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History National Curriculum Aims

Our Vision

Our history curriculum incorporates the statutory elements of the National Curriculum with the principles of the Coleridge vision – aspire, desire, believe, achieve. Whether in KS1 or KS2, history at Coleridge primary school teaches children the historical knowledge and transferrable skills to become analytical thinkers, tolerant individuals and confident communicators, who are curious about the past and how it links to their futures.


National Curriculum Aims

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.

Progression of History throughout the school

Key stage 1

Pupils will develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They will know where the people and events fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They will use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms.

They will ask and answer questions, choose and use parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They will understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

Pupils will be taught about:

  • changes within living memory.
  • 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.
  • significant historical events, people and places in Rotherham.

Key stage 2

Pupils will continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. They will note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They will regularly address and devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They will construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They will understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.


History at Coleridge aims to inspire curiosity in children about the past. Our curriculum teaches children the historical knowledge and transferrable skills to become analytical thinkers, tolerant individuals and confident communicators who are curious about the past and how it links to their futures. Our teaching is in line with the national curriculum, which aims to ensure that all pupils gain an understanding of British history and a knowledge of the wider world, can understand historical terms and concepts and can make connections between different peoples and cultures. We also want to ensure that our children practise historical skills to ensure that in the era of “fake news”, children can use evidence to discern what is factually accurate and are confident at presenting their values and opinions.


Our history curriculum is bespoke and has been designed for the children in our school. In EYFS, children begin to develop an understanding of the difference between the present and the past. In KS1, children deepen their awareness of the past, completing a local study and learning about a key historical event. A chronological approach is taken in KS2, where each year group studies a British period of history, and then a contrasting period of world history from the same time. Every year group will also focus on a significant female individual from their period.

Underpinning our history curriculum is substantive knowledge. These are the key facts about a historical period that children must learn, for example, key dates and events. This historical knowledge is taught through exploring disciplinary knowledge, which are key historical concepts. Each history lesson at Coleridge is explicitly linked to exploring one concept. There are 6 key historical concepts which are as follows:

Chronological understanding, Diversity, Change and continuity, Cause and consequence, Historical significance and Historical interpretation.

We take an enquiry based approach to every lesson, which all starts with an enquiry question. To answer the question, children have to use historical skills. There are 3 key historical skills that children use to explore the past, which are as follows:

Historical enquiry, Using evidence, Communicating about the past.

Children are also exposed to historical language which is revisited regularly to ensure that children retain an understanding of key historical terms.


Our history curriculum helps pupils gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world through stimulating an interest in understanding the lives of people and helping children cultivate their sense of identity. We are confident that history lessons at Coleridge deliver the knowledge to enable children to function as well informed individuals who can engage with different aspects of society and in the modern world. Our children are equipped to thrive in the next stage of their history education at secondary school and beyond.

Cultural Capital

According to the national curriculum, cultural capital is the ‘essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’ (Ofsted School Inspection Handbook 2019). We are confident that history lessons at Coleridge deliver the knowledge to enable children to function as well informed individuals who can engage with different aspects of society and thrive in the modern world. Our history curriculum starts with British history but extends to the wider world to broaden children’s minds and appreciation of different cultures. Every year group has access to high quality educational visits outside of the classroom (both locally and further afield) to spark interest and excitement, bring historical periods to life and increase cultural capital. High quality reading books and secondary sources are available in classrooms so children have the opportunity to research different topics themselves. We also encourage family learning to take place during the term so that adults can experience their children’s history curriculum themselves and partake in the sharing of knowledge with their child.

Curriculum Map

Coleridge Primary School Progression of language in History

By the end of Key stage 2, children should have a concrete understanding of the key historical terms shown in the table below. These terms include both the language relating to the passing and measuring of time, as well as vocabulary relating to historical skills and concepts. In addition, children will also learn subject specific vocabulary linked to the period of history studied in their year group.

Key Historical Terms and when they are first introduced.

EYFS/ Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Calendar Artefact AD/BC Conquest Civilisation Aristocracy
Change Century Agriculture Continuity Colony Bias
Explorer Chronology Ancient Court Diversity Heresy
Invention Decade Archaeology Democracy Emigrant Monastery
King/Queen Discovery Cause Emperor Immigrant Nation
Local Evidence Consequence Empire Impact Parliament
Long ago Global Gods/goddess Execution International Pope
Museum Primary source Hierarchy Invasion Interpretation Rebellion
Past Secondary source Hunter-gatherer Peasant Legacy Republic
Present Migration Sacrifice Monarchy Revolt
Timeline Myths and legends Slave Reliability Traitor
Yesterday Oral history Torture Settler Treason
Prehistory Significance

Historical Language by Year Group

The table below shows the vocabulary each year group will focus on. The language is built up and revisited over time, so vocabulary is not exclusive to only one year group. Each year, teachers will review previously taught historical language to ensure that it is embedded. The definitions ensure that there is consistency across school.

Year 1

Word Definition
Key historical terms Calendar A way to record the passing of time.
Change The idea that something or someone is now different.
Explorer A person who travels to unknown places in order to find out more about them.
Invention Creating something new.
King/Queen The ruler of a country.
Local The place around where you live.
Long ago In the distant past.
Museum A building which people can visit to see objects of art, culture, history or science.
Past Gone by in time.
Present Existing or happening now.
Source Something that provides information.
Timeline A line that represents time, with the past on the left and the future on the right.
Yesterday The day before today.


Astronaut ​A person whose job involves travelling and working in space.
Engine The part of a vehicle that produces power to make the vehicle move.
Hovercraft A vehicle that travels just above the surface of water or land.
Modern Something that is from the present or recent times.
Power A great force.
Steamboat A boat driven by steam.
Submarine A ship that can travel underwater.
Vehicle A thing that is used for moving people or goods from one place to another.
Voyage A long journey, especially by sea or in space.





Drawbridge A bridge that can be pulled up to stop people from entering a castle.
Dungeon A dark underground room used as a prison.
Housing The type of place that people live in.
Lord/Lady A person who has a special title and is high up in society.
Moat A deep wide channel that was dug around a castle.
Turret A small tower on top of a wall or building, especially a castle.

Year 2

Key historical terms Artefact An object that is made by a person, especially something of historical or cultural interest.
Century 100 years.
Chronology Meaning ‘the study of time’. The idea of sorting times and events into the order that they happened.
Decade 10 years.
Discovery The act of finding something new.
Evidence The facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true.
Global Refers to the whole world instead of just a part of it.
Primary source A source of information that was created at a particular time in history.
Secondary source A source of information that was created after the time or event (often using primary sources as evidence).
The Victorians


Dunce cap A hat worn by a schoolchild who was slow to learn or who was naughty.
Entertainment A type of fun and way that gives people enjoyment.
Explorer A person who travels to unknown places in order to find out more about them.
Family tree A diagram that shows the members of a family over a long period of time.
Industrial Revolution The period when machines began to be used and many people began to work in factories in towns and cities.
Royal Connected to or belonging to the king or queen of a country.
Slate A small blackboard which schoolchildren would use to write on with chalk.
Slum An area where poor people lived in bad conditions.
Whip and top A toy used in Victorian times.
Workhouse A place where poor people could work in return for food and a bed.
The Great Fire of London




Architecture The design of buildings.
Bakery A place where bread and cakes are made and sold.
Cart A form of transport which is pulled by a horse.
Cathedral A very large and most important church in an area.
Diary A book in which people record their experiences, thoughts and feelings.
Eye-witness A person who has seen something happen and can describe it afterwards.
Great Very large and important.
Hose A long tube used for directing water onto gardens or fires.
Reason A cause or an explanation for something that has happened.
Solution The answer to a problem.
Spread To cover a large area.

Year 3

Key historical terms AD Used for dates after the birth of Jesus. It is from the Latin ‘Anno Domini’ which means, ‘In the year of the Lord.’
Agriculture Another word for farming. It includes both growing and harvesting crops and raising animals, or livestock. It provides the food and many raw materials that humans need to survive.
Ancient Belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence. Also used to refer to the period in European history from the earliest known societies to the end of the Roman Empire.
Archaeology ​The study of cultures of the past, and of periods of history by examining the parts of buildings and objects found in the ground.
BC Used for dates before the birth of Jesus.
Cause The reason why something happens.
Consequence The result of something that has happened.
Gods/Goddesses A being that is worshipped and believed to be in control of certain things in the world. They usually have supernatural powers.
Hunter-gatherer Collecting and finding food rather than farming.
Migration The movement of people or animals from one place to another.
Myths and legends A story from ancient times to describe the early history of a people or to explain natural events.
Nomad An individual or a group of people who have no permanent home and move around for a variety of reasons.
Oral history History that is passed on by word-of-mouth.
Prehistory The period of time before writing was invented.
The Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age Beaker A type of drinking cup. A people from the bronze age were named ‘beaker’ after these artefacts were found with them.
Bronze A strong metal that ended the Stone Age.
Celt The people who lived in ancient Britain and parts of Western Europe from the Iron Age.
Hillfort A type of high up settlement that the Celts lived in which offered protection from enemies.
Iron A hard, strong metal that ended the Bronze Age.
Pelt A piece of clothing made from animal fur or skin.
Roundhouse A type of circular one-room dwelling that Celts lived in, made of wattle and daub.
Stone The hard, solid mineral substance that tools and weapons were made of during the Stone Age.
Tribe A group of people, often related by family, who live together but do not live in towns or cities.
The Shang Dynasty


Ancestor A person in your family who lived a long time ago.
Artisan A skilled worker who practices some trade or handicraft.
Bamboo A type of plant used for clothing, food, transportation, housing, music and weapons.
Dynasty A series of leaders of a country who all belong to the same family.
Emperor The male ruler of an empire.
Hierarchy The way society is structured by who has the most and least power.
Jade A green stone used to make beautiful objects.
Military The soldiers and army of a country.
Oracle bones Writing carved onto the bones of an ox or the shell of a turtle to try and predict the future.
Tomb The place where a body would be buried or laid to rest.

Year 4

Key historical terms Conquest To acquire something by force.
Continuity To refer to how certain things stayed the same over a period of time or into multiple periods of time.
Court A place where laws are passed or law trials take place. It can also mean the home of important people.
Democracy A form of government where the people have a say in how the government is run e.g. by voting and holding elections.
Emperor The male ruler of an empire.
Empire A group of countries that are controlled by one leader or government.
Execution To put someone to death, either legally or illegally. Also meaning the act of carrying something out, like a plan.
Invasion To use force to take and occupy someone else’s land or country.
Peasant A class of people who had little money who farmed or worked on the land.
Sacrifice To offer or give something up. In religion, to give something to please a God or Goddess.
Slave Someone who is owned by another person and is forced to work for them.
Torture Causing physical or mental harm to someone for a period of time.
Romans in Britain







Amphitheatre A large, open-air, oval stadium with tiers of seats.
Centurion The leader of a group of men in the Roman army (originally 100 men).
Coliseum A large, circular building used for various forms of entertainment.
Culture The customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organisation of a people.
Gladiator Someone who fought in public for entertainment.
Hierarchy The way society is structured by who has the most and least power.
Legionary A Roman soldier who belonged to a legion, which contained between 3000 to 6000 soldiers.
Mosaic A decoration on a surface made by tiles of glass or stone.
Plebeians A person from a lower social class.
Resistance The opposition to a plan or an idea, or refusing to obey authority.
Senate A group of important Romans who gave advice to the Emperor.
The Ancient Egyptians



Amulet A small object worn or carried by someone for the protection of a god.
Egyptologist Someone who studies the ancient Egyptians.
Hieroglyphics A system of writing that used pictures and symbols instead of letters and numbers.
Mummification The process of preserving the skin and flesh of a body by embalming it and drying it out.
Papyrus A type of ancient paper used by the Egyptians.
Pharaoh The leader in Ancient Egypt.
Pyramid A four-sided structure that was built by the Egyptians.
Sarcophagus A stone container for a body which was often decorated.
Scribe The name for someone who could read or write.
Sphinx A mythical being that had the body of a lion or cat and the head of a human.
Tomb The place where a body would be buried or laid to rest.

Year 5

Key historical terms Civilisation A society that is advanced, developed and organised.
Colony When a group of people from one country build a settlement in another territory, or land and then claim it for the original country.
Diversity Referring to the differences of people. This could include the ethnicity, age, religion, political beliefs or social structures of a group of people. This is often linked to the uniqueness of a period of history.
Emigrant A person who leaves one country to settle in another.
Immigrant A person who comes into a different country to their own to settle there.
Impact The powerful effect that something has on somebody or something.
International Involving two or more countries.
Interpretation The way of explaining something when the answer is not always clear or obvious.
Legacy A situation that exists now because of events or actions that took place in the past.
Monarchy A form of government that has one ruler, usually a King or Queen.
Reliability Whether something can be trusted or not.
Settler Someone who starts life in a new place, typically a new country and establishes a colony at first.
Significance The importance of something, especially when this has an effect on what happens in the future.
The Anglo- Saxons and Vikings Angles One of the main groups who settled in England from Denmark and northern Germany.
Danelaw An area of land that the Vikings controlled in England by law.
Farmer-warrior The main two occupations for Anglo-Saxons.
Longboat A style of Viking ship which could travel up narrow rivers.
Longhouse A type of Viking building that was rectangular, one room and had a thatched roof.
Jutes One of the smaller main groups who settled in England from Denmark.
Mead A drink, like wine, but made with honey instead of grapes.
Monk A person who works and lives in a Christian church or monastery.
Pagan A person who holds religious beliefs that are not part of any of the world’s main religions.
Runes These were used to form the alphabets of Germanic people.
Saxons One of the main groups who settled in England from northern Germany.
Thatch Dried plant material (like leaves or straw) that was used to make roofs.
The Early Islamic Civilisation Algebra A form of mathematics that uses symbols and letters.
Arabic The language of the Arab people.
Caliph A religious and civil leader in a Muslim country.
Calligraphy Artistic, stylized, or elegant handwriting or lettering.
Geometric Decoration which has regular shapes or lines.
House of Wisdom A significant research centre for a wide range of subjects like mathematics, science and philosophy.
Mongols A group of tribes from central Asia.
Scholar A person who knows a lot about a particular subject because they have studied it in detail.
Silk road A network of trade routes which linked East to West.
Sultan The name of an Islamic ruler or monarch.
Trade Buying, selling or exchanging goods or services between people or countries.

Year 6

Key historical terms Aristocracy People born in the highest social class who have special titles.
Bias A strong feeling in favour of or against one group of people without fair judgement, or one side in an argument.
Heresy To have a belief or opinion that disagrees strongly with what most other people believe in a religion or place.
Monastery A building or set of buildings where people live and worship.
Nation A country considered as a group of people with the same language, culture and history, who live in a particular area under one government.
Parliament The group of people who are elected to make and change the laws of a country.
Pope The head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Rebellion When an organised group of people disagree with a form of authority and try to gain control from them.
Republic A country that is governed by a president and politicians elected by the people and where there is no King or Queen.
Revolt To fight against a form of authority, like a government or king, to take control from them or to change something.
Traitor Someone who is not loyal and betrays an idea, their group or their country.
Treason The act of deliberately betraying the laws of the government or ruler (particularly in the context of Kings and Queens).
The Tudors






Catholic Part of the Christian Church that has the Pope as its leader.
Divorce The legal ending of a marriage.
Dynasty A series of leaders of a country who all belong to the same family.
Legislation A law or a set of laws passed by a parliament.
Motive A reason for doing something.
Protestant Part of the Christian Church that broke away from the Catholic Church.
Reform A change that is made in order to improve or correct something in society.
Reformation Attempts to make changes to Christian practices which ultimately formed the Protestant church.
Renaissance The period of growth of interest and activity in the areas of art, literature, and ideas.
Ruff A wide, stiff, white collar with many folds in it.
Tolerance Being able to accept someone or something, even if you do not agree with them, or they are different to you.
The Early Maya Civilisation







Bloodletting A way to communicate with the gods by cutting a part of the body so that blood would come out.
Cacao A bitter form of chocolate consumed and traded by the Maya.
Codex An early type of book held together by stitching.
Haab The 365-day calendar used by farmers to time the planting and harvesting of crops.
Hieroglyphics A system of writing that used pictures and symbols instead of letters and numbers.
Jade A green stone used to make beautiful objects.
Mesoamerica A historical region and cultural area in North America.
Maize The main crop grown by the Maya.
Sarcophagus A stone container for a body which was often decorated.
Stela An upright stone or slab with an inscribed or sculptured surface used as a monument.

At Coleridge we understand the importance of knowledge organisers and how they can support children’s understanding and learning.

They are also an excellent assessment tool which can help identify gaps in learning and inform planning, teaching and intervention. As we have developed our own curriculum, class teachers have also developed knowledge organisers to work alongside our curriculum. Children will be encouraged to refer to knowledge organisers throughout sessions to help support and enhance their learning.

Knowledge organisers can be a valuable tool for both children, staff and parents. Class teachers are the ones who write the knowledge organiser, to set out their expectations of what pupils should learn about a topic – and to clarify their own thinking around what is important.

School leaders, headteachers and subject leaders then may look at a series of knowledge organisers to check for progression and continuity both within and across curriculum subjects and to ensure standards and expectations for learning are being implemented, and if not, what CPD is required.

Pupils will review, revise and quiz themselves using their knowledge organisers. Knowledge organisers are a really clear and easy to understand way for parents to be more aware of what their children are learning and thus to support them.

Some of the benefits of knowledge organisers

  1. A knowledge organiser makes the teacher think hard about what will be taught.
  2. Knowledge organisers are an endless source of meaningful homework activities.
  3. Knowledge organisers are an excellent tool for inclusion.
  4. Knowledge organisers create opportunities for spaced retrieval practice.
  5. Ahead of a summative assessment at the end of a topic you can inform pupils that some of the questions will refer to previous learning; pupils can then refer to the knowledge organiser to access and practice those topics.
  6. Used appropriately, knowledge organisers can increase retention of facts

At Coleridge, we have several non-negiotiables that need to be included in a knowledge organiser, they are:

  • Key vocabulary (linked to Progression of language)
  • Key places and people
  • Useful diagrams (as required for the topic)
  • Key dates for a subject like history (e.g. when the two World Wars were)
  • Key themes
  • Important quotes
  • Stem sentences for a subject like Science or Maths

We use knowledge organisers throughout school, however, in EYFS they look different to other phases of school due to the away the curriculum is structure. In EYFS, we use a holistic approach to knowledge organisers and have a topic knowledge organiser, whereas, in KS1 and KS2 our knowledge organisers are subject specific.

If you would like any information about our knowledge organisers then please contact us at

Useful Websites

Below you can find some useful documents that help illustrate our approach to teaching History here at Coleridge.

Getting to grips with concepts in primary history

Here is an example of planning from the first lesson of the Shang Dynasty in Year 3. Planning takes the same format in each year to ensure there is clear progression across sessions and year groups. For example, every history lesson starts with ‘Vocabulary Explorer’ where a piece of key vocab is analysed, ‘Chronological Quiz’ where timelines and key events are recapped and embedded, and ‘Source of the Day’ where children analyse a primary source linked to the session. Each class teacher planned with the subject leader so that the lessons could be tailored to the needs of each class and to make sure that knowledge was taught through concepts and skills throughout the sequence of lessons.