St John's C of E Primary School

"Use your God-given gifts to serve others." 1 Peter 4: 10



At St John’s, we believe that the study of history should be an active learning process, fuelled by children discovering for themselves. It should fire the children’s curiosity and help them develop a love of and respect for the past. High quality lessons are challenging, relevant, innovative and fun! History is about real people who lived, their intentions, activities and achievements in a variety of settings: local, national and global. Our children are taught to ask perceptive questions, think critically and reflect on how historians construct a knowledge of 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. 


We can break the study of history is down into 4 important strands (National Curriculum Guidance):

Historical Vocabulary

Chronological Understanding

Historical Enquiry: Sources and interpretation

Historical Enquiry: Cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity and difference

Historical Enquiry: Significance

These are reflected in our planning Know Do Understand Grids.



The teaching of history across St John’s follows the National Curriculum through:

  • comprehensive and thorough bespoke planners of topics designed specifically for our school community.
  • breadth of learning from EYFS to KS2, where knowledge and enquiry are developed progressively and abstract ideas/vocabulary (e.g. empire, trade, civilisation, slavery) are revisited and built upon with each year group.
  • cross curricular links where children are encouraged to apply other learning e.g. geography, RE and DT. Our topics are cross curricular to ensure excellent links for children.
  • discussing school values within each history topic. This links learning in history (and other subjects) to the wider school focus on British Values.
  • delivery that allows children to discover, ask questions, research, present information and build a deeper respect for how historians build a picture of the past.
  • collaborative learning, where children work together towards goals, exploring different roles within a team.
  • explicit teaching of vocabulary for each topic.
  • a focus on retrieval and revisiting knowledge to allow it to be embedded in the long term memory.



We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice) and asking key assessment questions to a range of children.
  • monitoring teacher planning.
  • celebrating recorded learning in learning journals.

History Whole School Progression




At St John's, learning in EYFS is key to preparing children for learning history later on. This can be seen in language, social skills and in executive functioning. The children also explore themes of kings and rulers through stories to help them prepare, for example, to learn about power struggles of the Battle of Hastings in Y1, the political structures of the Roman Empire in Y3 and monarchy of Tudors in Y5.


Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.  


Understanding the World ELG: Past and Present  

Children at the expected level of development will: 

 - Talk about the lives of the 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.  


ELG: People, Culture and Communities  

Children at the expected level of development will: 

 - Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps; 

 - Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;  

- Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps. 


Year Group History Know Do Understand Planners

St John's History Policy

Engaging SEN Learners and Challenging High Attaining Learners in History

An important part of quality history teaching and learning is catering for all types of learners. At St John's we carefully consider the needs of all our children as individuals. Open our maps to see how teaching staff reflect on pedagogical structures and strategies to allow all children to experience an exciting and engaging curriculum!



St John's History Glossary

Central to our history curriculum is a focus on historical vocabulary and terms to understand events and people. Some of these are abstract terms which are woven through from Early Years to Year 6 and revisited e.g. trade, civilisation, empire, democracy.  In this way, staff are committed to helping children build meaningful schemata, by linking prior knowledge with new learning.


Open our St John's History Glossary to see our full bank of vocabulary.

St John's Timeline

As we study history, we build knowledge of significant people, periods and events chronologically. We can see this through our St John timeline. New periods, people and periods are added with every year group. Children can then connect learning from different year groups and understand how the history school curriculum fits together.  An example of this progression can be seen in the study of Tudors. The period is introduced in Year 1 as the children learn about Guy Fawkes in Whizz, Bang Pop. Knowledge of this period is then developed as Year 2 discovers the Great Fire of London (Fire Fighters) in 1666. In Year 5, children recall knowledge of Year 1 and Year 2 learning as they study Shakespeare and the Tudors in more depth in All the Word's a Stage.


Abstract themes are too built progressively. In Year 3 slavery is studied within a topic about the Ancient Greeks (Gods and Heroes). Children then unpack the concept more as they study the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Year 5 (Fight for Your Rights).  


Children's History Page!


Historians at St John's! Click on this link. Find your year group then enjoy links and quizzes about each of your topics!

Our History Work!

Early Years

Lower School

Upper School