Why is History important?

History is important because it helps pupils to understand and interpret the past, and therefore, the present.

Through history, pupils develop a deeper cross-cultural awareness and understanding of their own and others’ heritage, through looking at evidence and asking and answering questions.

In history, we can analyse successes and failures, which, in turn, teaches us to learn from our mistakes.

History encourages pupils to explore how the world has changed, the processes involved and the impact and legacy of change.

History is a key subject to engage pupils’ creative and critical thinking about change, both locally and globally, and the implications for the future.

History helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of our local community’s past, our country’s past and that of the wider world.

Pupils’ historical knowledge and skills are developed through analysing and judging different sources of evidence and understanding its importance when piecing together the past.

Chronology helps pupils see the ‘big picture’ of the historical narrative, enabling pupils to make connections between different periods from the past and the present.

History at Landewednack

History is taught through a combination of subject knowledge, historical skills, enquiry and fieldwork. Learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom.

We strive to ensure our children develop the key characteristics of historians:

  • An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very 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, formulating 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

At Landewednack, we know that Chronology is a vital concept for historians to develop;

Using the Knowledge Building pillar for Chronology, we have designed the curriculum to allow pupils to develop their learning within each phase:

  • EYFS- understand the concept of yesterday, today, tomorrow, long ago
  • Key Stage One – Fit people and events into a chronological framework
  • Lower Key Stage Two - Establish clear narratives within periods of history
  • Upper Key Stage Two - Make connections between periods of history

Foundation Stage to KS1

In this phase, there is a focus on people that lived and events that have taken place primarily over the last 200 years. This limited time span is much more manageable for younger children, allowing them to conceptualise more easily and providing a framework for pupils to begin understanding chronology over time beyond the simple sequencing of everyday events. The historical content itself often links to pupils’ everyday experiences (e.g. inventions such as the TV, lightbulb), making the learning more concrete and less abstract, in order to help them begin to make sense of their changing world.

KS1 to Lower KS2

Pupils begin to look at more specific periods in history e.g. Benin, and develop narratives within those, such as the exile of Ogiso and the change of rule, leading to much greater prosperity under the Obas.

Upper Key Stage 2

As knowledge builds, pupils should begin to identify and understand connections between different events and periods in history. One example might be within the leadership focus which is explored and developed across the curriculum, from learning about Roman Emperors in ‘You’re Not Invited’ to world leaders in ‘Wars of the World’.

As long as the pupils understand the concept of chronology and know where the era, person or event they are studying fits on the historical timeline, history does not have to be taught in chronological order. The use of timelines, therefore, is particularly important in establishing the sequence of, and connections between, different periods of history.  At Landewednack we refer to the timeline below during all history lessons and in lessons where there is a historical link.  


The Skills Ladder acts as an incremental model for skills acquisition and provides a benchmark for each year group, with teachers using the skills statements as a model for progression throughout the school. Growing in complexity and demand across Key Stages 1 and 2, the Skills Ladder enables our children to make good progress in their learning:



Nursery- Understanding the World

Past and Present:


Begin to make sense of their own life-story and family’s history


*Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society

*Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class

*Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books, read in class and storytelling

History Skills Ladder

Year 1

Hi1 Use different sources of information to find out about the past

Hi2 Find out about the lives of significant people and events from the past and present

Hi3 Using episodes from stories about the past, identify the difference between past and present

 Hi4 Place events in chronological order

Hi5 Use common words and phrases related to the passing of time

Hi6 Make a personal link to the past by exploring artefacts and images

Year 2

Hi7 Ask and answer questions about the past

Hi8 Explore places and investigate artefacts

Hi9 Recognise why people did things and why events happened

Hi10 Identify differences between past and present and show how ways of life at different times were different to their own

Hi11 Identify different ways in which the past is represented

Hi12 Observe and handle a range of sources of information to find out about the past

Hi13 Place events and objects in chronological order

Hi14 Use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms

Year 3

Hi15 Develop their understanding that the past can be divided into different periods of time

Hi16 Explore the different ways we can find out about the past and how to understand the evidence

Hi17 Identify different ways in which the past is represented

Hi18 Recognise similarities and differences between people’s lives during different periods of time

Hi19 Use dates and vocabulary relating to the passing of time and sequence events

Hi20 Sequence several events or artefacts

Hi21 Begin to give reasons for and results of the main events and changes

Hi22 Use sources of information including ICT to find out about events, people and changes

Year 4

Hi23 Ask and answer a variety of perceptive historical questions

 Hi24 Investigate the characteristic features of, and changes within, periods of history that were of global significance

Hi25 Identify the impact of the movement and settlement of people in different periods of history

Hi26 Identify how significant events, developments or individuals and groups have influenced the world in the recent and distant past

Hi27 Identify different ways in which the past is represented and interpreted and recognise how history is preserved

 Hi28 Place events, people and changes into correct periods of time on a timeline

Hi29 Use dates and vocabulary relating to the passing of time, including AD/BC

Hi30 Use and evaluate sources of information, recognising that evidence varies in the extent to which it can be trusted

Hi31 Communicate knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways

Year 5

Hi32 Investigate the characteristic features of, and changes within, periods of history

Hi33 Devise historically valid questions about change, similarity and difference and investigate to find possible answers

Hi34 Investigate events in the past using primary and secondary sources

Hi35 Identify and describe reasons for and results of historical events, situations and changes

Hi36 Recognise primary and secondary sources

Hi37 Identify and describe the effects of some economic, technological and scientific developments

Hi38 Place events, people and changes into correct periods of time

Hi39 Use dates and vocabulary relating to the passing of time, including ancient, modern, BC, AD, century and decade

Hi40 Interpret historical evidence

Hi41 Select and organise relevant historical information, making appropriate use of dates and term

Year 6

Hi42 Devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference and investigate to find possible answers

Hi43 Recognise social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of societies

Hi44 Recognise that the past is represented and interpreted in different ways and give reasons for this

Hi45 Recognise and understand the broad chronology of major events in the wider world, from ancient civilisations to the present day, and locate within this the periods, events and changes they have already studied

Hi46 Use an increasing depth of factual knowledge to describe past societies and periods and make some links between them

Hi47 Suggest possible omissions and the means of finding out

Hi48 Select and combine information from different sources BCE, AD, century and decade

Hi49 Recall, select, organise and communicate historical information in a variety of ways

'Knowledge Building' ensures breadth and greater depth of learning within a subject. Based on six distinct learning pillars, the knowledge builds on (EYFS, KS1, LKS2 and UKS2), using progressive cognitive blocks, linked to each pillar. These are then further applied to each history theme in the form of knowledge statements that increase in complexity through the phase.

The Knowledge Building Pillars form a robust model of progression for knowledge and understanding, helping pupils to assimilate, synthesise and apply their learning within different historical contexts. This also means that concepts are cumulatively built upon. For example, Continuity and Change would show children learning about how and why the school building has changed over time in Key Stage 1, understanding and explaining how cities kept people safe in the past in Lower Key Stage 2 to understanding the meaning of discrimination and giving examples from history in Upper Key Stage 2.

See the knowledge pillars for 'History' below:

By using a rigorously planned curriculum map, the objectives of the National Curriculum are cross-referenced to our ‘Learning Means the World’ Curriculum, supplemented with NC specific history units based around significant historical characters.

History runs through many of our LMTW curriculum themes; this ensures historical knowledge, concepts and skills are built on across the year groups as well as giving our children the opportunity to see how history has affected the world in which we live and how it links to other curriculum subjects.  We plan for enrichment days, visits and visitors to inspire imagination and bring history to life.   To ensure full coverage and progression for each year group, we use the Historical Association to enrich our curriculum and to provide a source of CPD for our teachers.

Due to the mixed year groups in our classes, rolling programmes are created and mapped using the knowledge building and skills ladders above.  The Learning Intentions or 'end points' are broken down into sequenced steps-  please also see our 'Current learning' page for a more detailed look for each half term. 


Assessment and Recall

We use Quizzes and end of unit tasks for diagnostic assessment as well as ‘distance’ recall tasks and ‘Time Machine’ questions to ensure knowledge is remembered and to ensure prior learning is linked to new. 'Time Machine' enables pupils to travel through time to revisit prior learning, with the aid of short animated film clips and recall tasks which point to prior learning, and indicates subsequent linked learning that will take place in the next learning sequence.


Impact of our History Curriculum
Our aim in teaching history in the EYFS is to make pupils aware of the world around them and how places and people change over time. By the end of this phase, pupils will have a basic understanding of the passing of time and be able to use vocabulary relating to things that have happened in the recent past. Pupils will be aware that, over time, people change by ageing, and they will be able to identify older people in their lives. As well as people, pupils will know that things also change. They will have had opportunity to observe old and new forms of transport, homes and toys and they will be able to identify those that are from the past and those that are from present day, noting a range of similarities and differences. Pupils will also be able to talk about the roles people have had in society in the past and compare those to present-day occupations. 
Key Stage One
Our aim in teaching history in Key Stage One is to encourage pupils to think about historical change in the wider world. In this phase, pupils will begin to start thinking more chronologically and will have been introduced to simple timelines and dated information. This not only embeds the knowledge of the passing of time but extends it beyond the most recent history of yesterday, last week etc. Pupils will also be expected to know vocabulary such as century and millennium. Pupils will know that changes occur over time across the globe and are effected by many different people. They will be starting to ask questions about how and why changes have happened, such as ‘Why did the Elephant Bird become extinct?’ or ‘How have methods of communication changed?’. In terms of recognising similarities and differences, pupils will not only be able to talk about objects and artefacts that are the same or different but also be aware that beliefs and societies can be compared, for example, the Inuit tribe with their own culture. The Competency Units in this phase allow pupils to study a diverse range of individuals, the places and eras they lived in and how they have influenced our lives today. Pupils will know that it is often the decisions and actions of individuals in the past that change our lives in the future.
Lower Key Stage Two
Our aim in teaching history in Lower Key Stage Two is to broaden pupils’ historical horizons so they are learning not only about the more recent past but also about ancient civilisations. Pupils will be exploring source materials and will begin to look for bias and accuracy. In this phase, pupils will recognise that some aspects of the past can be interpreted in different ways, and it is up to them as present-day historians to be aware that people in the past can tell their stories differently. History in this phase also encourages pupils to not only explore similarities and differences, but inclusivity across diverse societies. In the unit ‘Cry Freedom’, pupils will compare how slavery has been imposed on a range of societies and how people from very different backgrounds can work towards a common goal (Sojourner Truth and William Wilberforce). Pupils will also now recognise that they should not only question why changes happen over time, but they should review the consequences of those changes, such as the legacies left by the Ancient Greeks or the development of the United Nations after the Second World War. 
Upper Key Stage Two

Our aim in teaching history in Upper Key Stage Two is to deepen pupils’ skills in thinking historically and historical comprehension. Pupils should now be confident in using and constructing timelines to organise their findings chronologically and make connections across wider periods of time. They should also be aware that they can not only study objects or artefacts to provide evidence of historical events but that these sources can be split into primary and secondary sources. Pupils should be starting to be more confident in analysing these to provide evidence to support their own thoughts and conclusions about how and why historical events happened. It is important, in this phase, that pupils begin to consider that the way things were done in the past cannot always be viewed through the lens of the present. The same beliefs, values and ideals of the present day are often anachronistic with the past (presentism).

In this phase, pupils will also have had the opportunity to link their historical knowledge with other subjects such as geography and they should see how these two areas of learning are closely linked. For example, in Pharaoh Queen, pupils should know that the River Nile is a key geographical feature of Egypt, and was key to the survival of Ancient Egyptians, as well as its importance to those living in Egypt today.