History at Brightwell

"We are Historians"


Curriculum Intent

At Brightwell School, we believe a high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.

Our teaching aims to equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.  History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and the relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

Within History lessons, our aim is that children understand their context within the world today by having a sound chronological understanding of major events and periods in world, national and local history. The children subsequently gain an understanding of how these historic events have helped to shape modern Britain and the world.

Learners are inspired and curious to learn how people lived and what decisions were made in the past, and develop empathy in order to understand why historical figures made these decisions as well questioning whether they think this was the correct decision to make. Our values are embedded so that children show respect when understanding the complexity of people’s lives in the past, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups.


Within our school, we also aim to improve children's historical knowledge and understanding through hands-on experiences related to their area of learning in History, which bring to life the children's learning within the classroom and engage them with the curriculum. History forms the basis for many of our termly topics or themes at Brightwell School, which also flow into our text-rich English curriculum with links to topic texts.





  • Historical topics are blocked to allow children to focus on developing their knowledge and skills, studying each topic in depth.
  • We have developed a progression of skills across key stages, which enable pupils to build on and develop their skills each year.
  • In Key Stage 1, History begins by looking at the children’s own personal history and introduces them to the idea of chronology and timelines. Pupils look at significant events and people who have shaped society: locally, nationally and globally.
  • In Key Stage 2, each year group studies a British history topic and an ancient or non-European history topic. UK history is taught chronologically to allow children to confidently place each time period. This allows pupils to consistently build on previous knowledge and learning by placing previously taught History topics on a timeline.
  • In order to support children in their ability to know more and remember more, there are regular opportunities to review the learning that has taken place in previous topics as well as in previous lessons.
  • At the start of each topic, children will review previous learning and will have the opportunity to remember and communicate what they already know about a current topic.
  • Effective CPD and standardisation opportunities are investigated and utilised to ensure high levels of confidence and knowledge are maintained.
  • To support teaching, staff access a range of resources and planning including History Association, Keystage History, Twinkl, Plan Bee, and Rising Stars. 
  • Medium-term planning for all units covers key historical concepts: Chronological understanding, Historical knowledge, Historical interpretation, Historical enquiry and organisation and communication.
  • Children are given opportunities, where possible, to study artefacts leading to enquiry, investigation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and presentation.
  • We plan for effective use of educational visits and visitors, to enrich and enhance the pupil’s learning experience and the History curriculum.
  • Teachers use Assessment for Learning at different points in each lesson to ensure misconceptions are highlighted and addressed.
  • Effective modelling by teachers ensures that children are able to achieve their learning intentions, with misconceptions addressed within it.
  • Children are given clear success criteria in order to achieve the Learning Intention with different elements of independence.
  • Pupils are regularly given the opportunity for Self or Peer Assessment, which will then be used to inform planning, preparation, differentiation and address misconceptions within that lesson, or for the next lesson.
  • Cross-curricular links are planned for, with other subjects such as Maths, Writing and Computing.
  • Educational, immersive displays that answer key questions help to create a rich learning environment for each History focus.



By the time the children leave Brightwell School, they should have developed:

  • A secure knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from the historical periods covered.
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
  • The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, forming and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
  • A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
  • A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements.
  • A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.



The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of History through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’.

This aspect is about how children find out about past and present events in their own lives, their families and other people they know. Children are encouraged to develop a sense of change over time and are given opportunities to differentiate between past and present by observing routines throughout the day, growing plants, observing the passing of seasons and time and looking at photographs of their life and of others.

Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?', ‘Tell me more about?', 'What will happen if..?', ‘What else could we try?', ‘What could it be used for?' and ‘How might it work?' Use of language relating to time is used in daily routines and conversations with children for example, ‘yesterday', ‘last week’, ‘old', ‘past', ‘now' and ‘then'.


Please see our Curriculum Overviews on the class pages for further details of what the children are learning.