Houghton Primary School

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Our Curriculum Leader for History is Frances Smith

Details of the History Curriculum for each year group for each term can be found on the class webpages

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development through the teaching of History


History supports spiritual development by helping children develop a sense of curiosity and the mystery of how and why events in the past happened and raises questions as to what could have happened if events had had different results. Artefacts are used to give pupils a sense of the past and aid pupils in understanding the people who produced and used these objects. Pupils are encouraged to explore the role played by important individuals, for good or ill, in the shaping of the world we live in. Pupils also reflect upon different interpretations of the past and how these interpretations have been arrived at.


History supports moral development by asking children to consider and comment on moral questions and dilemmas. Events and beliefs in the past will often be at odds with what we would consider unacceptable today (and were to some people in the past also) Pupils will be encouraged to show compassion for people facing dilemmas and to empathise with decisions which people in the past made and the reasoning behind these decisions. Notions of right and wrong are explored in connection with events from the past, linking with the value of justice.


History supports social development by exploring the similarities and contrasts between past and present societies and be made aware of how, in the main, we are very fortunate to live in ‘the modern world’ which links with the value of thankfulness. They will examine how other cultures have had a major impact on the development of ’British’ culture. Pupils will also be encouraged to build up their own social development through collaborative and team working activities.


History supports cultural development by encouraging children to gain an understanding of and empathise with, people from different cultural backgrounds. They will examine how other cultures have had a major impact on the development of ’British’ culture. Pupils develop a better understanding of our multicultural society through studying links between local, British, European and world history.

Key characteristics of Historians

We have identified the following key characteristics which we aim to develop to enable children to become independent and confident historians:

  • An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
  • The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry. 
  • A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways. 
  • A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgments.
  • A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.


Our approach to teaching History at Houghton Primary School

In order that our learners are enabled to develop the key characteristics of historians we teach history within a thematic approach which provides opportunities for the children to investigate and interpret the past through the use of primary and secondary sources. We use role play and drama to develop understanding of the past and enrich the children's study experience by visiting historical places and/or bringing in visitors to bring history 'alive'. Recent visits have included Flag Fen https://www.facebook.com/flagfen/, Ely Cathedral, Grimes Graves http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/grimes-graves-prehistoric-flint-mine/ and the travelling company, Mexicolore http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/, have visited to provide an incredible 'hands on' experience for the children. http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/ We seek to help the children to make connections, teaching them about history in different places across the world at the same points in time in order to develop their understanding of human development and impact. For example; our topic on the Stone Age is related to the topic on the Mayans - comparing and contrasting what was going on in the world in different places at the same time. We aim to provide audiences for our children to present to in order to support their abilities to communicate historically. These include holding 'open' events where parents and carers are invited in to find out more about the topic.

Opportunities for History

In order to ensure that our children are provided with a range of opportunities to enable them to become confident and independent historians we provide:

Key Stage One Key Stage Two

Opportunities to look at:

  • The lives of significant individuals in Britain’s past who have contributed to our nation’s achievements - scientists such as Isaac Newton or Michael Faraday, reformers such as Elizabeth Fry or William Wilberforce, medical pioneers such as William Harvey or Florence Nightingale, or creative geniuses such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Christina Rossetti.
  • Key events in the past that are significant nationally and globally, particularly those that coincide with festivals or other events that are commemorated throughout the year.
  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

Opportunities to undertake a study of:

  • 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.
  • A period in local history. 
  • A theme in British history. 
  • Early Civilizations achievements (including an in-depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty. 
  • Ancient Greece.
  • A non- European society that contrasts with British history  chosen from: 
    • Early Islamic Civilization 
    • Mayan Civilization 
  • History of interest to pupils*

Items marked * are not statutory.

Key Learning Objectives for History

We have identified 4 key learning objectives for History:

To investigate and interpret the past

To build an overview of world picture

To understand chronology

To communicate historically


Please click here for National Curriculum Programme of Study for History

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