History at Elburton

“History, the study of the past, is all around us; we are continually making history through our thoughts, words and actions. History is personal and global; it is everyday life and momentous occasions. History is about people.

Through our study of the past, we can understand how our own world works. We can also understand how and why things happen to us. For example, had you ever wondered why the polar ice caps are melting? The answer partially lies in history. The Industrial Revolution caused the birth of industrial towns and factories, belching out smoke and pollution. It also caused the mechanisation of society, adding to the pollution. Could this partially explain the pollution problems that we face today? History is not just about the past!” - Melanie Jones, Historical Association




History has always been held in high regard at Elburton Primary School, with the school’s own rich history within the context of the local area being a celebrated and inspiring feature of the school.

History is taught throughout the school to help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. In doing so, children’s historical curiosity is inspired allowing them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. Children will also begin to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time (National Curriculum 2014).

It is our intention that pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating and connecting substantive and disciplinary historical knowledge.

  • Substantive knowledge (know what) – this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content of each unit of work.
  • Disciplinary knowledge (know how) – their knowledge about how historians investigate the past and how they construct historical claims, arguments and accounts. It is through disciplinary knowledge that children gradually become more expert by thinking like a historian.

The history curriculum at Elburton ensures that children develop a deep knowledge of the key substantive and second order historical concepts as they revisit them through a range of knowledge-rich units of work. Substantive concepts are part of the substance or content knowledge in a subject; in our history curriculum, these are:

The key Second Order Concepts in our history curriculum help to shape the key questions asked in the subject and to organise the subject knowledge. The concept of chronology is seen as a ‘golden thread’ running through all aspects of our history curriculum. 

Using these Key Second Order Concepts, children are able to plan and carry out historical enquiries using a range of sources where they draw contrasts, analyse trends and create their own historical accounts. In doing so, children learn how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed. 

Units of work are informed by the National Curriculum and are sensitive to children’s interests as well as the context of the local area. The history curriculum at Elburton is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy.




History is taught in blocks throughout the year so that children achieve depth in their learning. Teachers have identified the key knowledge and skills of each unit and consideration has been given to ensure appropriate progression is achieved across units throughout each year group and across the school. By the end of year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Maya.

Cross curricular outcomes in history are specifically planned for, with strong links between the history curriculum and the children’s English lessons enabling further contextual learning. The local area is also fully utilised to achieve the desired outcomes, with opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice. Planning is informed by and aligned with the national curriculum.

Consideration is given to how greater depth will be taught, learnt and demonstrated within each lesson, as well as how learners will be supported in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge. Within our knowledge-rich approach, there is a strong emphasis on people and the community of our local area.




Outcomes in history books, evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. Children review their learning at the end of every lesson and revisit this at the start of their next lesson to embed key concepts; they are also encouraged to review their understanding at the end of each unit and draw comparisons to their starting points. Emphasis is placed on developing curiosity, analytical thinking and questioning which helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Through this study, pupils learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.

For further detail on our progression model and policy, please click on the tabs below.

Mr Stuart Griggs

History Lead

Mrs Sarah Bates

History Lead (Supporting)