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What we believe for our curriculum - Intent 

History Education at Holbrook allows children to develop excellent knowledge, skills and understanding, so that they can develop a deep knowledge of the past, respecting traditions and cultures from all over the globe and understanding how historians use their skills and expertise to unravel mysteries of the past. We want children to develop their historical enquiry skills, by using and evaluating evidence, asking and answering questions themselves, to become historians themselves.  It is important children have a greater understanding of the world around them and history is taught so children understand the present in the context of the past, promoting their sense of chronology, making links between historical eras and concurrent events. We also want the children at Holbrook to emphasise with peoples of the past through a variety of learning activities, and to respect and celebrate differences. We also recognise that History as a subject can enrich others areas of the curriculum. We aim to support pupils in working together to research topics, prepare arguments, organise events and present their findings in variety of ways, and use their historical understanding and knowledge to enrich other areas of the curriculum.


The curriculum areas of study are taught by two areas of knowledge:

1. Substantive Knowledge

 Topic Knowledge Aims:

  • High quality and carefully planned lessons, to ensure knowledge is revisited to embed it into long term memory
  • Pupils develop a secure knowledge of events and societies, linked to the national curriculum

      Chronological Knowledge Aims:

  • Pupils will secure an ever deepening chronological knowledge of historical eras in various ways that will be a narrative of the past.
  • Pupils will begin to build a mental timeline of historical eras, events and significant people.

     Substantive Concepts Aims:

  • Pupils develop an understanding on concepts in history, such as power, monarchy and invasion
  • Pupils build a knowledge and understanding of specific concepts in relation to different historical eras


2. Disciplinary knowledge


  • Pupils will understand how historians have used evidence to make conclusions or judgements about why events occurred or the consequences of events.
  • Pupils will develop their understanding of how historians use sources of evidence to make claims, recognise similarities/differences and spot key markers of change and continuity during historical eras.


How we put our aims into daily practice - Implementation

History topics are planned through the River of Knowledge whole school bespoke planning. Years 1/2, years 3/4 and years 5/6 study the same topic areas each term to give the opportunity for educational visits, curricular enhancing experiences and joint planning of inspirational planning to enrich their learning and provide other learning opportunities. History is taught weekly as a subject area, alternating half-termly between History and Geography. This is to facilitate children’s deeper understanding of a historical era studied. In a half-term where History is taught, Geography ‘flashbacks’ are used in class at the beginning of every lesson. This demands pupils recall of what they have learnt previously and  is to facilitate building upon pupils’ prior learning and support recall of knowledge, skills and facts.

Wherever possible, a range of quality literary books are linked to their historical learning and children have opportunities to write in cross-curricular contexts, for example in English.

Class teachers refer to Progression of skills grids (that reflect the National Curriculum programs of study) to ensure appropriate coverage across phases. Bespoke medium term outlines and knowledge organisers are produced for each historical topic area to ensure that intended knowledge that we want children to embed into their long-term memory is carefully selected.


We are successful because - Impact

The History Subject Lead, the History Subject Governor and the Executive Head Teacher regularly check that teaching approaches match the intended curriculum goals for pupils. Resources and activities are well sequenced to support and promote progress for all children, following high quality teaching and feedback to support children’s progression in the lesson and long term. Teachers check what pupils know in their History teaching, lesson discussion and through feedback and marking to ensure intended knowledge has been successfully embedded in pupils’ long term memory. Class teachers make summative assessments at the end of each term to establish what learning children have remembered.


Within our broad and balanced curriculum, Holbrook strive to ensure that every pupil develops a passion and interest in History. We aim to provide an environment where teachers have high expectations of what all pupils can learn in History and the subject is promoted not just in weekly lessons, but through many experiences. We provide pupils with Historically themed assemblies, Historically themed days and experiences in school, we invite visitors in and go on visits to the rich local environments such as Colchester Castle, Christchurch Mansion, Historical walks around Holbrook, Egyptian workshop and more.


Where ever possible we use physical and human resources that are bespoke to our school to enhance the teaching of humanities. For example, when we teach the topic around wars,” we look directly at the rich geography and history on our doorstep. Who was ‘Bertie,’ and why was he so important locally? We also interview local residents about their memories and research places locally, like HMS Ganges. Similarly, when KS1 learn about everyday heroes, we research past heroes, including the local medic ‘Elizabeth Garret Anderson’ and talk to today’s local heroes, such as fire fighters from Holbrook’s fire station. Through the use of our local resources, children’s interest and enthusiasm is enhanced, as is their knowledge of the area in which they live.

Cross Curricular Humanities Learning

History Policy (Draft)

History Progression of Skills Grid