At Barnehurst, it is our aim to instil a love of History in all our children so that they learn how historians and others construct accounts about the past, building on and challenging or refining the work of others. We provide an interesting, varied and balanced curriculum that intrigues our children while meeting the needs of all backgrounds, cultures, and abilities. We understand that the study of history ignites children’s curiosity about the past in our local community, Britain and the wider world. History enables children to develop a context for their growing sense of identity and an empathy for others as they think beyond their current frame of reference to see other points of view. It provides a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people, enabling them to make links in their learning. What they learn through history can affect their decisions about personal choices, attitudes, and our school values. At Barnehurst, we are Believing, Achieving and Succeeding together, and this means that in History, all children have access to a rich curriculum that meets their needs and challenges them, enabling success.


Through our History curriculum, we develop children to become free thinkers and the ability to use their enquiry minds to ask questions. Our History curriculum helps children to develop their voices, to share their opinions about the past and to enable them to make a positive difference to the world they are living in. Children at Barnehurst, will learn about the successes, but also the mistakes of the past through key knowledge webs (schemas) which have been developed through their time in the school. This will then help them with their understanding of key issues linked to social justice and inequality. At Barnehurst, through our History curriculum, we ensure that our increasingly diverse cohort of children are represented and can see themselves and their heritage. We also ensure that all stereotypes such as gender equality are challenged too.




History lessons are thoughtfully structured to enhance long-term learning by following a well organised six-phase approach: Connect, Explain, Example, Attempt, Apply, and Challenge. In the "Connect" phase, students establish a connection between prior knowledge and the new historical topic, which aids in activating relevant schemas and preparing the mind for learning. The "Explain" phase provides a solid foundation by presenting key historical concepts, events, and context, ensuring that students grasp the fundamental elements of the subject. Following this, the "Example" phase allows the teacher to demonstrate the new concept. In the "Attempt" phase, students engage in hands-on activities or discussions to reinforce their understanding. The "Apply" phase encourages students to use their knowledge in different historical scenarios or projects, enhancing memory retention through active application. Finally, the "Challenge" phase stimulates critical thinking and encourages students to delve deeper into the subject matter, fostering a long-term engagement with history and facilitating the integration of knowledge into their long-term memory. This structured approach not only supports immediate learning but also lays a robust foundation for pupils' lifelong historical understanding and retention.


See example of the 6 phases being taught in Year 3 below:







Here is an example of our History schema document showing how the schema ‘Invention and Science” is developed and progressed.




At Barnehurst, the study of history employs a diverse range of language, including tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary, starting from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and progressing throughout our pupil’s academic journey. In the EYFS, children begin to develop their historical awareness by learning basic concepts and terms such as "past," "present," "ancient," and "modern." As they advance through their education, their historical vocabulary expands to include tier 2 words like "civilisation," "democracy," and "empire," which help them contextualise historical events and themes. Additionally, they delve into tier 3 language, which consists of specialised and subject specific terminology relevant to historical periods and topics, such as "invasion” and “colonies.” This rich linguistic progression equips students with the tools needed to engage deeply with historical content, analyse primary sources, and formulate informed interpretations, making history an essential subject for developing language skills and historical literacy.


The History curriculum provides opportunities for children to develop their cultural capital. This is achieved through well-planned development of schemas throughout the school, which ensures that there is a long-term depth of learning and development of ‘word power’ through the direct teaching of high level subject specific vocabulary. Every year, all children will enhance their cultural capital by participating in a historical based visit which will support their classroom-based learning. At Barnehurst, we provide a range of historic assemblies, which are linked to key events and memorial days such as Remembrance, Guy Fawkes and the Holocaust. Overtime, children will understand how the past influences the present and that they can learn from this and improve their future choices, as global citizens.






Here is Year 5’s knowledge organiser for their unit on the Windrush Generation.




At Barnehurst, our history curriculum has been shaped by historic past events and is underpinned by significant global citizens who have impacted our world positively. For example, our classroom names have been meticulously chosen to represent these significant individuals so that our pupils understand, appreciate and aspire to be like them. At Barnehurst, we teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression map and a whole school long term plan. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on, year by year, and sequenced appropriately, using a schema approach, to maximise learning for all pupils. We believe it is important for our pupils to develop the progressive skills of a historian throughout their time at Barnehurst ensuring that there is a philosophy of knowing more rather than just simply remembering facts. As a result, and to further enhance curriculum opportunities, there is a requirement that each class has a history themed school trip. For example, pupils in Year three previously visited a local historic ruin to help support their unit on the Stone Age. Across the school, pupils at Barnehurst are presented with a main key historic question (KHQ) at the beginning of each unit. Over the term, pupils will then answer smaller, broken down questions to help them find the answer to their main historic question. As aspiring historians, pupils will have the necessary skills to research, interpret evidence (including primary and secondary sources) and have the necessary skills to argue for their point of view; a skill that will help them in their adult life and across other subjects too.

At Barnehurst, we assess against our Historic ‘building blocks.’ Historic building blocks are divided into four main categories. These are ‘Investigate and interpret,’ ‘Historical overview,’ ‘Chronology,’ and ‘Historian vocabulary.’ All building blocks are presented on each year group’s unit maps and inform the class teacher what needs to be assessed. All assessments are written down using the school’s ‘wider curriculum’ document.


Examples of historic building blocks



At Barnehurst, unit maps, provided to staff, enable them to develop their subject knowledge prior to teaching a particular unit. This gives staff the support to teach history both confidently and effectively to our pupils. These unit maps highlight new knowledge that gets broken into historical key connectors. This new knowledge is used by children in an enquiry approach in order to solve a Key Historical Question. Subject specific vocabulary is also clearly evident and supports staff when teaching. Each unit map also highlights significant figures or storied including ethnic minority groups from each time period to ensure that all children can see themselves in our History. 



                       An example of Year 3’s unit map for ‘Prehistoric Britain.


Each key concept is tracked across our History curriculum to provide clarity of depth an to ensure that children have multiple opportunities to master each concept. This table shows  examples of which key concepts are covered in which units and in which year groups. 


In addition, teachers provide pupils with well written and informative knowledge organisers to support pupils’ learning through each unit so that key information can be revisited and revised.



Our pupils present their work in various ways. These can be handwritten in global citizenship books and also shown using practical activities such as re-enactments, hot seating and drama strategies. In class, teachers model expectations and are continuously using assessment for learning strategies to give relevant feedback to pupils.


Our pupils present their work in various ways. These can be handwritten in global citizenship books and also shown using practical activities such as re-enactments, hot seating and drama strategies. In class, teachers model expectations and are continuously using assessment for learning strategies to give relevant feedback to pupils.


Each classroom has a history working wall to help further support our pupils’ learning. Working walls contain many pieces of key information such key vocabulary, images, facts and interesting information. In addition, each classroom has a large historic timeline showing key historic events taught within our curriculum, so that pupils are able to develop a chronological understanding of the past. 


An example of a time line used in the classroom.


  Throughout EYFS and Year 1 we have a continuous provision. Teachers have created wonderful areas which create a real awe and wonder. These areas are assessable throughout the term providing opportunities for children to engage in and apply their historical learning.


At Barnehurst, our mastery approach across the school ensures that no pupil is left behind. Our ambition is that all pupils, regardless of ability, complete the same work so that everyone can unlock their full potential. Teachers achieve this in History by providing good modelled examples of work, using a variety of primary and secondary resources and giving pupils good, quality sentence stems to initiate discussion and answers. 






In History, pupils are given opportunities to further develop their learning. Teachers choose challenging and appropriate questions, within lessons, to initiate discussions and debates which allow pupils to develop a greater depth of knowledge. At Barnehurst, to give our pupils further opportunities to display their depth of learning, teachers provide them with a reflection sticker at the end of each history lesson. A reflection sticker contains a pre-planned question which will ask pupils to explain or justify themselves about the lesson’s key historic question (KHQ). As a result, this allows our pupils to establish a secure understanding of the lesson and provides them an opportunity to further show their depth of learning. 




An example of a reflection sticker being used to promote and show greater depth learning.