"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots" - Marcus Garvey 

What does History look like at Cubitt Town Primary School?


The history curriculum at Cubitt Town Primary School aims to develop the active interest and enthusiasm of all groups of pupils. It provides opportunities for discovery and challenge and for pupils to take greater responsibility (commitment)  for their learning. We want our children to understand the complexity of other people’s lives and the process of change; the diversity of societies and relationships between distinct groups; as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time through the teaching of history. 

The intent of our history curriculum is to deliver a curriculum which is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more ensuring they are fully prepared for KS3.

Our history curriculum intentions are:

  • A history curriculum which develops learning and results in the acquisition of substantive knowledge (knowledge of the past) and disciplinary knowledge (how historians find out about the past and shape their arguments) which enables children to enquire, research and analyse in history.
  • Where possible and relevant, links will be made between history and other curricular areas of study, key events nationally and locally, our individual student needs and prepare our students for KS3. 
  • A scheme of work which provides appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the EYFS and National Curriculum History Programmes of study.
  • To fulfil the duties of the National Curriculum whereby schools must provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities and responsibilities and experiences for later life. 

Our curriculum has been built to include our key curriculum drivers:

The children are encouraged to develop our school values (the 6Cs) when studying history, with a specific focus on challenge as children are encouraged to use a variety of sources to research ,recognise and challenge bias independently. We understand that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn history outside the classroom, with visits to historical sites and museums. Through our key concepts for all year groups, children’s historical enquiries will use a range of resources to interpret a range of diversity issues within history at least once in each key stage.  We recognise that communication is the key to articulating ideas, developing understanding and engaging others. Through key enquiry questions children learn to debate, discuss and communicate their thoughts about key concepts learnt in history.

In our curriculum we have also considered the journey of a child through the school, so that our curriculum is progressive, building on prior learning, and regularly revisiting taught concepts. Each year group has a history programme which has been designed specifically to match the needs of our school, ensuring all children meet the full programme of study outlined in the National Curriculum. 


How is the curriculum for history organised?

To ensure coverage, depth and balance in the history curriculum, the subject leader has worked with Christine Counsel and other Tower Hamlets Schools to provide a range of planning materials ranging from EYFS to year 10:

Long term plan

A curriculum plan from EYFS to year 10 to ensure coverage and progression is achieved ensuring students are fully prepared for KS3. The long-term plan also details the substantive and disciplinary knowledge to be taught for each topic, with a key enquiry question which the topic is based around. Both substantive and disciplinary concepts are taught using a spiral curriculum, so they are constantly revisited throughout KS1 and KS2. 

Our substantive concepts are

  • Community and culture (architecture, art, civilisation, communication, economy, inspiration, myth, nation, religion, settlement, story, trade)
  • Conflict and disaster (conquest, liberation, occupation, military, peace, plague, surrender, treaty, war)
  • Exploration and invention (discovery, migration, navigation, progress, tools)
  • Hierarchy and power (country, democracy, empire, equality, government, law, monarchy, oppression, parliament, politics, poverty, slavery)

Our disciplinary concepts are: similarities and differences, handling evidence, historical significance, change and continuity, cause and consequence and historical interpretation, written and oral expression

Medium term plan

Details the substantive knowledge and sequence of lessons for each topic.

Substantive concept map

Shows which class and topics have covered our different concepts so teachers can use this document to explicitly teach the range of concepts by building upon prior learning and enable the children to make links between different topics within the history curriculum. 

Progression document

Details the progression of skills and knowledge we expect the children to make through their time at Cubitt Town. The progression document details progression from EYFS all the way through to Year 6 and is split into substantive knowledge, key concepts, chronological understanding, vocabulary and questioning.

Vocabulary document

Outlines general history vocabulary and specific vocabulary relating to all topics. This will be highlighted to the children at the beginning of lessons through dual coding, stories and recap sessions and revisited through subsequent learning and knowledge quizzes.

Fiction and non-fiction book maps

A document that details a range of books that are topic specific to be used in history lessons and in the class book area. Stories will be used throughout school, in order to embed concepts and to provide children with an understanding of the past. We understand the importance of stories and nursery rhymes in EYFS and how these can give children an insight into foundational historical concepts for access to history lessons in key stage 1. 


A document which outlines a variety of ways a topic can be enhanced. Examples include:

  • artefacts from school library service
  • trips within the local area
  • workshops from outside specialists
  • speaking and listening opportunities

How do we teach history?

We teach history in a variety of ways as outlined below:

  • Use of artefacts - Where possible we use a range of visual stimulus such as artefacts, videos and photographs for children to explore and investigate. We believe that handling real objects enhances the children’s historical knowledge, resourcefulness, understanding and skills.
  • Use of sources / bias - We aim for children to recognise that bias exists in some form in all historical sources, and this needs to be accounted for in their interpretation of evidence. 
  • Technology - The use of ICT including web-based resources , Virtual reality headsets and interactive programs such as QR code trails enhances the students learning experience. 
  • Recap and retrieval - Use of ‘quick quizzes and mind maps(dual coding) to ensure children are revisiting prior learning to enable them to build a schema of knowledge therefore enabling them to know more and remember more. The four principles of memory (Education Inspection Framework) are also taken into consideration: what content pupils need to know, what they pay attention to, avoiding overload, and allowing for practice. 
  • Active learning - We recognise that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn history outside the classroom, with visits to historical sites and museums.
  • Reading is the core of the curriculum at Cubitt Town and enhances history further through high quality texts 
  • Storytelling as a way to enhance cultural understanding, since stories give children the chance to explore their own and other cultures. When hearing stories, children learn to empathise with unfamiliar situations, places, and peoples. Stories also have the ability to learn more about different values, traditions, and life experiences through stories.

Approaches to teaching 

A wide variety of teaching approaches are used in history lessons to ensure children make good progress, and all learning styles are catered for. Class teachers ensure there is a good balance of whole class, group work and individual learning in history lessons. We also aim to incorporate links to our Oracy curriculum with presentations by teachers, visitors and children; drama and role play; discussions and debates and themed days or weeks to inspire all learners. We use Oracy in history to support children to constantly review their understanding, considering changing viewpoints and justifying opinions and ideas


Our curriculum is organised so children in reception meet the aims of EYFS framework. The early learning goals are taken from Understanding our world and are as follows:

  • Talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society.
  • Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
  • Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.

How do we support our SEND learners?

We believe that all learners should primarily access the first quality teach and be immersed in class discussions during history lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners include: 

  • A pre-teach of topic specific vocabulary as an additional task
  • A reader to support when researching using a range of sources 
  • Print outs of work/presentations to scaffold with independent tasks 
  • More time allocated to process information or instructions broken down into manageable chunks
  • IT based support – listening to podcasts, reading of texts, videos

This is monitored by our Head of inclusion Angie Drew 


We assess children’s work in history by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons, using dual coding at the beginning of a lesson to support learning and with the use of ‘quick quizzes’ for assessment of fact retrieval. We mark a piece of work once it has been completed and we comment, as necessary. An assessment is recorded in the pupils’ end of year report. Formative assessments are made against statutory end of key stage objectives. 

All our staff, senior leaders and governors are involved in measuring the impact of our history curriculum in differing ways. This is planned through the School Development Plan, using our annual monitoring cycle and termly development plan to map out monitoring and review over the year. 

Liz Boyle is our history Subject Leader. There is a clear monitoring cycle in place which evaluates history teaching and learning, outcomes, pupil and parent voice. These outcomes feed into action planning to continually evaluate and improve our teaching and learning in history. 

Monitoring and evaluation could include: 

  • A review of learning in books 
  • Lesson observations  
  • Evaluation of the impact of staff professional development
  • A review of medium-term planning  
  • Talking to pupils about learning in history 
  • Governor review trails to evaluate the impact of the curriculum - this could be reviewing the website or the curriculum offer, talking to staff and pupils.

Links to support our history teaching and learning