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Concord Junior School


Our History Intent


We have ambitious goals for our pupils in all areas of the curriculum and this is clearly evident in the planning and delivery of our curriculum. We have chosen broad, substantive concepts and important disciplinary knowledge about how historical accounts are created, which are taught and learnt in combination to provide the children with the capacity and skill to build on or contrast their own historical views or arguments.

How is our curriculum designed?

We have created a clear, chronological route through periods of history to support our children’s understanding of the passage of time. Then, within each topic, there is a clear, planned, sequence, with a clear emphasis on particular content in and across a series of lessons. This is so that our teachers are clear on the key substantive knowledge and concepts that the children need, and so that they are also able to easily draw on the prior learning of the children to ensure that their new learning is building on what they already know, helping them to know more and remember more.

What does our History curriculum look like?

Our children move chronologically through British and World History. We know that chronological knowledge means that children understand broad characteristics of historical periods, allowing them to create coherent narratives that are more memorable. 

We want them to have a mental timeline of periods, including: 

  •      the order of key events
  •      the characteristics 
  •      the links to other themes

It is vital for us that children make links and connections across the time periods that they study, utilising their secure chronological knowledge. 

What are our historical concepts?

We have chosen substantive (first order) concepts in which allow the children to build their substantive knowledge about time period – such as hierarchy, beliefs and legacy. These are introduced in EYFS and KS1 but used more explicitly in KS2. 

The children will revisit these concepts time and again throughout their time at our schools and this will allow them to create links between their learning, recall key information and know more and remember more.

Our second order concepts allow the children to examine History deeper than just facts, and allow them to make key links between the periods of time that they are studying. These concepts link to the disciplinary knowledge that the children will develop during their time at our school.

Prioritising content in the curriculum

We understand that some content has a particular role in pupils’ future learning. By identifying and prioritising this content, we can support the children’s progress in History – the core knowledge becoming part of their long-term memory.

Why have we prioritised this content?

•To enable future learning

•For curriculum breadth and coherence

Fingertip Knowledge

We want to ensure that our pupils have the key knowledge secure and embedded in their heads - ‘at their fingertips’ so that it can be drawn upon when they are making historical arguments. This will reduce the demands on their working memory, which therefore enables thinking and historical analysis.

How are History lesson taught in our school?

We know that knowledge of the past – the children’s substantive knowledge, must be shaped by disciplinary approaches in order for it to become their long-term historical knowledge.

We also want our pupils to understand that academic historical knowledge is provisional and revisable; we want them to learn how historians work and understand that through historical enquiry, we can still find out new information about the past. We want to protect our children from a narrowed view of history, by exploring how narratives have been constructed.

To embed this historical enquiry, each of our history lessons begins with a question, that the children are then challenged to research and potentially answer at the end of the lesson. These include:

‘When so much of the land they lived in was mountain and jungle, how did the Maya manage to become so important?’

                             ‘How did life change when man learned to farm?’

These enquiry questions shape our curriculum content – they allow us to organise the historical content we want to teach the children. They allow children to develop disciplinary and substantive knowledge simultaneously, with the understanding that they support each other. Our aim is that the children engage with the content with disciplinary rigour . Where possible, we have included genuine debates in history: 

Why did the Mayan empire fall?         

Our pupils make progress through building their knowledge of the past – their substantive knowledge and of how historians study the past and construct accounts  - their disciplinary knowledge.

To facilitate this, lessons are planned to provide opportunities for the children to discover the knowledge for themselves and understand different ways that historians gather knowledge. We also encourage and plan for collaboration opportunities, where children work in pairs or groups to ensure that ideas are shared, clues can be discussed, and historical enquiry skills can be practiced and embedded.


We believe these approaches support children in developing their substantive knowledge, whilst ensuring their disciplinary knowledge is being used effectively.

We encourage children to record their thoughts and learning in a range of ways, sometimes using diagrams, models and metaphors to shape their knowledge.