History Aims

The National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • know and understand the story of these islands: how the British people shaped this nation and how Britain influenced the world
  • know and understand British history as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the story of the first settlers in these islands to the development of the institutions which govern our lives today
  • know and understand the broad outlines of European and world history: the growth and decline of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; the achievements and follies of mankind
  • gain and deploy a historically-grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • understand how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught about the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome.
In addition, across Key Stages 2 and 3, pupils should be taught the essential chronology of Britain’s history. This will serve as an essential frame of reference for more in-depth study. Pupils should be made aware that history takes many forms, including cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history. Pupils should be taught about key dates, events and significant individuals. They should also be given the opportunity to study local history.
Pupils should be taught the following chronology of British history sequentially:

  • early Britons and settlers, including:
    • the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages
    • Celtic culture and patterns of settlement
  • Roman conquest and rule, including:
    • Caesar, Augustus, and Claudius
    • Britain as part of the Roman Empire
    • the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire
  • Anglo-Saxon and Viking settlement, including:
    • the Heptarchy
    • the spread of Christianity
    • key developments in the reigns of Alfred, Athelstan, Cnut and Edward the
    • Confessor
  • the Norman Conquest and Norman rule, including:
    • the Domesday Book ? feudalism
    • Norman culture
    • the Crusades
  • Plantagenet rule in the 12th and 13th centuries, including:
    • key developments in the reign of Henry II, including the murder of Thomas Becket
    • Magna Carta
    • de Montfort's Parliament
  • relations between England, Wales, Scotland and France, including:
    • William Wallace
    • Robert the Bruce
    • Llywelyn and Dafydd ap Gruffydd
      the Hundred Years War
  • life in 14th-century England, including:
    • chivalry
    • the Black Death
    • the Peasants’ Revolt
  • the later Middle Ages and the early modern period, including:
    • Chaucer and the revival of learning
    • Wycliffe’s Bible
    • Caxton and the introduction of the printing press ? the Wars of the
    • Roses
    • Warwick the Kingmaker
  • the Tudor period, including religious strife and Reformation in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary
  • Elizabeth I's reign and English expansion, including:
    • colonisation of the New World
    • plantation of Ireland
    • conflict with Spain
  • the Renaissance in England, including the lives and works of individuals such as Shakespeare and Marlowe
  • the Stuart period, including:
    • the Union of the Crowns
    • King versus Parliament
    • Cromwell's commonwealth, the Levellers and the Diggers ? the restoration of the monarchy
    • the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London
    • Samuel Pepys and the establishment of the Royal Navy
  • the Glorious Revolution, constitutional monarchy and the Union of the Parliaments.