History Intent, Implementation, and Impact

‘Growing Global Citizens’


At Broseley C of E Primary School, we bring History alive through explicit teaching and experiential learning that inspires, in pupils, a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with our pupils for the rest of their lives. We want our students to gain an increasingly mature and informed historical perspective on their world. This is achieved by learning: Historical Knowledge + Historical Concepts + Historical Enquiry.

Knowledge of the past can help children to understand the challenges of our own time. Therefore, we ensure that each history unit covers the key concepts of cause and consequence, continuity and change, perspective and empathy, interpretation and contestability, similarity and difference, and significance. Thus, engaging pupils in questions about people and events in the past that will help pupils to understand the present and prepare them for the future. 

The programme of study for history states that, ‘History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationship between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.’ 

At Broseley C of E, our history curriculum builds a strong foundation of knowledge and skills through an approach that teaches both the substantive knowledge and disciplinary skills that pupils will need. Pupils are taught to approach their learning as a historian. Both the knowledge and skills build sequentially as pupils move through the school and are expertly mapped to ensure that pupils can make links with what has already been taught. 

Within the History curriculum, pupils are taught subject specific vocabulary and are able to use this expertly within their explanations, giving them the cultural capital they will need to be a responsible global citizen. The outcome will allow them to clearly articulate well-formed questions and answers in addition to evaluating arguments about people and events of the past.

 Our aim is to empower our children so they can aspire to become an expert in the study of the past – if they choose to.


Implementation: How is History taught at Broseley C of E? 


The curriculum is carefully sequenced to ensure that pupils build on the knowledge and skills they have been taught.

From Year 3, units of work linked to British history are taught in chronological order which enables pupils to understand the ‘bigger picture’ and to support them to develop a coherent understanding of the past. For example, in Year 3 pupils learn about the Stone Age followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age. This then progresses in Year 4, where pupils learn about the Roman Invasion of Britain followed by the Anglo Saxons and Vikings.   

Planning is sequenced in the following way to ensure consistency when moving between year groups and key stages in preparation for transition to secondary school and beyond. Although this sequence isn’t fully followed in Reception, teachers in the EYFS team ensure that key elements of the process such as significant people, events, historical themes, and historical vocabulary are shared with the children in preparation for key stage 1.

From Reception to Year 2, there is an emphasis on the use of the concepts of continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity and difference, perspectives and empathy and significance as they are developed through personal, family and local contexts. In Years 3 to 6, the concept of sources is introduced as students’ understanding shifts from the familiar to making broader connections, both in the UK and other places around the world.  Children in KS2 also begin to consider the more abstract concept of interpretation and contestability as they examine a range of topics from the ancient to the modern world. These concepts are integral in developing children’s historical understanding. They are high level concepts that will be applied across the subject to identify a question, guide an investigation, organise information, suggest an explanation or assist decision-making.

How these concepts are developed in the classroom:


Children learn that a source refers to any written or non-written materials that can be used to investigate and provide information about the past (e.g., coins, photographs, letters, interviews, gravestones, buildings). Primary sources are those created or written during the time being investigated. Secondary sources are accounts that are developed after the time period being studied.

An understanding of the concept of source is developed in the following ways:

  • exploring sources such as oral histories, photographs, newspapers, stories and maps to learn about the past;
  • analysing a range of sources to identify similarities and/or differences and describing what they reveal about the past;
  • interpreting sources to identify their origin, purpose and context;
  • evaluating the reliability and usefulness of primary and secondary sources.

Continuity and Change

Children learn that continuity and change refers to aspects of life or society that have remained the same or changed over a period of time. The causes of change, or reasons why change has been resisted, can be investigated. Continuity and change are evident in any given period and concepts such as progress and decline may be used to evaluate continuity and change.

An understanding of the concept of continuity and change is developed in the following ways:

  • comparing objects from the past and present to identify the nature of change or continuity;
  • analysing aspects of daily life to identify how some have changed over recent times, while others have remained the same;
  • sequencing events and creating timelines in order to identify broader patterns of continuity and change;
  • recognising and explaining patterns of change and continuity over time through the examination of beliefs and values, key events and the actions of individuals and groups.

Cause and Consequence

Children  learn that cause and effect is used to examine the relationship between historical events or actions, where one event or action occurs as a result of the other. Historians use cause and effect to identify chains of events and developments over the short term and long term.

An understanding of the concept of cause and effect is developed in the following ways:

  • identifying the causes and effects of change on particular communities;
  • demonstrating the relationship between events and developments in different periods and places;
  • analysing the causes and effects of events and making judgments about their importance.

Similarity and Difference

Children learn to look beyond general assumptions and stereotypes about the past by comparing the diversity of experience of people being studied. It can also be a concept that is taught to identify how chronologically similar periods of history differed or were the same.

An understanding of the concept of similarity and difference is developed in the following ways:

  • When teaching changes within living memory, identifying that every person would have had different experiences and compare them.
  •  Identifying how an event beyond living memory impacted people from different parts of society (men/women, children/adults rich/poor etc).
  • Used as a vehicle to bridge between two periods of British history that follow each other e.g., comparing the political structures of Iron Age Britain to the Roman Empire or exploring how life in a Saxon kingdom would have been different for the nobles compared to those that were what we’d call peasants.



Children learn that perspective is a person’s point of view, the position from which they see and understand events going on around them. People in the past may have had different points of view about a particular event, depending on their age, gender, social position and their beliefs and values. Historians also have perspectives and this can influence their interpretation of the past.

An understanding of the concept of perspective is developed in the following ways:

  • recognising that stories of the past may differ depending on who is telling them;
  • examining sources to identify differing points of view, attitudes and values in the past and present;
  • identifying and explaining the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives;
  • analysing the views of individuals and groups at different times and explaining how these views might reflect changing values and attitudes.


Pupils learn that empathy is an understanding of the past from the point of view of a particular individual or group, including an appreciation of the circumstances they faced, and the motivations, values and attitudes behind their actions.

An understanding of the concept of empathy is developed in the following ways:

  • describing and comparing the different experiences of people in the past;
  • identifying the motives and actions of people at a particular point in history;
  • identifying differing views in sources and how individuals and groups were influenced by the beliefs and values of their society;
  • explaining the context for people’s actions in the past.


Pupils will learn about the importance that is assigned to particular aspects of the past (e.g., events, developments, individuals, groups, movements and historical sites).

An understanding of the concept of significance is developed in the following ways:

  • retelling personal and family events that have significance;
  • examining an historical site of a cultural or spiritual significance;
  • recognising the significance of people and events in bringing about change;
  • investigating the significance of people, events and developments, over the short or long term.

Contestability and Interpretation

 Pupils will learn that interpretations about the past are open to debate, for example, as a result of a lack of evidence or different perspectives.

An understanding of the concept of contestability and interpretation is developed in the following ways:

  • identifying past events and developments that have been interpreted in different ways;
  • identifying and analysing the variations in perspective which can lead to different historical interpretations, including their own.

Enrichment Opportunities

History excursions and incursions planned for all year groups in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 not only provide pupils with experiences beyond their own day to day lives but enable them to build on the knowledge and skills taught in History lessons. The History curriculum at Broseley C of E is diverse and ensures that all parts of society are represented in the people and places that are studied. 


History in EYFS

In the EYFS, History is included in the ‘Understanding the World’ educational programmes, which focusses on children making sense of their physical world and their community. History in the EYFS revolves mainly around first-hand experiences/visits and listening to a broad selection of texts- fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and rhymes.  This allows them to foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically, and ecologically diverse word.  Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support their understanding of the passing of time.  This is vital for children to develop the concept of then, now, and next.  They will begin by sequencing events in their own life, using the correct vocabulary and recognising similarities and differences.

To support key concepts in the KS1/KS2 curriculum, children will explore the following concepts:



Through the big question of ‘What Makes a Hero?’ Children are given the opportunity to find out what an explorer is? How/when they explored our world and why this is significant.  These explorers will be linked to the children’s interests e.g., Mary Anning (dinosaurs) or topical interest e.g. Ernest Shackleton.


Perspective and Empathy

This is explored through story, real life experiences -Why did women do all the chores at Blists Hill Victorian town? Or through non-fiction-Why did Ernest Shackleton only want men in his crew?



Cause and Consequence

It is important to teach children the idea of cause and consequence from the very start otherwise they cannot apply the concept to individual people/ events in history.  Opportunities are created to discuss it through their own actions and fictional ones too. 

  • In Fiction stories - asking children why they think the character chose to do something e.g Why did the Big Bad Wolf climb on the roof of the third little pigs house? 
  • When using any of the Little People Big Dreams books - children are encouraged to think: ‘Why might the person have done that?’ E.g., Why did Ernest Shackleton say that only men were allowed on his boat? 
  • In real life everyday situations in Reception - a lot of our PSE discussions revolve around why someone behaves like they do. Why did you think that was a good idea? What else could you have done etc? 
  • In practical problem-solving situations - What could we do to sort the dilemma?


Key learning experiences are recorded in floor books which act as memory joggers for the sticky knowledge concepts.



Prior to the start of each history unit

Each history learning sequence will begin with an explicit explanation of what history is and the purpose of studying it. Children are shown what they can study at university and the jobs linked to the history as well as the significant people and achievements within this field.


Chronological vocabulary from prior year groups will be revisited in preparation of the introduction of new vocabulary. Timeline activities will show where the era to be studied fits into the British and world history subjects already studied in previous year groups and key stages.

Knowledge Organiser

Pupils are provided with a Knowledge Organiser for each unit of learning. The organiser includes key information and vocabulary that pupils will need during their lessons. This will be shared with parents and children and referred to throughout the topic for retrieval practice.

The ‘Big’ Question

Each learning sequence will begin with a ‘Big’ question such as ‘What was it like to have lived through World War Two?’ Children are told that the knowledge gained throughout the topic will allow them to answer this ‘Big’ question using a range of substantive and disciplinary knowledge

Lesson overview

Knowing More and Remembering More

Lessons begin with a focus on  a ‘Knowing more and remembering more’ short session where pupils revisit the knowledge that has previously been taught to ensure that they have remembered this in order to build on it.

Vocabulary Focus

Lessons have a strong focus on vocabulary (Wow Words) and these are introduced at the beginning of each lesson and referred to at the end, ensuring that pupils clearly understand the meaning of each word and are able to use them confidently. 


Progression in vocabulary examples-  

Reception: Uses vocabulary to sequence their own life

Year 1: explorer, voyage, Victorians,

Year 2 – aviator, aircraft, jet engine, commercial flight

Year 3- Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, hunter gatherer

Year 4- conquer, surrender, Latin, tribe

Year 5-terrace farming, Puuc, chulturn, cenote

Year 6- appeasement, allies, axis, propaganda


Substantive and Disciplinary Knowledge

Pupils are taught both substantive knowledge (names, dates, places and events) and substantive (first-order) concepts, for example civilisations, invasion and monarchy. Both substantive knowledge and substantive concepts will be selected for individual history topics and will not necessarily run as a thread between each year group. However, meaningful links will be made when appropriate. E.g. links between ancient civilisations.

Pupils are also taught disciplinary (second order) concepts such as:

  • Cause and consequence;
  • Continuity and change;
  • Perspective and Empathy;
  •  Interpretation and Contestability;
  •  Similarity and differences;
  • and significance.

Pupils are taught disciplinary /historical skills such as using sources.

Example of substantive knowledge/concepts and disciplinary concepts/skills taught through ‘Was the Roman invasion good or bad for Britain?’ unit of learning in Year 4.

Substantive knowledge (names, dates, places and events)

What was life like before the Roman invasion of Britain?  

  • Separate kingdoms – not one ruler; therefore, no law and order?
  • Many people in Britain couldn’t read or write

What was Britain like after the Roman invasion? 

  • They had modernised Britain: they taught them about hygiene, about clean drinking water, a calendar, laws and legal system. They also introduced new infrastructure such as straight roads, central heating, aqueducts as well as concrete.

Substantive concepts

 Invasion, religion, education.

Disciplinary concepts 

Change and continuity- recognising changes through difference. Knowing the difference to infrastructure or education following the Roman invasion of Britain.

Disciplinary / historical skills

Evidence- Looking at historical accounts, details in paintings and artefacts to infer what happened during the Roman invasion of Britain.


Independent work

During the independent work section, pupils apply their knowledge to a task. Tasks are differentiated to provide a scaffold for pupils who may need it. All pupils have the opportunity to meet the same learning objective. 

Deeper thinking question

Th majority of lessons are structured to include a question to be answered (verbal or written) by the end of the lesson. We encourage all learners to answer this question but children requiring further challenge are asked to respond with more than just shallow knowledge and should use a mix of substantive and disciplinary knowledge (if applicable).

Support for Pupils with SEND

At the beginning of each unit of work, key pieces of knowledge for the unit are selected and work takes place to ensure that pupils with SEND are retaining and building on this. In addition, scaffolding ensures that pupils can meet the same learning objective as their peers.


At the beginning of a unit, children will complete a mini assessment based on substantive knowledge about the subject. This will be administered again at the end of the topic as a measure of progression in this learning domain.

At the beginning of each lesson, pupils either complete a ‘knowing more and remembering more’ task which assesses the knowledge they have retained from previous lessons, or they use knowledge organisers to self or peer quiz. Teachers use the outcome from the task to support pupils who may have gaps in their knowledge. Children use the outcome of their self and peer quizzing to revise any gaps at home.

At the mid and end point of the topic, pupils complete a quiz which comprises of several questions linked to the learning within the unit. Teachers use the quiz outcomes to support pupils who may have gaps in their knowledge.

During lessons, teachers move around the classroom and give pupils verbal feedback, they may be asked to check an answer again or prompted to include further details or information.

The sequence of learning ends through assessment using a ‘Big Question,’ Children will answer this question using either substantive or disciplinary knowledge in the form of an essay or a double page spread. Essays are the preferred method for our older children in preparation for the expectations when studying history in secondary school and beyond.

Children record their learning and assessments within their history book. This book is passed on to the next year group teacher. The next teacher can use the assessment outcomes from the previous unit/year to plan for consolidation of knowledge and plan for next steps to ensure maximum retention of knowledge and progression.


At Broseley C of E, History is planned and delivered at a very high standard, and we set very high expectations for the students in the lesson. We expect the work in their books to be at the same standard as their core lesson books. 


Regular learning sessions show that pupils are confident and able to talk knowledgeably about what they have learned in history using subject specific vocabulary. The pupil voice discussions show that pupils greatly enjoy History and can recall their learning and knowledge over time, making links between units of work. Lesson observations also triangulate this. 

Work in pupil exercise books demonstrates that History is taught at a high standard across the school with opportunities for pupils to work at a greater depth. As a result, pupils make sustained progress across both key stages. Work is of high quality, with pride taken and demonstrates pupils are acquiring knowledge, skills, and vocabulary in an appropriate sequence.