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History - The Subject Story



At Bourne Primary School, we aim to show children that History does not just belong in the past; it is an ever -changing narrative which shapes our present lives too. Our History skills-led curriculum aims to exceed the scope and ambition of the National Curriculum. It prioritises the development of skills through in depth-studies of people, events, stories and ideas from the past. Although we encourage cross-curricular thinking where appropriate, History is taught as a discrete subject to ensure the integrity of the discipline is kept intact and that children understand their own skills as young historians. Outcomes of the learning for each History lesson are explicitly linked to the skills-led learning objectives.

We place the acquisition of History related vocabulary at the forefront of our curriculum. As part of the continuing review of our History provision, we are exploring the most effective ways to teach this vocabulary, which is essential for all children (but in particular our SEND and EAL learners) in continuing to develop skills and the understanding of concepts.

Central to the sequencing of teaching at Bourne are the Second Order Concepts, around which the curriculum structured. We teach History skills through carefully selected content (substantive concepts) to support the understanding of the second order concepts. Children progress in History at Bourne through opportunities to demonstrate greater knowledge and depth of understanding and the development of increasingly more complex skills. Through our rolling review, we are able to reflect on our own practice, asking for example ‘How is Year 2 history different from Year 6 history?’ The answer to this lies not only in the content but the level of skills required to access it and grasp wider historical concepts.


Our teaching of the History curriculum is rigorous and ambitious. Lessons are skills-led and designed with a focus on outcomes rather than outputs. Young historians at Bourne participate in constructivist learning, ensuring that skills are used and developed and that knowledge ‘sticks’, inspiring lifelong learning.

Within our school community, we have a large population of EAL children. We believe that is important to value histories from all perspectives and accept that the past has different meanings and significance to people of different cultures and religions. We aim to approach content with sensitivity where appropriate and always with respect, whilst at the same time encouraging a rigorous exploration the subject, where questioning and debate are encouraged. However, we recognise that the history of our local community is something that we can all share. We aim to work with local heritage organisations and visit local sites of historical interest wherever possible to apply skills and knowledge to different practical contexts.

Bourne’s History curriculum takes an enquiry-led, spiral approach to learning to secure skills, knowledge and understanding for children to build on throughout their learning journey. We consider our curriculum to be ‘8 Year’, recognising that the role of EYFS in learning History is vitally important, as children begin to differentiate between the past, present and future and engage with the wider world.


Our History curriculum is consistently high quality, so that children’s progression will be clear through their application of different skills as they move up through the key stages. The strong focus on the development of vocabulary through each unit will enable children to continue to access the History curriculum as it becomes more demanding. History will be taught as a discrete subject and children will be able to reflect on their skills as young historians. Children will be encouraged to use these skills and the subject related vocabulary appropriately across the curriculum, where it supports acquiring further knowledge and understanding in other subject. 


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