Water Leys

Primary School


History at Water Leys

"Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Winston Churchill

Intent – What we are trying to achieve?

• It is our intent that in studying History, pupils will develop a well-rounded knowledge of the past and its events, with the aim of also improving every child’s cultural capital, understanding of the world around them and their own heritage.

• At Water Leys, we aim for a high quality history curriculum which should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the Britain’s past and that of the wider world.

• Our teaching equips pupils with knowledge about the history of Britain and how it has influenced and been influenced by the wider world; about significant aspects of the history of the wider world like ancient civilisations and empires; about changes in living memory and beyond living memory; learn about the lives of significant people of the past; understand the methods of historical enquiry and be able to ask and answer questions.

• We want children to enjoy and love learning about history by gaining this knowledge, not just through experiences in the classroom, but also with the use of fieldwork and educational visits.

At Water Leys Primary School, we have designed our History curriculum with the intent that our children will:

  • Become increasingly critical and analytical thinkers
  • Possess a secure understanding of the chronology of the British Isles and other important periods of History
  • Discover links and connections to the History they learn and their wider community and locality
  • Further their knowledge of change over time with regards to the history of the British Isles and other societies and epochs
  • Differentiate between source types and explain how interpretations in History may differ
  • Draw on similarities and differences within given time frames and across previously taught History
  • Enquire in to Historical themed questions and form their own opinions and interpretation of the past

Implementation – How do we translate our vision into practice?

• History at Water Leys is taught in blocked themes throughout the year. Our History curriculum has been tightly mapped against the National Curriculum to ensure that all expectations are met. Every year group has a timetabled teaching slot as part of our broad and balanced curriculum.

• At Water Leys, we use a commercial Scheme of work that forms the basis of our History curriculum. This has been adapted to meet the local needs of our learners. For example, through the study of our local history in Year 1 and the study of King Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth.

• Subject Leaders have worked carefully with teachers to identify the key knowledge in each topic (Our Water Leys Rocks) and these are mapped across the school, ensuring that knowledge builds progressively. This enables our pupils to know more, do more and remember more. Through the development of our ROCKs and with the support of the scheme of work, teachers have developed their own subject knowledge to become ‘History Experts’.

• Themes have been planned to ensure that knowledge is built sequentially. This ensures that the pupils are secure in their prior knowledge, enabling them to deepen their understanding. The History curriculum has also been planned to ensure that it builds on the knowledge developed within our Geography curriculum. For example, in Year 6, our pupils learn about the human and physical geography of Mexico in their Geography lessons before learning about the Mayans in their History lessons.

• In KS1: Pupils develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They know 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 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 understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.

• In KS2: Pupils 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 note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical Knowledge. They are taught to understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.

• Existing knowledge is assessed and activated at the beginning of each topic. This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points and allows pupils to regularly revisit learning to ensure that it is remembered in the long term.

• Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.

• Where appropriate we use historical artefacts, visitors, workshops and visits to excite and intrigue our children to find out more about events and people from the past.

• Learning will be supported through the use of knowledge organisers that provide children with scaffolding that supports them to retain new facts and vocabulary in their long-term memory. Knowledge organisers are used for pre-teaching, to support home learning and also as a part of daily review and recap.

• Learning will also take place through commemorative events. Remembrance provides a time for children to come together to reflect on the services and sacrifices made and to join in with each other to provide a brighter, peaceful future.

• Learning is representative of the past, including the study of Black Historical Figures who have made significant contributions throughout history. Black figures are included in our history topics where appropriate, with the study of Mary Seacole and Ruby Bridges in KS1 and Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela in KS2. In Year 6, the children learn about the Atlantic Slave Trade. We also take part in Black History Month in order to talk in depth about the achievements that Black people have made and the impact that they had in cultivating change and shaping the world in which we live. We look into the achievements of athletes, poets, authors, actors, musicians and activists.

Impact – What is the impact of our curriculum on the students?

By the time the children at Water Leys leave our school, they should have developed:

• A secure knowledge of chronology where they are able to Sequence events, stories, pictures to show how different times relate to each other.

• A secure knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from the historical periods covered. The ability to think critically about history and communicate confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.

• A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.

• A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements.

• An understanding of how significant historical events, people and places within their local area have been affected and changed due to events in the past

Whole School Curriculum Map - History


Autumn 2

Spring 2

Summer 2


My Family

Toys from the past 

What does it mean to be famous? 

Year 1


Homes in the Past



Childhood: Then and Now




Year 2

Florence Nightingale

and Mary Seacole



The Great Fire London



Seaside Past and Present

Year 3

Stone Age Britain

Changes in Britain from the stone age to the Iron age

The Egyptians




The Roman Empire

Year 4

The Anglo Saxons



The Vikings



Local History Study- Battle of Bosworth Richard III

Year 5

The Battle of Britain

Significant turning points

The Tudor Period



Ancient Greece

Year 6

The Mayans


Crime and Punishment


The Atlantic Slave Trade