St Joseph'sCatholic Primary School


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Subject Leader: Mrs Hunt

Governor Lead:




'Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.'

                                                                                                                                                              Deuteronomy 32:7


'All of us benefit from remembering our past. A people which remembers does not repeat past errors; instead, it looks with confidence to the challenges of the present and the future.'

                                                                                                                                                                 Pope Francis 





Our intent at St Joseph's is that our History curriculum will help pupils to augment their cultural literacy and gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.


We aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity about the past; teaching them to ask questions, think critically, understand, use and reflect on first hand and secondary evidence and develop an appreciation of where their lives fit in into the past as well as the future.


We teach children to understand the complexity of people’s lives in the past, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups.




    The 2014 National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all children:

    • Gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world which helps to stimulate children’s curiosity to know more about the past.
    • Children should learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
    • To begin 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.


    History is factual knowledge of the past - key events, place, people etc - and includes two types - ‘generative knowledge’ and ‘fingertip knowledge’:


    Generative knowledge is the essential, underpinning, in-depth knowledge of a topic or time period that supports further historical learning and thus supports pupils to generate more knowledge. Generative knowledge can be categorised into ‘substantive concepts (such as invasion, empire, settlement, social history, crime and punishment, communication and invention) and abstract concepts such as chronological knowledge (knowledge relating to broader developments and the features of historical periods).


    Substantive Concepts are concepts concerned with the subject matter of history, such as rights, peace, invasion, trade, war, empire and monarchy. They are embedded throughout the curriculum so that each one is planned to be encountered multiple times throughout the curriculum. Substantive concepts are best understood with repeated encounters in specific, meaningful contexts, rather than being taught in an abstract way. Substantive concepts are classed as generative knowledge because they support the learning of new material. For example, understanding the concept of invasion from an earlier topic supports understanding of the next topic which involves invasion. Chronological knowledge is also generative knowledge. This is the specific knowledge of the broad characteristics of historical periods and supports pupils to build coherent schema for particular topics.


    Fingertip knowledge is the knowledge of the key facts and dates which pupils need in their minds, or at their fingertips, whilst undertaking historical enquiries, without which they would be incapable of constructing answers. Without essential fingertip knowledge, working memory is overloaded when undertaking enquiries. Fingertip knowledge must be taught and pupils must retain it during their enquiry. However, gaining this type of knowledge is not the ultimate long term aim of the primary classroom, and it may not be needed beyond the current topic.


    Disciplinary Knowledge and Historical Enquiry

    Disciplinary knowledge is knowledge about how historians investigate the past, and how they construct historical claims, arguments and accounts - i.e. it is the knowledge of how to undertake a historical enquiry. Pupils learn disciplinary knowledge within relevant historical contexts (i.e. the substantive topics such as Ancient Greece) - through application to substantive knowledge. They answer key questions and this enables them to place their historical knowledge in a broad context. It helps pupils to understand the different version of the past can be constructed, and that historical narrative is partially dependent upon viewpoint.


    Disciplinary knowledge is concerned with developing historical rational and critical thinking within enquiry, and can be categorised into 7 Disciplinary concepts that are systematically developed in our history curriculum:

    • Historical Enquiry - asking questions, using sources and evidence to construct and challenge the past, and communicating ideas

    • Cause - selecting and combining information that might be deemed a cause and shaping it into a coherent causal explanation

    • Consequence - understanding the relationship between an event and other future events.

    • Change and continuity - analysing the pace, nature and extent of change.

    • Similarity and difference - analysing the extent and type of difference between people, groups, experiences or places in the same historical period.

    • Historical significance - understanding how and why historical events, trends and individuals are thought of as being important. • Historical interpretations - understanding how and why different accounts of the past are constructed


    At St Joseph’s, these skills are embedded within history lessons and developed throughout their journey of the history curriculum. By the end of their primary education, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from Stone Age to present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this is the need to look at world history such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Mayans. The content and principles underpinning the history curriculum are taken from the 2014 National Curriculum. We use the National Curriculum Programmes of study to guide us on the content and focus of each objective to create exciting and engaging topics. These units are enriched by cross curriculum work when appropriate. Children learn through enquiry based learning opportunities to gain a greater understanding of our local area.


    Teaching historical terminology is an important element of our history curriculum. Alongside this, we use artefacts to develop historical understanding and encourage the application of their vocabulary. Handling artefacts gives them the opportunity to engage with all their senses and invites discovery based learning and enquiry. Children are encouraged to articulate and develop their independent analytical thinking, particularly when studying historical evidence. Throughout our history curriculum, children are encouraged to work collaboratively. Peer talk is used to support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views. Debates and discussions are actively encouraged to evaluate the past by formulating / refining questions and lines of enquiry, all of which reinforces and develops speaking and listening skills, which underpins our English curriculum.  


    Cross-curricular learning offers a creative way to develop children's knowledge, skills and understanding within History while motivating them to learn through stimulating, interconnected topics.  However, it is always explicit to the children that they are learning history skills and we encourage them to think like ‘Historians.’ As history is above all the study of the human condition, it provides us with endless opportunities for fostering children's personal development. 


    History is taught every week every other term. History lessons focus on developing historical skills and children working as historians. Children are exposed to real life historical experiences and learn about history in an active and creative way. We want children to experience history wherever possible through visits, visitors and trips. We visit our local museums as well as travel by coach to other historical places of interest around Kent.


    The planning of history combines the progression of skills and knowledge throughout the school along with enrichment opportunities in which to apply that learning.


    Outcomes in books and evidence from pupil voice will demonstrate a broad and balanced history curriculum, showing children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge and skills.


    The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.


    At St Joseph’s we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking which helps children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world and fires children’s curiosity to know more about the past. Through this study children learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.



    Equal Opportunities:

    We plan our classroom activities to challenge and involve all pupils appropriately, according to age and capability, ethnic diversity, gender and language background

    • We are aware of different learning styles and the need to allow pupils to be able to work in their preferred learning styles for some of the time
    • We use materials for teaching which avoid stereo-typing, and bias, towards race, gender, role or disability
    • We deal with such issues clearly and sensitively when they arise


    At our school we teach history to all children, whatever their ability. History forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our history teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We do this by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s different needs. Assessment against the National Curriculum allows us to consider each child’s attainment and progress against

    expected levels. We use a range of strategies to support pupils. A few of these, particularly relevant to History are:

    • The use of appropriate vocabulary at varying levels of difficulty during lessons
    • Modified text passages as expected in other curriculum areas
    • Different levels of written or oral questions for pupils investigating photographic or other visual material
    • Careful use of support for pupils with English as an additional language

    For our gifted and talented pupils, we will expect:

    • Teachers to provide teaching and learning experiences that encourage pupils to think creatively, explore and develop ideas, and try different approaches. Pupils should be encouraged to set their own questions, offer ideas, suggest solutions or explanations, and reflect on what they have heard, seen or done in order to clarify their thoughts.
    • Greater independence in working, e.g. a pupil to be able to carry out their own simple historical enquiry.
    • Provide real-life research and presentation opportunities, for example carrying out interviews with local people and collating the results.
    • Avoid giving gifted pupils additional writing tasks and encourage them instead to communicate their understanding in a variety of ways, giving them responsibility for choosing and evaluating the most appropriate method.
    • Provide opportunities within history for pupils to develop their skills in other areas, such as intrapersonal skills (for example, opportunities to use initiative), and interpersonal skills (for example, leadership and group membership). These opportunities also relate to the key skills of working with others and improving own learning and performance.


    Skills Progression

    At St Joseph's the children's learning is assessed using the skills progression tool on Cornerstones where we are able to individually track the children's personal progression. 



    At St Joseph's history is taught via our Cornerstones curriculum with terms 1,3 and 5 having a specific history focus. Please see our plans in our curriculum section and class pages for more specific information