone Age Boy.


Maths - 

History teaching contributes to the teaching of mathematics in a variety of ways. Children learn to use numbers when developing a sense of chronology through doing activities such as timelines. Children learn to interpret information presented in graphical or diagrammatic form, for example Roman numerals are taught in history as well as maths.


Computing - 

Children use ICT in history to enhance their skills in data handling and researching information (e.g. census data; old photos and maps) using the internet.


PSHE and Citizenship -

History contributes significantly to the teaching of personal, social, citizenship and health education including British Values. Children develop self-confidence by having opportunities to explain their views on a number of social questions such as how society should respond to poverty and homelessness. They discover how to be active citizens in a democratic society by learning how laws are made and changed. They learn how to recognise and challenge stereotypes and to appreciate that racism is a harmful aspect of society. They learn how society is made up of people from different cultures and start to develop tolerance and respect for others.


Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development -

When teaching history, we contribute to the children’s spiritual development where possible for example, providing children with the opportunity to discuss moral questions, or what is right and wrong, when studying topics such as child labour in Victorian Britain. The history programme of study also enables children to understand that Britain’s rich cultural heritage can be further enriched by the multi-cultural British society of today.


Outdoor Learning -

We use our rural setting to enhance our curriculum where possible. Engaging pupils in outdoor learning brings the curriculum to life in meaningful ways.




We teach history to all children whatever their ability. History forms part of the school’s curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. We provide learning opportunities matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties and we take into account the targets set in the children’s PDR plans (Plan, Do, Review).




At Mere’s Edge Federation, assessment is an integral part of the teaching process. Assessment is used to inform planning and to facilitate differentiation. The assessment of children’s work is on-going to ensure that understanding is being achieved and that progress is being made. Feedback is given to the children as soon as possible, and marking work is guided by the federation’s marking policy. Attainment is assessed summatively at the end of each unit of work against a set of statements produced by the subject leader. A child’s outcome will be emerging, expected or exceeding. This information is logged on our DCPro Pupil Tracking system and forms part of the annual report to parents.




The monitoring of the standards of children’s work and of the quality of teaching in History is the responsibility of the History leader. The work of the subject lead also involves supporting colleagues in the teaching of History, being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The History subject lead undertakes an annual review of the History curriculum with the head teacher. This results in the production of actions, which aim to further improve the quality of the History curriculum. A small amount of directed time has been allocated to enable the curriculum lead to review evidence of the children’s work, and to undertake observations of History teaching and outcomes across the school.  The link governor for history and heritage will be used to support curriculum review and feedback to Governors.