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History at Northern

Our Statement of Intent for History


“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

― L.P. Hartley


Our intent at Northern is to make the study of history engaging, relatable and spark a curiosity about the past through a question-based approached to our curriculum. Throughout the school we ensure all aspects of the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1, 2 and EYFS are covered in a way that challenges children to push their historical skills and see the past as living, breathing people just like them rather than as dry sequence of events and dates that are distant and meaningless. To that end, we have organised our curriculum around 4 key aspects that can be readily applied to any period of time, including the present, to enable children to compare and contrast their own lives today, as well as easily compare different time periods to secure a good understanding of chronology.


Concepts we cover across school in different 

The role of women in that time period

How children were treated

Leadership and governments

Migration and movement

Inventions and technology

Societal changes through food and drink

Entertainment and culture


By studying these universal human experiences we hope to bring history to life in a meaningful way for children at Northern. Please see below for a detailed breakdown of coverage and progression through the school. 

Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Reception class, History is taught as an integral part of topic work covered during the year.  History is about having the opportunities to find out and learn about the world they live in and discover the meaning of new and old in relation to their own lives. 


History makes a significant contribution to the development of each child’s knowledge and understanding of the World. We provide activities such as examining photos of themselves at birth and looking for change over time, using stories that introduce a sense of time and people from the past, comparing artefacts from different times e.g. teddies, and making the most of opportunities to value children’s histories from their own and other cultures.

Key Stage One

During Key Stage 1 children learn about people’s lives and lifestyles from different periods in the past.  They listen to and respond to stories and use sources of information to help them ask and answer questions. They learn how the past is different from the present and learn how artefacts and other sources can help us to find out about the past. 

Key Stage Two

During Key Stage 2 children learn about significant people, events and places from both recent and more distant past. They learn about change and continuity in their own area, in Britain and in other parts of the world. They look at history in a variety of ways covering substantive concepts such as civilisation, trade, tax, monarchy, empire and religion. They use different sources of information to help them investigate the past both in depth and in overview, using dates and historical vocabulary to describe events, people and developments. They also learn that the past can be represented and interpreted in different ways.

Our Curriculum

History work within the school has been carefully organised around concepts and skills to provide continuation to develop a breadth of knowledge and understanding. The organisation of the topics and skills covered ensures that the development throughout each phase builds on children’s previous work. Our key question based approach is designed to push not only children's historical investigative skills but our overall ethos of a love of learning and challenging misconceptions.

Progression of Skills In History

History Policy 2023-24