History Aims

The National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • know and understand the story of these islands: how the British people shaped this nation and how Britain influenced the world
  • know and understand British history as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the story of the first settlers in these islands to the development of the institutions which govern our lives today
  • know and understand the broad outlines of European and world history: the growth and decline of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; the achievements and follies of mankind
  • gain and deploy a historically-grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • understand how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

Subject Content - Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught about the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome.

In addition, across Key Stages 2 and 3, pupils should be taught the essential chronology of Britain’s history. This will serve as an essential frame of reference for more in-depth study. Pupils should be made aware that history takes many forms, including cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history. Pupils should be taught about key dates, events and significant individuals. They should also be given the opportunity to study local history.

Pupils should be taught the following chronology of British history sequentially:

Pre-Roman Britain

Pupils should be taught about changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
This could include:
  1. late Neolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers, for example, Skara Brae 
  2. Bronze Age religion, technology and travel, for example, Stonehenge
  3. Iron Age hill forts: tribal kingdoms, farming, art and culture

Roman Britain

Pupils should be taught about the Roman empire and its impact on Britain
This could include:
  1. Julius Caesar’s attempted invasion in 55-54 BC
  2. the Roman Empire by AD 42 and the power of its army
  3. successful invasion by Claudius and conquest, including Hadrian’s Wall
  4. British resistance, for example, Boudica
  5. "Romanisation" of Britain: sites such as Caerwent and the impact of technology, culture and beliefs, including early Christianity

Anglo-Saxons & Scots

Pupils should be taught about Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots

This could include:
  1. Roman withdrawal from Britain in c. AD 410 and the fall of the western Roman Empire
  2. Scots invasions from Ireland to north Britain (now Scotland)
  3. Anglo-Saxon invasions, settlements and kingdoms: place names and village life
  4. Anglo-Saxon art and culture
  5. Christian conversion – Canterbury, Iona and Lindisfarne

Anglo-Saxons & Vikings

Pupils should be taught about the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor

This could include:
  1. Viking raids and invasion
  2. resistance by Alfred the Great and Athelstan, first king of England
  3. further Viking invasions and Danegeld
  4. Anglo-Saxon laws and justice
  5. Edward the Confessor and his death in 1066

Local History

Pupils should be taught about an aspect of local history
For example:
  1. a depth study linked to one of the British areas of study listed above
  2. a study over time tracing how several aspects of national history are reflected in the locality (this can go beyond 1066)
  3. a study of an aspect of history or a site dating from a period beyond 1066 that is significant in the locality.

Extended chronological study

Pupils should be taught a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
For example: 
  1. the changing power of monarchs using case studies such as John, Anne and Victoria
  2. changes in an aspect of social history, such as crime and punishment from the Anglo-Saxons to the present or leisure and entertainment in the 20th Century
  3. the legacy of Greek or Roman culture (art, architecture or literature) on later periods in British history, including the present day
  4. a significant turning point in British history, for example, the first railways or the Battle of Britain

Ancient Civilizations

Pupils should be taught about the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following:
  1. Ancient Sumer;
  2. The Indus Valley;
  3. Ancient Egypt; or
  4. The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China

Ancient Greece

Pupils should be taught a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world

Non-European Study

Pupils should be taught about a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - one study chosen from: 
  1. early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900;
  2. Mayan civilization c. AD 900; or
  3. Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300