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    Birch Class using artefacts from East Grinstead Museum to learn about toys in the past 


What does history look like at Forest Row Primary School?

The history curriculum at Forest Row Primary School aims to develop the active interest and enthusiasm of all groups of pupils. It provides opportunities for discovery and challenge and for pupils to take greater responsibility for their learning. We want our children to understand the complexity of other people’s lives and the process of change; the diversity of societies and relationships between distinct groups; as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time through the teaching of history. 

The intent of our history curriculum is to deliver a curriculum which is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more ensuring they are fully prepared for KS3. 

Our history curriculum intentions are:  

  • A history curriculum which develops learning and results in the acquisition of substantive knowledge (knowledge of the past) and disciplinary knowledge (how historians find out about the past and shape their arguments) which enables children to enquire, research and analyse in history.  
  • Where possible and relevant, links will be made between history and other curricular areas of study, key events nationally and locally, our individual student needs and prepare our pupils for KS3. 
  • A scheme of work which provides appropriate subject knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the EYFS and National Curriculum History Programmes of study.  
  • To fulfil the duties of the National Curriculum whereby schools must provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities and responsibilities and experiences for later life. 

Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, additional needs, to flourish and become loving adults who are forever inspired to learn and are ready for life’s adventures.  The curriculum carefully encompasses our 10 things to do before you leave Forest Row and staff ensure that they are carefully woven through the learning journeys. 

Our curriculum has been built to include our key curriculum drivers: 

The children are encouraged to develop our school values (fairness, respect, hope, responsibility, love and kindness and resilience) when studying history, with a specific focus on resilience as children are encouraged to use a variety of sources to research and recognise bias independently. We understand that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn history outside the classroom, with visits to historical sites and museums. Through our key concepts for all year groups, children’s historical enquiries will use a range of resources to interpret a range of diversity issues within history at least once in each key stage.  

In our curriculum we have also considered the journey of a child through the school, so that our curriculum is progressive, building on prior learning, and regularly revisiting taught concepts. Each class has a two-year rolling programme which has been designed specifically to match the needs of our school, ensuring all children meet the full programme of study outlined in the National Curriculum. 


Year 3 Stone Age project linking art and history by studying and recreating jewellery from                                                                  animal bones and teeth



How is the curriculum for history organised? 

To ensure coverage, depth and balance in the history curriculum, the subject leader has provided a range of planning materials:

Long term plan  

A 2-year rolling programme for each class to ensure coverage and progression is achieved ensuring students are fully prepared for KS3. The long-term plan details the substantive and disciplinary knowledge to be taught for each topic, with a key enquiry question which the topic is based around. Both substantive and disciplinary concepts are taught using a spiral curriculum, so they are constantly revisited throughout KS1 and KS2. 

Our substantive concepts are: archaeology, social justice, conflict, civilisation, monarchy and religion. 

Our disciplinary concepts are: similarities and differences, handling evidence, historical significance, change and continuity, cause and consequence and historical interpretation. 

Medium term plans

Details the substantive knowledge and sequence of lessons for each topic.

Substantive concept map  

Shows which class and topics have covered our different concepts so teachers can use this document to explicitly teach the range of concepts by building upon prior learning and enable the children to make links between different topics within the history curriculum. 

Progression document  

Details the progression of skills and knowledge we expect the children to make through their time at Forest Row Primary School. The progression document details progression from Year 1 all the way through to Year 6 and is split into chronological understanding, range and depth of historical knowledge, interpretations of history, historical enquiry and organisation and communication.

Vocabulary document  

Outlines general history vocabulary and specific vocabulary relating to all topics. This will be highlighted to the children at the beginning of lessons through hexagons and topic planners and revisited through subsequent learning and knowledge recap quizzes.


Each classroom has a timeline which records their history learning and enables them to put new learning in the context of old learning. Chronology is explicitly taught from EYFS and through KS1 to ensure children have a clear understanding as they enter Ks2.  


A document which outlines a variety of ways a topic can be enhanced. Examples include:

  • artefacts from East Grinstead Museum
  • trips within the local area
  • workshops from outside specialists
  • speaking and listening opportunities.

Sticky Knowledge

A document which outlines the key bits of knowledge and skills which need to be recapped the following academic year to ensure they are embedded.



                      Talking in role as Florence Nightingale or a wounded soldier 


How do we teach history? 

We teach history in a variety of ways as outlined below:

  • Use of artefacts Where possible we use a range of visual stimulus such as artefacts, videos and photographs for children to explore and investigate. We believe that handling real objects enhances the children’s historical knowledge, resourcefulness, understanding and skills.  
  • Use of sources / bias We aim for children to recognise that bias exists in some form in all historical sources, and this needs to be accounted for in their interpretation of evidence. 
  • Technology The use of ICT including web-based resources and VR headsets enhances the students learning experience. 
  • Recap and retrieval Use of recap quizzes and hexagons to ensure children are revisiting prior learning to enable them to build on existing knowledge therefore enabling them to know more and remember more.
  • Active learning We recognise that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn history outside the classroom, with visits to historical sites and museums. For example, visit to Newhaven Fort in Year 5 and 6 when studying the Second World War or inviting a grandparent in to talk about toys from the past to Year 1 and 2. We have also put together our own outdoor learning experiences for example, Year 3 visited Ashdown Forest to travel back in time and immerse themselves in Stone Age life.

Approaches to teaching 

A wide variety of teaching approaches are used in history lessons to ensure children make good progress, and all learning styles are catered for. Class teachers ensure there is a good balance of whole class, group work and individual learning in history lessons. We also aim to incorporate links to our speaking and listening curriculum with presentations by teachers, visitors and children; drama and role play; discussions and debates and themed days or weeks to inspire all learners.


Our curriculum is organised so children in reception meet the aims of EYFS framework. The early learning goals are taken from Understanding our world and are as follows:

  • Talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society.
  • Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
  • Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.

How do we support our SEND learners? 

We believe that all learners should primarily access the first quality teach and be immersed in class discussions during history lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners can be found on the SEND humanities webpage.  Our Inclusion Lead – Tracie Light- monitors all SEND adaptations and parents are fully involved.


             A fantastic finish for our Year 1 & 2 Great Fire of London Learning Journey 

Cycle B Long Term History Plan 2023-2024

history cycle b long term plan .pdf




Cycle A Long Term History Plan 2024-2025


history cycle a long term plan .pdf


 Example Medium Term Plan (Year 2)


example medium term plan docx.pdf


Substantive Concept Map

history key concepts map.pdf


 Progression of Skills Document


progression of skills in history web.pdf


Key History Vocabulary


history vocabulary .pdf


History Lesson Enhancements 


history enhancements to support cycle b.pdf




history enhancements to support cycle a.pdf


Sticky Knowledge 


history sticky knowledge september 2023 docx.pdf


National Curriculum Coverage 

history national curriculum coverage at forest row c of e primary school.pdf


History in EYFS


learning in eyfs what history subject leaders need to know.pdf


           Willow Class researching Remembrance Day and seeing our school wreath



All our staff, senior leaders and governors are involved in measuring the impact of our history curriculum in differing ways. This is planned through the School Development Plan, using our annual monitoring cycle.

Nicky Upton as subject leader ensures there is a clear monitoring cycle in place which evaluates history teaching and learning, outcomes and pupil voice. These outcomes feed into action planning to continually evaluate and improve our teaching and learning in history. 

Recent pupil voice carried out by the subject leader (April 23) has found that:

When asked if pupils' enjoyed learning about history, some replies included:

"History makes me think and leaves me with questions to answer at home.”

"I like looking at old pictures.”

"I learn lots of stuff which is fun."

"The VR workshop was incredible.” 

Children from all classes proudly showed off their learning journey books and were able to recall key knowledge from history topics. An example included a Y2 child who had studied Grace Darling and was able to recall the date 1838 and discuss how and where Grace Darling performed the rescue and why it made her a significant individual.

When asked about how they know they have made progress, children could talk about lots of different ways such as teacher feedback, hexagons and recap quizzes.  Children liked how at the end of a unit they could return to their hexagons from the first lesson (used to assess prior knowledge), and add a lot more detail about that particular topic than they’d been able to at the start.  

How do we review and assess learning in history?

We assess children’s work in history by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons, using hexagons at the beginning of a lesson to recap prior learning and with the use of ‘quick recap quizzes’ for assessment of fact retrieval. We mark a piece of work once it has been completed and we comment, as necessary. The children respond to marking in purple pen to further develop their learning.  An assessment is recorded in the pupils’ end of year report. Formative assessments are made against Key End Points (see History End Points webpage). 

Monitoring and evaluation could include: 

  • A review of learning in books 
  • Lesson observations  
  • Evaluation of the impact of staff professional development  
  • A review of medium-term planning  
  • Talking to pupils about learning in history
  • Governor review meetings to evaluate the impact of the curriculum - this could be reviewing the website or the curriculum offer, talking to staff and pupils.

                         Birch Class Research on Mary Seacole

                                                    Whole School Remembrance Day Visit