• History


"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." - Winston Churchill

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

What we believe...

At Hayton C of E  Primary School, we value our high-quality history curriculum. A purposeful history education allows children to understand the wider world through studying past societies and events. We know that having a rich and broad history curriculum enables children to understand the present by learning about the past. History at Hayton allows children to ask perceptive questions, think critically and develop their own judgement. Our children are taught about a range of complex and diverse societies and thus are encouraged to think deeply about their own identities. Our history curriculum is driven by our curriculum drivers and key concepts:

Knowledge is our North – a knowledge-rich curriculum

As Hirsch writes, knowledge should be thought of as ‘mental Velcro’.

People who have lots of subject-specific knowledge find that new knowledge ‘sticks’ to it, helping them commit the new information to long-term memory. In the same vein, a lack of subject-specific knowledge can mean that new concepts slip past you or that you make mistakes. The outcome of this is completely predictable: those with more prior knowledge learn more than those with limited prior knowledge, and therefore the gap between these two groups widens.

In ‘The Schools We Need And Why We Don’t Have Them’, Hirsch describes this as the ‘Matthew Effect’, drawing on Matthew Chapter 25:

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away”.

In her book, ‘7 Myths About Education’, Daisy Christodoulou states:  “The difference between experts and novices is that experts have a huge body of background knowledge and processes stored in long-term memory, and that they have spent a huge amount of time practising using that knowledge and those processes. In most fields, it takes several years and thousands of hours to become an expert.”

Skills are our South - understanding our place in the world

To understand why we live as we do today, we must look to the past. Therefore, learning about how our society has developed over time can help children comprehend their place in the world. Furthermore, at Hayton, we place a strong emphasis on learning about the history of our local area. Exploring the history of their own locality makes the learning for the children tangible and exciting – almost being able to ‘touch’ it. We also understand the importance of a history curriculum that encompasses local, national and international history. Ensuring that our curriculum explores all three is vital to a rich history education as it allows the children to make important connections and comparisons across world history and in turn, provides the children with the knowledge to better understand where they fit within the wider world.

Excellence is our East - aspiring to achieve

Learning about incredible historical figures ensures the children at Hayton have high aspirations and feel inspired during their history lessons. At Hayton, we know that having a wide range of role models is extremely important as it means every child can see themselves in a successful historical figure. In turn, this allows all children to feel that their dreams are achievable because someone similar to them has done it before. Furthermore, we take pride in celebrating annual History ‘events’ such as Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Both these events, allow children access to a variety of inspiring historical figures.

Worldliness is our West - broadening horizons

Our history curriculum aims to develop curiosity and enthusiasm about British and world history. At Hayton, the children are exposed to a wide variety of historical societies, ranging from the Ancient Mayans to the Anglo Saxons to the Windrush Generation. Furthermore, the children’s horizons are broadened at every opportunity in history by exploring the achievements of different civilisations.

Our history curriculum aims to ensure that all children make progress as they move through school by developing a secure understanding of the block of knowledge that they are studying. Alongside this, we hope that our children develop a greater understanding of the historical concepts and the chronology of their study as they move through the key stages. At Hayton, history is often cross-curricular and is taught across a range of subjects, allowing the children to make effective links. Our school values support positive learning behaviours in history and across the school, which prepares the children for success in the wider world.

At Hayton C of E Primary School, we have three historical concepts that are woven through our history curriculum:


Empire is an extremely important concept because it is integral to British and world history. Empire is an abstract idea and hard to comprehend. Therefore, we introduce this concept slowly and carefully. In KS1, we begin by identifying the British monarchy and what it means to be a ruler of one country. In KS2, we begin to explore why countries, civilisations and rulers have felt the need to expand their empires. Furthermore, as the children progress through the school they begin to develop their understanding of empire and are able to apply it to the historical periods that they are studying.


History has been driven by innovation and we believe it is important that our children recognise this. In each era that they study, children will be able to identify how the innovations of the time affected and changed society. In turn, this allows the children to assess the impact of new inventions and consider how new technologies may affect and change our society today.


Our final historical concept is civilisation. At Hayton, the children are exposed to a wide variety of civilisations. We believe this is key to expanding their understanding of the world. Therefore, the children learn about British, European and wider world civilisations during their time at Hayton. This enables children to make effective comparisons between the civilisations they study because as they move through school, they gain a greater understanding of how different people have lived during history. The children are able to evaluate what makes a civilisation successful by drawing on their knowledge of the civilisations they have studied. Furthermore, they can link this to their own civilisation, in order to consider how they can make their world a better place.

How do we do it?

Long Term Plan - History and Geography

Our Hayton History 'Quest' Curriculum

Pupils’ progress through the curriculum depends at each stage on the range and depth of their existing knowledge and how secure it is in their minds (Ofsted Review- History- 2021). At Hayton C of E Primary School we recognise this and consequently, place a huge emphasis on revisiting prior historical knowledge. Using our History Curriculum Overview, class teachers are able to see where they should revisit prior knowledge and how they can make links between previous topics and the current topic of study. Therefore, throughout their time at Hayton Primary School, children are given the opportunity to reflect previous historical periods of study in order to secure it in their minds. As well as this, each class has a displayed timeline, which has important dates from previous topics, all the way from Year 1. Moreover, children have a visual reminder of their previous knowledge, which they can see displayed every day in their classroom environment. We use the National Curriculum as a guide to subject areas covered in our Learning ‘Quest’ Curriculum. Each unit is based around an enquiry question with ‘sub-questions’ for each ‘episode of learning’ the children are taught. Class teachers are able to use the Whole School Progression document in order to see which disciplinary knowledge each ‘enquiry question’ and ‘learning episodes’ lend themselves to.

Class teachers have each topic of study mapped out for them as guide on this document. Furthermore, they are able to sequence each period of study in an effective way, enabling children to make progression throughout the Key Stages. Curriculum design should also ensure the diversity of people, groups and experiences that pupils study (Ofsted Review- History- 2021). At Hayton C of E Primary School, we value diversity. This is evident within our history curriculum as we focus on a range of significant people and rich stories. We celebrate Black History Month and International Women’s Month, therefore our children our exposed to the history of marginalised people and in turn this demonstrates the breadth of our history curriculum.

Teaching and Learning

At Hayton C of E Primary School, we use a range of teaching and learning styles to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in history.

History teaching focuses on enabling children to think as historians. Teaching and learning in history is supported by:

  • Providing children across Key Stages the opportunity to visit sites of historical significance; class visits and out of school learning is important to our staff, ensuring that children’s learning is stimulating, real and relevant.
  • Topic boxes containing a range of practical materials, artefacts, visual and reference aids loaned from local museums such as Tullie House Museum, Carlisle as well as book sets to support learning with from the school library service.
  • Our Progression documents, which maps out a sequence of learning for each history area of study. Class teachers are able to flow this directly and this enables our curriculum to develop throughout the Key Stages.
  • We encourage visitors and/or experts to come into the school and talk about their experiences or knowledge of events in the past.
  • We recognise and value the importance of stories in history teaching and we regard this as a central way of stimulating interest in the past; most class topics or themes are closely related to class novels.
  • ICT including internet and DVDs; ‘Curriculum Visions’.
  • Each unit of work being focused around an enquiry question that enables all pupils to delve deeper into an aspect of the era they are studying.


We aim to encourage all pupils to reach their full potential through the provision of varied and individually tailored activities and learning opportunities. We recognise that our ‘Learning Quest Curriculum’ approach, supported by Hayton’s Progression of Skills documentation, allows pupils to gain a progressively deeper understanding of, and competency in, history as they move through our school.

Through our teaching of history, we provide learning opportunities that match the needs of children with SEN (special educational needs) as well as AGT (able, gifted and talented) pupils and we take into account the targets set for all individuals. As part of our assessment process, we look at a range of factors, such as: classroom organisation, teaching materials, teaching styles and differentiation – so that we can take additional action or alter these factors to enable the child to learn more effectively. This ensures that our teaching is matched to the child’s needs.

How do we know if we have had an impact?

Ongoing formative assessment in history lessons (such as: questioning, class discussion, observations in lesson, topic writing, source analysis and evidence in books) is carried out by the class teacher and tracked in line with our other foundation subjects. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher marks the work and comments as necessary in line with our marking and feedback policy.

Formative assessment takes part in each lesson and is used to inform the next step in teaching and learning. Written or verbal feedback is given to help guide children’s progress. Children are encouraged to assess and reflect on their own learning through self-assessment and partner talk.

Assessment is an integral part of teaching history. At the end of each term, assessments will be recorded stating whether a child is working towards, working at expected or working at greater depth. Children have regular opportunities to’Show it’ and ‘Know it’ through ‘quiz times’ as well as planned opportunities within, at the end of and after units of learning.

At the beginning of a topic, children stick a ‘Knowledge Organiser’ in their books. Throughout the topic and also throughout the year, class teachers utilise this document in order to assess the children’s understanding of a topic. This also supports the class teachers’ assessment.