“Ideas shape the course of history’ – John Maynard Keynes

‘There is history in all men’s lives’ – William Shakespeare 

‘We are not the makers of history. We are made by history’ – Martin Luther King Jr.


At Church Lane Primary School and Nursery, we teach history to stimulate the children’s interest and develop their understanding about the past, both in Britain and the wider world. Pupils consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like, and how beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. Such studies should help the children to understand more about themselves as individuals and members of society.

History teaching focuses on enabling children to think as historians. We recognise the importance of examining historical artefacts and primary sources, this is why the skills based history appears on our schools vital few. In each key stage, we give children the opportunity to visit sites of historical significance, regarding this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past. We encourage visitors to come into school to deliver workshops or share expertise of a particular area.

We believe the study of history should inspire children's curiosity and encourage them to ask critical questions. As a result, each of our history topics are lead by an overarching enquiry question. This is a question which is posed to children at the start of the unit and is referred to throughout allowing children to reach well rounded and justified answers. As well as this overarching question, each lesson is centred upon its own more focused question. This helps children to form connections and links between lessons, encouraging a learning journey. 

At Church Lane, history begins in EYFS within the environment. Most clearly, history is seen through the Understanding of the World. For this goal, children can talk about past and peresent events in their own lives and that of their familes as well as knowing about similarities and differences between themselves and others. However, at Church Lane, history is embedded through a range of Early Learning Goals which contribute towards developing early historical understanding. These areas of learning include: Shape, Space & Measure, Number, Understanding and Speaking, Reading, Making Relationships, People and Communities and The World. 

Units of work are sequenced to build on prior knowledge and learning from previous units and previous year groups. In Key Stage One, the focus is on history which is the most relatable to children, recent history. The outline below shows the structure for Years One and Two:

  • Year 1 - Local history, Events within living memory.
  • Year 2 - Events and people of significance, Beyond living memory

The rationale for this structure is to provide children with a firm foundation of what history is and how it fits in to their lives, branching out further into more abstract times as they gain a secure understanding. 

In Key Stage Two, topic are sequenced in chronological order to reinforce the understanding of time order. This also allows children to see time periods, eras, events and people in the order in which they happened, with the intention of minimising misconceptions. The structure of Key Stage Two history units is outlined below:

  • Year 3 - Stone Age to Iron Age, The Ancient Civilisations, Ancient Egypt
  • Year 4 - Ancient Greece, Local area study, Romans
  • Year 5 - Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, Ancient Maya
  • Year 6 - History beyond 1066.