What is History?

History is Greek meaning ‘knowledge acquired by investigation’.

Our definition for KS2 – History is the study of people and events from the past.

Our definition for Foundation and KS1- History is learning about the past.

The aim of history teaching here at Bishop Alexander L.E.A.D. Academy is to stimulate the children’s interest and understanding about the life of people who lived in the past. We teach children a sense of chronology, and through this they develop a sense of identity, and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. Thus they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern Britain by learning lessons about the past to understand who they are. Children will consider how people lived in the past and they will be able to make their own life choices today. In our school, History makes a significant contribution to citizenship education by teaching about the manner in which Britain developed as a democratic society, encouraging positive attitudes. We teach children to understand how events and people in the past have influenced our lives today and informs future analysis. We teach them to investigate these past events and people and, by so doing, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving. Children will understand there are different points of view and bias, and learn that History can be interpreted in different ways and for different audiences.


“How do you know who you are unless you know where you came from?”
Tony Robinson – Historian

“History is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to anyone on this planet.”
Dan Snow – Historian

We want our children to leave Bishop Alexander L.E.A.D. Academy being resilient, responsible, respectful, aspirational, caring and independent (our school values). We aim for children to be inspired by our History curriculum and develop and in depth knowledge of Britain and the wider world, both past and present. We want to make a difference in the lives of our children and ensure that they have a life-long passion for learning.

Through our History curriculum we aim to:

  • Develop all children’s understanding of their place in the world; to promote curiosity and fascination – to become and active learner with a passion for history
  • Develop in all children a sense of who they are, locally, nationally and globally
  • Develop well-rounded historians
  • Develop a knowledge of chronology within which children can organise their understanding of the past.

We do this through the three main concepts of History; Chronology, Historical Interpretation and Historical Enquiry.

Through our teaching of History: Chronology, Historical Interpretation and Historical Enquiry, we consistently aim to raise awareness of the subject and as a potential career field for the future. This enables children to broaden their horizons. Our children should leave our school knowing many different career prospects for historians. Careers which are inherently linked with the subject and also those which use the skills that History as a subject teaches.

Children should be excited by History and eager to learn more, questioning what they have learnt so far, and learn without limits. Our children will not be limited by their starting points or life experiences. We ensure that our curriculum gives children the many experiences they require to have a better understanding of the society in which they live.


Organisation and planning

How do we teach History?

Throughout our school, we aim for History to be taught through an enquiry-led approach. Using an enquiry-led approach means we support our children to ask their own questions and form their own opinions (and be willing to change them as reflective learners), and that ownership of their learning is with them and not just with the adult. We will explicitly teach children to analyse evidence and think critically to form their own opinions. We allow the children to develop their own ideas and develop their skills through carefully posed questions and the sources we use. We begin with a question, which can be posed by the teacher or the children (as they progress). Previous History topics are also to be referred to, to ensure children are developing an understanding of chronology and making links to different periods of time.

We ‘bring learning to life’ to ensure that children are passionate about History and, as we know social mobility is low in Newark, we try to give children experiences of the wider world. At Bishop Alexander, we make use of technology to access information and sources of the past. We use educational visits and residentials to give our children opportunities to experience history outside the classroom. We make sure that there are lots of opportunities for outdoor and physical learning experiences to excite children. They know that History is not just found analysing an artefact in the classroom or written in a book.

Our topics are structured so that the children can work through 3 key concepts of History: Chronology, Historical Interpretation and Historical Enquiry. This is how we define them:

  • Chronology: To develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history periods.
  • Historical Interpretation: Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts and make connections, and contrast and analyse trends.
  • Historical Enquiry: Understand how evidence is used to make historical claims, and question contrasting arguments and interpretations to gain an informed historical perspective on the world.

We structure our curriculum using whole school topics and we focus on specific subjects in blocks over a number of weeks. This enables us to go deeper into subjects and to make meaningful connections with other subjects.

In the Foundation Stage children develop crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world and form the foundation for historical work in Key Stage 1. They will:

  • Learn that they have similarities and differences that connect them to, and distinguish them from others
  • Remember and talk about significant events in their own experience
  • Develop an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time
  • Look closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change

In Key Stage 1 children will:

Being an Historian

  • Develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They will develop and understanding of where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They will have opportunities to ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They will gain an understanding of some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

Children will be taught about:

Historical content

  • Changes within living memory
  • Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally
  • The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some individuals will be used to compare aspects of life in different periods
  • Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality

In Key Stage 2 children will:

Being an Historian

  • Continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They will note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They will regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They will construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They will develop an understanding of how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

Children will be taught about:

Historical content

  • Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
  • The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
  • The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England
  • A local history study
  • A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • The achievements of the earliest civilizations
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history