Every Child Achieves

Every Child Achieves

 National Curriculum and the history curriculum progression model – our aims 


  • At Keeble Gateway Academy, we offer a broad, inclusive history curriculum, based on the National Curriculum and the Elevate curriculum progression model for history. We have carefully designed a knowledge-rich curriculum, underpinned by a progression of skills. Through our school’s core values of aspiration and self-belief, we equip children to make excellent progress in history by knowing and remembering more history content, as set out in our curriculum document. Wherever possible, knowledge has been organised chronologically to allow children to develop a clear chronological understanding of the past. The knowledge and skills build incrementally so that, by the end of Key Stage 2, children can know, understand and apply the subject content taught and be fully prepared for their secondary school history learning. 


  • Our history curriculum is based on the following academic fingerprint: 


Children will... 

  • Have secure knowledge and understanding of the past on a local, national and global scale;
  • Analyse sources, weigh up evidence and ask  questions about the past;
  • Become confident in their understanding of key historical concepts (disciplinary knowledge), including continuity and change, cause and consequence; similarity, difference, sources and evidence, interpretation and significance;
  • Make connections and create structured accounts, including, but not limited to, written responses;
  • Grow in their curiosity and enthusiasm about the past;
  • Understand the diversity of different cultures and societies, as well as their own identities. 

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In brief, we have designed our history curriculum based on the following areas of knowledge and skills stated below. 


Substantive knowledge 

In history, we recognise that substantive knowledge refers specifically to knowledge of the past, which includes... 

  • Topic knowledge – for pupils to engage meaningfully with the past, they need a rich knowledge of the period/place/society that they’re studying 
  • Chronological knowledge – pupils need a secure overview of major developments and periods to contextualise new knowledge. In KS2, we ensure children learn secure narratives across and within periods. This is partly why we have designed the history curriculum with optional local history studies for years 4 and 6 – in line with the National Curriculum requirements – because we recognise that some units take a higher quantity of weeks to teach effectively and in depth than others. 
  • Knowledge of substantive concepts – these are the concepts that are referred to as the historical threads in the Elevate Trust history curriculum progression model and include settlement, beliefs, culture, food and farming, travel and exploration, conflict, monarchy and politics and technological advances. 


Disciplinary knowledge – knowledge of history as a discipline (key concepts) 

We recognise that pupils need to develop an awareness of how historians construct knowledge about the past. The areas of disciplinary knowledge taught are called second-order concepts. Each history unit has one or two focus second order concepts, including the following: 

  • Cause and consequence 
  • Change and continuity 
  • Similarity and difference 
  • Historical significance 
  • Sources and evidence 
  • Historical interpretations 


However, at Keeble Gateway Academy, we recognise that while focus concepts have been provided for KS1 to help focus planning for teachers, these do not need to be taught explicitly to children. Children should instead focus on building substantive knowledge. Then, in KS2, children start to be introduced explicitly to the different second order concepts and understand how they are used by historians. Particularly in UKS2, we recognise how children should be introduced to specific historians and their work, understanding how they have come to historical conclusions. 


Disciplinary knowledge – knowledge of history as a discipline (key historical skills) 

The children’s awareness of these concepts is developed through the progression of historical skills. These include chronological understanding, using a range of historical knowledge (which particularly links to the concepts of similarity and difference), sources and interpretation, historical enquiry and organisation and communication. 

How has the history curriculum been organised as a whole? How were decisions made when deciding what to include or leave out? 




Children are first introduced to the concept of history through ‘Understanding the World’, as set out in the EYFS framework, which involves guiding the children to make sense of their physical world and community. The extent of this learning is underpinned by the ‘Past and Present’ ELG.  



In Year 1, the children start by looking at changes within living memory (last c. 100 years) as this is the easiest concept for them to grasp at a young age. In the first and second units, children will use concrete artefacts, as well as the oral history of parents/grandparents to support with this. In the third unit, children will be introduced to the idea of significant figures, looking at people within living memory. 


In Year 2, children start by looking at a significant figure within the local area, but beyond living memory. We recognise at Keeble that, while this is notably a progressive step from Year 1, the fact that the significant figure is from the local area provides that layer of support for the children, allowing them to make personal links to this individual, without the new learning being too abstract. The children then move on to looking at an event beyond living memory, which is significant nationally or internationally (again, an appropriately progressive next step). Finally, they study two significant figures beyond living memory. 



In KS2, our history curriculum is organised chronologically. This allows our children to develop a strong chronological understanding as they progress through the key stage. Furthermore, this prepares our children for KS3, where in many schools, British history is taught in chronological order, continuing from KS2 learning. 


In Year 3, children start with local history post 1066. This links to their local history learning from KS1 and introduces the children to KS2 history in a geographical area that is familiar to them. Children then start their British History learning with the Stone Age to Iron Age, before moving onto learning about a First Civilisation (occurring at the same time as the Stone Age/Bronze Age, which shows the children that different historical periods can take place at the same time, but across different parts of the world). 


In Year 4, children continue chronologically by learning about Ancient Greece. They refer back to their Year 3 knowledge of the Iron Age to ‘pin’ Ancient Greece chronologically. Year 4 then moves on to look at Roman Britain. 


In Year 5, the children begin by studying the Anglo-Saxons and Scots (pre-Viking invasion). They move on to studying a non-European society c. 900 AD, which is compared to their understanding of Saxon society. Year 5 ends with the study of a theme over time (post-1066) within the local/regional area - for example, crime and punishment. 


In Year 6, the children start with the Vikings and Saxons up to 1066. They then move to a theme study of a ‘turning point’ in British history post-1066. This gives our children a chance to study some British history beyond our pre-1066 focus and is a good opportunity to look at one or both World Wars. 


In all, the above approach to teaching history and the strategic development of substantive and disciplinary knowledge across all year groups allows children at Keeble Gateway Academy to – put it simply – get better at history, referring to their understanding of the complex aspects of historical events, eras and people and the way they develop their understanding of key historical concepts and skills to construct this knowledge.   

What is the rationale behind the content taught in each history unit? 


  • Continuing with the transparency of our core values of ‘aspiration’ and ‘self-belief’, the curriculum shows strong fidelity to the National Curriculum and matches the scope and ambition set out in the NC document for history. At Keeble, we aim for all pupils to make excellent progress in history, and we recognise that this is only achievable through strategic content selection. Children must have knowledge of the complex features of past events and societies to make progress. Therefore, we ensure that teachers consider the following when planning history sequences: 
  • The effectiveness of a topic for building knowledge to support later learning (such as important substantive concepts) 
  • The importance of a topic for securing chronological understanding 
  • The importance of a topic for ensuring adequate scope across the curriculum 
  • Making effective use of secure prior knowledge to allow pupils to learn about new periods, events and societies (as evident in Keeble’s policy on having interactive and progressive history timelines in each classroom, as detailed in this overview) 


How is the big idea maintained in the detail of a single lesson? 


  • Fidelity is given to the overarching unit objectives when it comes to planning the coverage of knowledge, skills and vocabulary from the history curriculum progression model. Teachers constantly refer to the following key questions to ensure the big idea of the unit is maintained in the detail of a single lesson: What do you want the children to know or be able to do? How will I model it? How will I check that every child is secure with their learning? What is my plan B? Where are the misconceptions likely to be? What have I prepared in order to mitigate the impact of these potential misconceptions?  


How are history units mapped out across the year? 


  • As with all of the foundation subjects, we recognise history as a discrete discipline and a subject that is taught weekly, allowing sufficient time for effective teaching and learning. We aim to inspire and challenge our children through a safe and happy learning environment to achieve excellent standards in history across all year groups from Nursery-Year 6. 
  • Some year groups have 3 history units to teach across the year while other year groups may have 2, with an optional local history study. We affirm that the teaching of history units should be considered over a quantity of ‘weeks’ to ensure effective coverage of knowledge and skills objectives. Some units may take more weeks to teach than others; therefore, it’s important to recognise this in order to give fidelity to the history content that we teach. We are strategic in our curriculum design and delivery; every decision has been carefully thought out to ensure excellent standards in the teaching of history to optimise pupil progress. 
  • The order of teaching the ‘small steps’ in each history unit is primarily based upon ensuring the most coherent acquisition of knowledge to ensure quicker and more detailed grasp of subsequent events. 


How do we recognise and value children’s local and personal history? 


  • Through the teaching of local history studies in years 1, 2 and 3, with the optional local studies scheduled for year 4 and 6, children develop historical knowledge about significant people and events that are local to them. This promotes a sense of belonging and identify, making connections with local, national and global history.  


What is the relationship between history and other subjects?  


  • School-wide policy recognises history as a fundamental subject in helping children define their sense of belonging in the wider world. The establishment of school ‘houses’, based on local heroes and linked to local places, helps children make connections to significant events and people on a local scale. These houses at Keeble have been named after Bumby, Lord, Hodgson and Herriot. Notably, Herriot was a significant veterinary surgeon in Thirsk and is widely celebrated today in our local area – there is a local James Herriot Museum in the centre of Thirsk, and we invited James Herriot’s daughter into school as a guest speaker to share with us the key achievements of James Herriot (her dad) as a significant individual in our local area. 
  • Through our aim of ensuring every child will read fluently and develop a love of reading, we use high quality texts to compliment the teaching of history. These are selected from a list of high-quality texts (fiction and non-fiction), which were compiled by me and Elevate Trust’s select group of subject specialists within the Curriculum Team. Using texts in whole-class reading that link with the history unit focus helps the children further consolidate their historical substantive knowledge. 


What does assessment and curriculum reflection look like? 


  • Formative assessment is timely and well-focused throughout every history lesson to ensure a high level of rigor. Teachers assesses the children’s knowledge, skills and vocabulary based on the progressive nature of the history curriculum progression model.  
  • Best practise is regularly communicated between the teaching team at Keeble to instil a high level of thoroughness and reflectiveness in the teaching of history. The ongoing work and interactions between myself (Lucy Anderson - Keeble’s Curriculum Leader) and Elevate Trust’s Curriculum Working Party allows for continuous curriculum construction and revision. I can gain effective oversight of subject implementation and promote effective subject leadership. 
  • Curriculum design and adaptation is also informed by Keeble’s rigorous formative assessment policy ‘Keep up – not catch up’ and the sharing of best practise - as mentioned above. 


How do we mitigate the historical concepts that are trickier to teach? 


  • We ensure to be mindful of implied competencies when planning sequences of history learning, such as vocabulary, interpreting information and reading so that all children can make excellent progress in history. With over 20% of children at Keeble having SEN, key teaching approaches include pre-teaching of pertinent vocabulary, which is clearly displayed on history working walls in every classroom and the use of visuals and concrete objects to support concepts, including sources of evidence in the form of photographs, illustrations and artefacts and visual history timelines in every classroom.  
  • At Keeble Gateway Academy, we have partnered up with local museums and regularly hire loan boxes of sources of evidence from a particular historical era. These provide the children with real-life interactions with the historical period that they’re studying. Please see examples below of Year 3’s museum in the classroom exhibitions for their Stone Age to Iron Age unit and their Ancient Egypt unit.