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Purley Church Of England
Primary School

Let all that you do be done in love

1 Corinthians 16:14


History at Purley Primary School


Purley Primary School’s chosen History scheme of work aims to inspire in our pupils a fascination about the past, developing a knowledge of local and national history, and the history of the wider world.  Our pupils will be encouraged to be curious and creative thinkers, gaining confidence to think critically and to analyse historical evidence. 

They will build an awareness of significant events and individuals, and recognise how things have changed over time.  Pupils are supported in building their understanding of chronology, making connections over periods of time. They will be given the opportunity to discover the complexity of people’s lives and the diversity of societies, and have the chance to learn from mankind’s past mistakes.

Pupils will learn how historians study the past and they will use these skills to carry out their own historical enquiries.  They will be introduced to key substantive concepts such as; power, invasion, settlement and migration, empire, civilisation, religion, trade, achievements of humankind, society and culture.


Our teaching of historical knowledge is shaped by key strands:

  • topic knowledge,
  • chronological awareness
  • substantive concepts
  • historical enquiry
  • disciplinary concepts 

These strands are interwoven through all our History units to create engaging and enriching learning experiences to allow the pupils to investigate history as historians do.  A focus on chronology allows pupils to explore the place in time of the period they are studying and make comparisons in other parts of the world.

In EYFS, pupils explore the concept of history by reflecting on key experiences from their own past, helping them understand that they each have their own histories. Then, they engage in activities to compare and contrast characters from stories, including historical figures, deepening their understanding of how individual lives fit into broader historical narratives

Pupils will further develop their awareness of the past in Key stage 1 and will know where people and events fit chronologically. This will support pupils in building a ‘mental timeline’ they can refer to throughout their learning in Key stage 2 and identifying connections, contrasts and trends over time.

In Key Stages 1 and 2, units are organised around an enquiry-based question and children are encouraged to follow the enquiry cycle (Question, Investigate, Interpret, Evaluate and conclude, Communicate) when answering historical questions. Over the course of the scheme, children develop their understanding of the following key disciplinary concepts:

  • Change and continuity
  • Cause and consequence
  • Similarities and differences
  • Historical significance
  • Historical interpretations
  • Sources of evidence

These concepts will be encountered in different contexts during the study of local, British and world history. Accordingly, pupils will have varied opportunities to learn how historians use these skills to analyse the past and make judgements.  As they progress, pupils will create their own historical enquires to study using the skills they have developed.

Substantive concepts such as power, trade, invasion and settlement, are introduced in Key Stage 1, clearly identified in Lower key stage 2 and revisited in Upper Key Stage 2 allowing knowledge of these key concepts to grow. These concepts are returned to in different contexts, meaning that pupils begin to develop an understanding of these abstract themes which are crucial to their future learning in History.


It is our intention that pupils should leave school equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed in their secondary education. They will be enquiring learners who ask questions and can make suggestions about where to find the evidence to answer the question. They will be critical and analytical thinkers who are able to make informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past.

We hope that our pupils will:

● Know and understand the history of Britain, how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.

● Develop an understanding of the history of the wider world, including ancient civilisations, empires, non-European societies and the achievements of mankind.

● Develop a historically-grounded understanding of substantive concepts - power, invasion, settlement and migration, civilisation, religion, trade, achievements of mankind and society.

● Form historical arguments based on cause and effect, consequence, continuity and change, similarity and differences.

● Have an appreciation for significant individuals, inventions and events that impact our world both in history and from the present day.

● Understand how historians learn about the past and construct accounts.

● Ask historically-valid questions through an enquiry-based approach to learning to create structured accounts.

● Explain how and why interpretations of the past have been constructed using evidence.

● Make connections between historical concepts and timescales.

● Meet the relevant Early Learning Goals at the end of EYFS (Reception) and the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National curriculum for History at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2.