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The Oaks Primary School

From Little Acorns Grow Mighty Oaks


History Rationale


A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.  It should inspire pupil’s curiosity to know more about the past.  History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.


In Early Years children begin to have an understanding of the past.  They can talk about their lives now and compare to when they were younger encompassing family and people around them.  Explore similarities and differences between things in the past and now.


In Year 1, children begin to develop a sense of history. They explore old and new, past and present and changes over time. They begin with a study of how transport has changed. A local study gives them an opportunity to see how their school and the locality have changed over time. They then begin to develop their understanding of what life was like a long time ago through a study of the Great Fire of London. They learn how this major event in our history changed the way that houses were built, how we lived and how we keep ourselves safe.


In Year 2, the children learn about a specific period of history – The Victorians. They learn about the lives of famous Victorians and the impact they had on modern life. Queen Victoria is used to explore the concept of monarchy and her role in the establishment of the British Empire. A study of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole helps the children to compare and contrast the lives of rich and poor and the impact these two figures had on changes in health and medical practice. Cadbury, a local figure from history, is used to explore changes in welfare for workers using the Cadbury’s influence on housing, leisure and the working week.


In Lower KS2 children develop a sense of significant changes that took place in Britain over an extended period of time and driven by external factors such as invaders and settlers. This development of knowledge is sequenced chronologically and includes:


  • Stone Age Britain – movement from hunter gatherer to farming settlements.
  • Roman Britain – technology and culture/beliefs including early Christianity in Britain.
  • Anglo-Saxons – kingdoms, settlements and village life – legacy of language and place names.
  • Vikings and Anglo-Saxons – Drawing on geographical knowledge of coasts and rivers to explore the Viking invasion, develop understanding of monarchy (Athelstan, first king of England) and law and justice.
  • Tudors – Henry VIII and Elizabeth I (cause and effect through dissolution of the monasteries and how monarchy became linked to the Church of England)
  • A local study – The Battle of Birmingham – English Civil War and the conflict between monarchy and parliamentarianism.


In Upper KS2 children begin to understand how Britain contributed to global history and helped shape the modern world. They also learn about the history of civilization (including ancient civilizations) and other societies in order to better understand their legacy and its contribution our own history. This development of knowledge includes:


  • An in-depth study of The Victorians, the Industrial Revolution and its impact on the industrialisation of the developed world – technology, transport, expansionism.
  • World War II – Battle of Britain
  • Leadership of Nations – a study of monarchy and democracy drawing on WWII, The English Civil War and Ancient Greece.
  • Ancient Egypt – The Nile and its contribution to trade, settlements, farming using primary and secondary sources for evidence.
  • Mayan Civilization – compare and contrast the history of Britain to Mayan history – settlements, religion and beliefs, monarchy/rule, politics, war and technology.


History Overview Y1 -Y6