History at Longvernal


At Longvernal Primary School, we give our children a high-quality history education which helps them gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We inspire children’s curiosity to know more about the past, which equips children to ask questions and think critically, helping children to understand people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity. For example, visiting the Roman Baths or spending a day as a Victorian school pupil. Further to this, we ensure our ambitious curriculum is accessed by all children - including those with SEND - by providing pre and post teaching in addition to scaffolding so that they can keep up and not have to catch up.


The curriculum is sequenced in long and medium-term plans to help pupils build cumulative knowledge towards agreed milestones or expected standards, creating a secure schema on which to build throughout their school career. 


The key subject content is organised through Big Ideas (otherwise known as threshold concepts) which organise new knowledge systematically and ensure a logical progression. In keeping with recent research into meta- cognition, to ensure their learning is embedded, ‘Flashback 4’ quizzes and ‘Exit’ quizzes are a feature of all lessons. Our curriculum design helps pupils to read widely by ensuring high quality texts, such Good Night Mr Tom, that relate to History are studied during Whole Class Guided Reading.


The curriculum breadth is adapted to the context of our school to secure pupils’ social and cultural development by placing a particular focus on vocabulary and providing experiences to which our pupils may not otherwise be exposed.


Breadth of Study


Key Stage 1


Children will be taught about:


  • changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life.

  • events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]

  • the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell] 

  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.


Key Stage 2


Children will be taught to:


  • 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 

  • the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor

  • a local history study

  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066

  • the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China

  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world

  • a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.


Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘Big Ideas’ which tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Our forwards and backwards engineering of the curriculum allows children to return to the same concepts over and over again, gradually building their understanding of them. We ensure that children progressively develop their skills in all areas of historical study.


Each year group covers the following topics as part of the breadth of study:


Year 1 – The Big Dig/Mary Anning; Memory Box (Changes within living memory within relation to toys); Communication through Time.


Year 2 – Great Fire of London; Victorians and the impact of Victorians on the local area; WWI and remembrance.


Year 3 – Ancient Egyptians; Stone Age to Iron Age.


Year 4 – Ancient Greece; The Romans.


Year 5 – Anglo Saxons/Vikings; Monarchy; Mayan Civilisation.


Year 6 – Local History Study; Georgian Bath and Bristol; WWII children. 


‘Big Ideas’ (Otherwise known as ‘threshold concepts)


We have identified ‘Big Ideas’ in History which are specific concepts which open up new ways of thinking about the subject and help pupils to link new knowledge and commit it to their long term memory. These ‘big ideas’ are the key disciplinary aspects for History, which have been chosen to build conceptual understanding across the progression map of the History curriculum. 


See the poster below for the ‘Big Ideas in History 


At Longvernal Primary School, we help pupils progress in History by:


  • Carefully sequencing the knowledge that they need to understand music concepts in our long term plans and progression map. We then return to specific areas of learning (Big Ideas) regularly to ensure clear understanding of learning and to link and commit learning to long term memory. 

  • By providing the vocabulary and language that they need to articulate their understanding of History. Children are expected to be able to apply and define this vocabulary independently.

  • We help children to make progress and remember what they have learnt using: Flashback 4s to review prior learning and Exit quizzes at the end of each lesson. We recognise that revisiting learning is crucial to learning, impacting long term memory.


History Progression Map

Useful website links

General History Sites 

BBC Teach 


BBC Schools  


School History


Channel 4 (lots of clips) 


The History Site 


History on the Net 


Natural History Museum 


Black History Month 


History of England 


The Nuffield Foundation Primary History Site 


Walk Through Time 

A history website for 7-9 year olds from the BBC where you can:

~ Play interactive Odd-One-Out Games! 

~ Explore the people in the TimeStrip 

~ Put things in Order 

~ Make your Own History 

~ Print out activities  




Victorian Britain – BBC Schools 


Woodlands Junior 


Virtual Victorians 


Nettleworth primary Site 


Great Resources for Projects 


Primary Resources – Victorians 


Victorian Cyberhunt (questions to answer – fun and interactive) http://www.icteachers.co.uk/children/cyberhunts/vichunt/vichunt.htm

Victorian Diary Channel 4 


Children’s Victorian Activities 



BBC site