History Curriculum at Moulton Primary School

At Moulton Primary School we have chosen to follow the CUSP curriculum. The History curriculum draws upon prior learning, wherever the content is taught. For example, in EYFS, pupils may learn about the past and present through daily activities, exploring through change, and understanding more about the lives of others through books and visitors as well as their own experiences. These experiences are drawn upon and used to position new learning in KS1.

The structure is built around the principles of advancing cumulative knowledge, chronology, change through cause and consequence, as well as making connections within and throughout periods of time studied.

History is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect with significant periods of time, people, places and events. The History curriculum strategically incorporates a range of modules that revisit, elaborate and sophisticate key concepts, events, people and places.

A guiding principle of our History curriculum is that pupils become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental timeline. This guards against superficial, disconnected and fragmented understanding of the past. Specific and associated historical vocabulary is planned sequentially and cumulatively from Year 1 to Year 6. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught alongside and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3).


History is a foundation subject at Moulton Primary School. Our intention is that History teaching:

  • Inspires children to experience awe and wonder. It stimulates curiosity, creativity and innovation.
  • Gives children the chance to learn through evidence based lessons and gain an understanding of the history of our world on a local, national and global level.
  • It stimulates curiosity and thinking critically, encouraging future generations to not only study History at secondary school, but also potentially to follow it as a career.
  • Is planned and sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and is aimed towards clearly defined, ambitious outcomes e.g. understanding a coherent, chronological narrative of Britain.
  • Addresses any gaps in children’s prior knowledge and skills (chronology and abstract terms such as ‘empire’) so that all children can enjoy and achieve in History, regardless of any disadvantage or SEND.

Intentions translated into Classroom Implementation:

History Knowledge and Skills:

Teachers at Moulton Primary School follow the National Curriculum for History, which builds skills and knowledge over time in a logical progression, systematically and explicitly so that all pupils acquire the intended knowledge and skills

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

In the EYFS, History is included within the Early Learning Goals of Past and Present and People, Culture and Communities. Our children mainly learn about History through exploring about themselves and their community.

Key Stage 1

The sequence in KS1 focuses on young children developing a sense of time, place and change. It begins with children studying Changes within living memory to develop an understanding of difference over time within concrete experiences of their lives. This chronological knowledge is foundational to the understanding of change over time.

Pupils study the Lives of significant individuals, focusing on David Attenborough and Mary Anning. Chronology and place in time steers the understanding of the context in which these significant individuals lived. Terms such as legacy are introduced and used within the context of each study. In KS1, pupils study local history by learning about Walter Tull and the impact he had on Northampton and the wider world.

Events beyond their living memory. Here, pupils draw upon early concepts of chronology and connect it to more abstract, but known, events in the past focusing on the Great Fire of London.

Lower Key Stage 2

In lower KS2, pupils study the cultural and technological advances made by our ancestors as well as understanding how historians think Britain changed throughout the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. Archaeological history guides us to know how early humans were creative, innovative and expert at surviving in changeable environments. Having an in-depth understanding of Iron Age Britain offers solid foundations for the study of how Rome influenced Britain. This foundational knowledge is built upon and used to support long-term retrieval to contrast culture and technology. Pupils are able to draw upon prior understanding to support and position new knowledge, therefore constructing much more stable long-term memories. Abstract concepts such as invasion, law, civilisation and society are developed through explicit vocabulary instruction.

Studies of how Britain was settled by Anglo-Saxons and Scots gives a focus on cultural change and the influence of Christianity. Pupils study how powerful kings and their beliefs shaped the Heptarchy of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

It will also focus on the Struggle for throne of England through a study of the Vikings, their origins, conquests and agreements with English Anglo-Saxon kings to settle and dwell in the region known as Danelaw.

Upper Key Stage 2

Later in KS2, knowledge of Anglo-Saxons is revisited and used to connect with a study of the Maya civilisation. The study compares advancement of the Maya culture and innovation to that of the Anglo-Saxons around c.AD 900. Here, location, settlement, people, culture and invention are compared and contrasted.

Pupils also study Significant monarchs after 1066. Five kings and queens are a focus of a depth study and comparison, drawing on their beliefs, actions and understanding their legacy. This chronological study revisits known periods of time and introduces new content and monarchs. Ancient history, such as the achievements of the earliest civilisations - Ancient Egyptians and the study of Ancient Greek life and achievements are also studied learning about their influence on the western world. The understanding of culture, people and places are central to these studies. The History curriculum connects these studies with prior knowledge of what was happening in Britain at the same time. The effect of this is to deepen and connect a broader understanding of culture, people, places and events through comparison.

Recent history, such as the Battle of Britain for example, is studied in the context of how conflict changed society in the Second World War. Modern history is also studied through units such as the Windrush Generation. Knowing about slavery, Caribbean culture and the injustice of the past enlightens pupils to understand why events happened and how these pioneers faced racism, discrimination and prejudice.

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