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History Subject Leadership

Our aim is to build inquisitive historians, through an enquiry based curriculum, who form educated opinions and ask further questions around their chronological knowledge. The children should know their place in history and recognise how history impacts on modern day life.



History and geography are taught using a bespoke enquiry based curriculum. By doing so, children are taught to distinguish between history and geography through the skills each require and the knowledge that each draw upon but also recognise that the two are very closely linked. It builds on children’s skills and knowledge as they move through the school. An over-arching, challenge question links subjects cohesively giving meaning and purpose to children’s learning. This ‘prime’ question then leads to smaller, subsidiary objectives where the curriculum aims are met whilst making cross curricular links. It is important that the children achieve each objective in order to give the children thorough knowledge to answer the overall question in detail. At the end of each unit, the children are given the chance to answer the overall question by presenting their findings in a variety of different ways including double page spreads, PowerPoint presentations and group or spoken presentations.

Continuity and progression are built around the objectives, skills and knowledge laid out in the new curriculum within the different subject areas. This allows us as a school to have greater autonomy over what to teach and how to teach the subjects, whilst ensuring that the essential skills expected of each year group are still being covered. As a staff, we have recently reshuffled our topics to further ensure chronology and complete coverage. The subject knowledge needed by staff is laid out on 'Knowledge Organisers' which link place geography, historical chronology, any relevant cross curricular links and key figures to a topic. This gives staff a starting point when planning while highlighting areas of interest to teach. 


It is an expectation that teachers apply English, mathematics and computing skills where it is appropriate to do so yet ensuring that a historical objective is the primary focus. For example, in Year 5, when covering the history topic of ‘What was the Vikings' influence on Britain?’, children used their English skills to produce a series diary entries detailing the invasion of Lindisfarne in 793AD. High expectations of written work are an expectation across all subjects; pieces of writing assessment are also produced through strong and creative links to the wider curriculum. Examples of this include non-chronological reports on periods of time, writing in historical character and historical diary entries whilst being in keeping of the time. However, regarding a geographical and historical objective, children’s English and maths abilities shouldn’t have an impact on their achievement of the geography or history within a lesson/topic or teacher assessment of geography and history objectives.


We ensure that pupils enjoy their work by making the work accessible to all children, by making learning real through research and the use of websites, sources on the internet and through the extensive school library. Independent research, analysing findings, as a group or pair, discussion and presentations of work or findings are an integral part of this curriculum area. Displays are often seen as ‘a work in progress’ where children are encouraged to add their own questions or interact with the questions asked by teachers or other children. Furthermore, displays should also celebrate the children’s achievements within both history and geography, possibly showing photographs of the children at work and individual pieces of work.

The subject is taught for between 1 and 2 hours weekly, which allow the curriculum to encompass the various other subjects that are appropriate to the subsidiary questions.

The needs of SEND children are met through various means including the use of vocabulary prompts, templates to aid presentation, the support of teaching assistants or mixed ability pairings as appropriate.  




Teachers monitor progress continually and adjust their teaching accordingly. Much of the learning covered in these subjects is kept hands-on, kinaesthetic and cross-curricular, providing practical learning so that skills can become embedded and so ensure concrete understanding. Assessment through questioning and verbal discussion is an area that the school has developed recently in accordance with pupil voice which highlighted the children's passion for 'hands-on' learning. For example, the Year 6 teacher allowed her pupils the chance to act out aspects of the Civil War, including its causes and consequences. This brought a more realistic feel to the topic as the children felt as though they were part of the history to engage the children in the topic.


To augment this on-going diagnostic assessment, both history and geography have discrete skills outlined in the new curriculum and teachers assess children’s skills and knowledge at termly intervals against the steps in our tracking system. This will also be accompanied by topic specific skills ‘Quizlets in order to break down the ongoing assessment process and place geography assessments to ensure place geography is being embedded. These documents are completed at the beginning of a unit to gauge a child’s base knowledge of a particular topic. These initial ‘Quizlets’ are also used to inform planning and allow staff to plan for challenge for high ability children. At the end of a topic, children will then take the same ‘Quizlet’ which will show the embedding of knowledge and progress that they have made throughout a unit. This allows class teachers to make an informed judgement when assessing children on Insight, in accordance with the standard shown in the children’s books and content of ‘Quizlets’.


These assessments are then stored on Insight on a termly basis, with the senior leadership tram and shared with the subject leaders. In this way, I have a clear picture of children’s progress and achievement in humanities right across the school. In Foundation stage, learning is initiated from the child’s own knowledge and assessment of children’s knowledge is measured through the steps made in the EYFS profile and is evidenced in the children’s learning journals.


Further to this, a recent addition to our planning has been the introduction of historical themes. The idea is that each KS2 history lesson will hit of these 4 themes to ensure that the history curriculum follows a direction that has history objectives at its core. The four themes are: leadership, settlement, belief and community. Introducing this has allowed staff to streamline their planning which has also helped to manage workload in what is already a broad, balanced and busy curriculum.




Observations of pieces of children’s work relating to challenge questions and questioning regarding history has shown me that they are extremely engaged and enthused by their learning in this subject. Teachers work hard to choose tailor  activities that will capture the children’s imaginations.  Planning is of a high standard overall, and shows clearly how staff structure their lessons in order to meet curriculum objectives and outcomes, with good use of a range of resources and techniques. The nature of the challenge questions allows teachers to vary teaching techniques and embrace different subjects whilst maintaining a clear plan for progression through the discrete objectives laid out in the new curriculum. Between their Anglo-Saxons and Vikings topics, Year 5 visited Tatton Park to experience an Anglo-Saxon life including weaving, defence and making bread. The plan is for this annual visit to continue as it provides an immersive experience that can’t be offered in the immediate locality. Recently, Years 1 and 2 were visited by Yellow Brick Road Workshops where the children were immersed in different periods of time relating to their learning, specifically old toys and a Victorian school day. The children thoroughly enjoyed this and we plan to use their services again in the future. Displays are often presented as an ongoing learning resource – where findings and questions can be added as the subject progresses. Furthermore, displays show relevant vocabulary to support the children's learning and encourage them to use subject specific language. This allows teachers to constantly monitor the progression of the children as they move through the subject. In addition to this, children from different year groups valued the sense of the pride at seeing their work on the walls, relating to both history and geography. For example, Year 5 display their current topic on one of the larger walls while Year 6 display their historical knowledge on an ever-changing working wall linking to either the Civil War or World War II (their topics). The Year 5 wall acts as a resource to recap what has been learnt in the topic as well as a celebration of the children’s work. Similarly, other classes display the achievements of their children within a topic in their classrooms.


Work sampling continues to take place over the course of the year and this enables me to work with teachers to monitor the standard of the children’s work overall, as well as review how well the cross curricular nature of the teaching curriculum has embedded across the school. A recent development within book scrutinies has been to speak to children with their books about their learning. This allows children to gain confidence in speaking about their learning and allows staff a gauge of how well children have retained information outside of what books show.

Foundation stage achievement and progress is monitored through relevant age range steps laid out in the EYFS profile. These small learning steps lead to the Early Learning Goals.


What else have children said?


“History is all the stuff that has happened in the past!” – Year 2.

 “You need to learn about the past to give you ideas for the future!" – Year 5.

“I enjoy talking about the past and giving reasons for why things might have been the way that they were!” – Year 4.


Current standards and progress


As both geography and history both have discrete skills and specific pieces of knowledge that have to be taught over the year, teachers compare children’s progress to progression grids of skills and then make an overall judgement on Insight. Decisions are made as to whether children are working towards, at a lower expected, upper expected of greater depth level for the year group. These decisions are informed using the key skills documents, Quizlets, place knowledge assessments that link to key skills taken from both the geography and history curriculums.

As the year has progressed, work samples and the general results of these assessments have enabled me, as subject leader, a clear picture as to whether various children or cohorts are working above, below or expected levels in history and geography.

Standards for history are included in the subject leader file.


Where to now? Recent developments, highlights and priorities for future developments (2023-24):


Mr Taylor recently started history assemblies. Each one told a story from British history not covered on the curriculum.

- This year, assemblies have focussed on a story from/area of British history. Some the children have known, some lesser-known. 

- Pupil voice has been positive towards history assemblies with previous geography assemblies having been well-liked.

- Priority for assemblies for 2024-25 to be decided upon and implemented. 

History themes (leadership, settlement, belief and community) implemented. It will be a priority for next year that these themes are embedded and even introduced in KS1.

Themes have been introduced in staff meeting time to that history objective is at the core of the lesson.

- Cross-curricular links can be made if necessary but should not be prioritised over the teaching of a history specific objective.

- This will allow staff to streamline their teaching with a clear focus on one of the four themes given above.

We are looking to purchase planning guides from ‘Mr T’ to support teachers in the delivery of potentially new content to broaden their pedagogical skills and subject knowledge before teaching a topic.

- Subject guides to be purchased for available topics and used at class teacher's/subject lead's discretion to aid planning and further subject knowledge.


Priorities for future development (2024-25):


  • Continue to ensure that both history and geography are well resourced.

- DigiMaps, relevant fiction and non-fiction books and necessary 'Mr T' teaching guides are purchased to aid planning and teaching of history. Books purchased should be on display during teaching of history topic to make links to reading and promote subject.

  • Introduce 'What if?' and overarching questions to 'Quizlets' to ensure 'low floor, high ceiling' questioning gives children chance to expand their thinking and apply their knowledge.

- 'What if?' questions will promote deeper thinking around history unit and show understanding of learning as a historian.

  • Promote an immersive culture of interest in history and geography around school through class libraries.

- Purchase books relevant to history unit/display Little People, Big Dreams books whilst teaching to encourage reading around history.

- Ensure communal/classroom displays are maintained with subject specific vocabulary, examples of children's work and resources to support learning.

  • Ensure that history specific vocabulary is displayed, taught and that the children are confident using it.

- Historical vocabulary should be displayed at the front of the classroom or on display wall in every lesson.

- Individual vocabulary tabs should be available to children to help embed subject specific vocabulary.

  • Embed the themes of community, leadership, settlement and belief into KS2 history topics.

- Ensure that planning of history lessons follows themes of community, leadership, settlement and belief. Each KS2 lesson should follow one of these four themes to ensure that history is at the heart of each lesson.

- This will be monitored by subject lead and should be visible on all planning. 

- Children, particularly in UKS2, should start to be introduced to these themes to gain an understanding of the themes that our history units are built on.


History at Gilded Hollins