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“The more you know about your history the more liberated you are”

Maya Angelou

Subject Lead: Miss Hopps


At St Joseph’s, the key driver words for our curriculum are embedded in the teaching of history.  This applies to the skills, knowledge and understating that children acquire.  In history children are:

  • Respectful learners when they listen to historical explanations and reasons given by the teacher and other children.
  • Reflective when they look for historical connections within and across concepts.
  • Resilient when they research a historical area and apply deep learning via an enquiry led approach

At St Joseph’s, we have designed a broad, balanced, progressive and challenging curriculum, which is accessible to all. It has been designed to maximise the development of every child’s ability and academic achievement.  As our pupils progress, we intend our children to understand the world, have the ability to question and research history questions and facts, have an understanding for the what and why situations have happened through the years and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity.

Our history curriculum aims to inspire children to be historians as they develop and understanding of their local history, the history of their country and the wider world. Through the teaching and learning in history our children will:

  • become at ease and skilled as they use tools to search, find, discuss and question about the past
  • be challenged and make meaningful, purposeful links with other historical periods.
  • develop curiosity and creativity by being guided through an enquiry led approach to finding out about the past
  • develops a sense of community where children share their research skills and findings
  • be supportivehonest and friendly environment where children are prepared to take risks and secure a deep understanding.
  • understand about chronology of events over time, the events on people’s lives, how change occurred, the potpourri of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as how they too become part of history. This enables them to develop and master life long learning skills that can be applied to a 21st century Britain.
  • stay motivated and committed believing they can do it!

Cultural Capital

The history curriculum, at St Joseph’s, will offer children the opportunities to draw upon skills, behaviours and knowledge. To be able to do this, all pupils are:

  • given the opportunity to learn about key fingers in history from Captain Cook to Alfred Great to Wu Ding. As well as learning about key local people from Timothy Hackworth, to the miners of County Durham to the brave Aycliffe Angels
  • provided with enrichment opportunities by visiting local museums such as Locomotion and the Bishop Auckland Mining Museum
  • able to visit place of local interest such as Binchester Roman Fort
  • Taught as cross-curricular understanding of key historical figures, such as Rimsky Korsakov in music and Thomas Edison in science. These people become part of each class’ time line


At St Joseph’s children history topics are taught every term.  In order to aid children develop their history understanding, make connections and deepen their understanding we have designed a broad and balanced progressive curriculum which builds upon prior knowledge and develop new concepts.

Essential to effective teaching is the key question which teachers introduce at the start of the enquiry lead topic, this key question begins the enquiry led journey the children will take alongside the specific vocabulary (general and specific words linked to the historical focus) they will develop.

All lessons at St Joseph’s are creative and engaging using the enquiry led approach which allows for child-initiated learning which is built upon from early learning in the Foundation Stage. Children will immerse themselves in the topic and become a historian.  Children are encouraged to make links to prior learning either in their present year or from previous years. They develop their historical knowledge via research, questioning and open discussions. It provides children with the opportunity to develop why? and why not? questions.  Throughout the lesson, children are given opportunities to discuss their historical thinking with their partner and class and share where they have found their information. Importantly, the sharing of information. Throughout, and at the end of the topic, children have the opportunity to reflect upon their learning and make links about what happened before as well as an opportunity to ask what happens next? Also, they further develop their historical vocabulary. The majority of children progress through the lessons at the same pace.  Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.


The quality of our history curriculum is reviewed and adapted on a regular basis so we are confident it meets the needs of all our pupils. The impact of history is measured at St Joseph’s through a range of monitoring procedures. We monitor the quality of teaching on a regular basis providing CPD where needed, monitor and look in children’s books to see if key historical concepts have been taught, children have a deep understanding there is a sequential progression of skills.  In addition to this, discussions with teachers, pupils and parents are held.

Assessment is an essential part of measuring our history curriculum.  Formative on going assessment is carried out to see if children have acquired relevant historical skills. This is then tracked on our whole school assessment sheets.  Moderation takes place in house, with Catholic clusters of schools, local clusters of schools and with the local authority.