The history curriculum at Swallownest has a clear skills and knowledge progression which is planned and structured to ensure that current learning builds systematically on previous learning. By the end of Year 6, pupils will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to make comparisons and identify connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Egyptians.

History is argument. At Swallownest, pupils do not simply learn a series of facts about the past. Our curriculum enables pupils to hypothesise about the past, interpret and evaluate evidence and reach conclusions. To do this successfully, as historians, children research, interpret evidence, including primary and secondary sources, and have the necessary skills to argue for their point of view; skill that will help them in their adult life. Swallownest’s history curriculum is progressive from FS to Year 6.


A history topic is taught once a term, focusing on the knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. At Swallownest, a hook into each topic is provided by reading a carefully chosen, age-appropriate story from the time period the children are studying. Children use this story to ask and select historical questions. They are presented with (and form towards the end of Key Stage Two) hypotheses. This hypothesis forms the basis of a unit of inquiry-based learning and the key questions form the areas of inquiry. Carefully-selected artefacts are examined to develop a wider understanding of the past and to allow pupils to undertake learning in the role of historians, developing their substantive and disciplinary knowledge. At the end of each history module, children are given the opportunity to return to the hypothesis they formed and assess its validity based on the evidence they have studied and the interpretations they have made. To ensure rigour, validity and challenge, a range of trusted sources are used to plan and deliver the history curriculum:

  • Key Stage History,

  • The British Museum,

  • Historical Association,

  • History Through Stories

  • DK

  • High-quality learning outside the classroom, e.g. Jorvik, National Coal Mining Museum, Weston Park Museum

Discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work. The curriculum is enriched by establishing cross-curricular links and providing on and off-site subject or topic related experiences. Within history, we create investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities to develop inquisitive and questioning learners.

During FS, pupils focus on developing chronology within living memory through gaining an understanding of their growth so far, people who help us in the community, transport over time, exploring the differences between old and new transport methods and old and modern toys.

Throughout Key Stage One, pupils will develop an awareness of the past. They will learn about significant individuals who have contributed to the world both within living memory and beyond living memory: Queen Victoria, Ernest Shackleton, Neil Armstrong, Helen Sharman. Pupils will also learn about the history of Swallownest and changes over time. In Key Stage One, pupils will be looking back at changes within living memory such as how shops and homes have changed as well as events beyond living memory such as the Gunpowder plot and The Great Fire of London.

In Key Stage Two, pupils study history in a broadly chronological context. They will work on securing an understanding of British, local and world history. They engage in a range of topics linked to Pre and Ancient History at the local, national and global scale. Pupils will look at connections and patterns over time around themes such as democracy, invasion and migration, and develop a good use of historical terms. They will identify causes and consequences linked to significant events and will be able to articulate which of these consequences are positive or negative. There is a focus on different sources and how historians develop our knowledge from them. Throughout Key Stage Two, pupils will explore the lives of a range of significant individuals including Boudicca, Emmeline Pankhurst, Alfred the Great.


Regular, lesson-by-lesson assessment and feedback is undertaken by teachers in all year groups and two assessment points are utilised in the year to check pupils’ understanding of key substantive and disciplinary knowledge. At the end of each history module, children are given the opportunity to return to the hypothesis they formed and assess its validity based on the evidence they have studied and the interpretations they have made. Increasingly as they move through school, children are encouraged to present different historical arguments from different perspectives.

Through high-quality history lessons, we aim to encourage critical thinking, as well as helping the pupils to gain a sense of their own identity within a social, political, cultural and economic background.