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Curriculum Information

History Curriculum: Rationale

At Woodcroft we aim to provide a high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.

We follow the History programme of study outlined in the National curriculum Computing Programmes of Study: Key Stages 1 and 2, supported within the framework provided by The Essentials Curriculum. The aim of our curriculum is to ensure all pupils:

  •  know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world  
  • know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind  
  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’  
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses  
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constru

Curriculum Scope and Breadth

The scope and breadth of the curriculum at Woodcroft is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, National Curriculum subjects and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

KS1 Curriculum Map

KS2 Curriculum Map

National Curriculum coverage are divided into three Phases*. We call these phases Milestones

*Early Years Foundation Stage is treated as a separate milestone and has its own curriculum. Transition from Reception to Year 1 has been carefully planned.

We distinguish between subject units (topics of study) and threshold concepts.

  • Subject units are the specific aspects of knowledge that are studied
  • Threshold concepts are overarching themes that ttie together the breadth of  subject knowledge. The same concepts are explored in a wide variety of different topics throughout each milestone.. Pupils will return to the same concepts over and over; gradually deepening understanding the subject.

Threshold Concepts in History

We have identified four overarching themes for History:

  1. Investigate and Interpret The Pas

This concept involves recognising that our understanding of the past comes from an

interpretation of the available evidence.

  • Build an overview of world history

This concept involves an appreciation of the characteristic features of the past and

that these features are similar and different across time periods, and an understanding that life is different for different

  • Understand Chronology

This concept involves an understanding of how to chart the passing of time and how some

aspects of history happened at similar times in different places

  • Communicate Historically

This concept involves using historical vocabulary and techniques to convey information

about the past

Knowledge Categories (Disciplinary Concepts)

Our ‘Threshold Concepts’ are then further developed into ten disciplinary concepts. These are categories of knowledge that underpin every unit of work.

  • Settlement
  • Beliefs
  • Culture and Pastimes
  • Location
  • Main Events
  • Food and Farming
  • Travel and Exploration
  • Conflict
  • Society
  • Artefacts

Substantive Concepts 

By organising the subject knowledge in this way we are able to identify the core substantive concepts for each curriculum. Substantive concepts are repeated in multiple units throughout each milestone to broaden and deepen our understanding of geography.

Investigate and Interpret The Past


Understand Chronology Communicate Historically
Artefacts and Sources


• tools

• ornaments

• household items

• coins

• diaries

• historical accounts

• newspaper reports.

Main Events

• key ‘stories’ and events

• dates and durations

• key figures

• changes and continuity

achievements and legacies

• significant events that happened elsewhere at the same or a similar time


Identified for each unit

Build an overview of world history

• homes (including the types of materials used and construction techniques)

• sanitation

• heating

• public facilities (e.g. libraries, bath houses)

• monuments and memorials

• gathering places (e.g. citadels, amphitheatres, town squares)

• the nature of a settlement (e.g. villages, towns, cities)

• defences

• important features (e.g. proximity to a river or sea port).


pagan practices

• organised religions

• key events (e.g. sacrifice)

• ideologies

• symbols.

Culture and pastimes

• artworks

• artists and artisans

• jewellery

• architecture and architects

• games

• sports

• plays and theatre

• music and instruments

• great thinkers and big ideas (e.g. the Enlightenment)

• stories and books.


• modern geographical locations (e.g. Iran)

• historical geographical locations (e.g. Mesopotamia)

• multiple locations, including the associated terminology (e.g. empire, commonwealth, union)

• movement and its associated terminology (e.g. migration, immigration, invasion, exploration, conquest).

Food and Farming

• main food groups (e.g. grains, fish)

• popular foods and dishes

• methods of collection (e.g. hunter-gatherers, farming)

• important technological breakthroughs (e.g. plough – for cultivating land, shaduf – for irrigation)

• use of animals

• trade in foods and spices.

Travel and Exploration

• types of transport and how they were powered (e.g. foot and animals)

• technological advancements and their pioneers

• breakthrough events (e.g. the Moon landings)

• reasons for travel (e.g. to explore, conquer, trade, survive)

• trade routes

• holidays and how they have changed because of transport.


• historic events

• reasons for conflict (e.g. invasions)

• weapons

• defences

• resistance

• tactics

• types of conflict (e.g. battles, wars)

• resolutions to conflicts.


• life for different sections of society (e.g. rich and poor, men and women,

adults and children, urban and rural)

• education

• crime and punishment

• health and medicine

• clothing

• social organisation (e.g. nation states, systems of government).

Curriculum Progression and Assessment

We identify specific categories of knowledge that enable pupils to express their understanding of the substantive concepts. Teachers plan learning sequences to cover each of these knowledge categories, making each subject distinct.

Within each Milestone, pupils progress in their learning through three cognitive domains from basic to advancing and then deep understanding. The goal for pupils is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone. The most able pupils will be able to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage. The time-scale for sustained mastery and greater depth is two years of study within each milestone phase.

A fundamental aspect of our curriculum are planned Proof of Progression assessment tasks. These are based on  learning expectations of a milestone in each cognitive domains from basic to deep. Teachers are able to make comparative assessments of pupil progress based on how pupils independently apply their learning to these tasks at the end of each unit.

Knowledge Webs and The Tree House

Knowledge webs are published on the Treehouse. The Treehouse is our virtual learning environment. They cover the essential knowledge and vocabulary that children should learn.

Curriculum Resources and Core Curriculum Texts

At Woodcroft we utilise a range of different teaching resources to support our curriculum. As part of every History unit there is an identified core curriculum text. 

How leaning sequenced?

Teachers plan a block learning sequence (BLS) for each unit by first considering the intended outcomes. This outlines what pupils need to know  (or be able to do) at the end of the units to demonstrate Basic, Advancing or Deep understanding.  

The units covered in each year group are as follows:

Milestone 1
Year Group Unit
Year 1 Gunpowder Plot
Neil Armstrong 
Christopher Columbus
The Moon Landing
Printing Press
Tim Berners Lee
Year 2 The First World War
Great Fire of London
Florence Nightingale
Mary Seacole
Milestone 2
Year Group Unit
Year 3 Ancient Egypt
Stone Age
Bronze Age
Iron Age
Year 4 The Roman Empire 
Anglo Saxons
Milestone 3
Year Group Unit
Year 5 The Tudors
The Maya
The Victorian Era
Year 6 The Second World war
The Ancient Greeks

Key documents and references

Visit a curriculum subject page by clicking the link listed below:

English   Mathematics   Science   Computing   Physical Education   Music   History   Geography   Spanish   Design and Technology   Art and Design   Religious Education