Skip to content ↓


“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Edmund Burke


At St John’s, we believe that high-quality history lessons inspire children to want to know more about the past and to think and act as historians. By linking learning to a range of topics, children have opportunities to investigate and interpret the past, understand chronology, build an overview of Britain’s past as well as that of the wider world, and to be able to communicate historically. To develop the essential characteristics that will help our children become historians, we enable them to:

  • Learn about what a historian does, looking at basic sources and simplified perspectives to develop an appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a historian;
  • Explore the connection between significant events and people and how they have influenced the modern world;
  • Have a secure overview of a period, before studying aspects in more depth;
  • Have more time to study the period in more detail;
  • Develop a solid understanding of the political context of each period as well as studying a wide range of contexts in more depth, including the cultural, social and religious context of the time;
  • Understand how the past is constructed and contested;
  • Ask perceptive questions, analyse more complex sources and begin to use their knowledge to develop perspective;
  • Explore continuity and change, cause and consequence and similarity, difference and significance


We use the Primary Knowledge Curriculum to teach History. The PKC has been designed to be both knowledge-rich and coherently sequenced. It allows our children to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history. The knowledge taught in the curriculum has been carefully chosen and sequenced using a largely chronological approach. Each unit of work is not viewed as a stand-alone topic, but as a chapter in the story of the history of Britain and the wider world.

From year to year, unit to unit, lesson to lesson, the curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior knowledge. For example, the children develop a secure understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain. They begin to learn about British monarchs in Year 1, and build upon their knowledge of monarchy in British society throughout the curriculum, looking at the reigns of significant monarchs. Each British history unit allows children to add to their understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain, the impact it had on the lives of the British people, and analyse the significance and legacy of each monarch.


The Primary Knowledge Curriculum aspires to create curious and knowledgeable young people, who hold a deep understanding and appreciation of the discipline of history, and are able to sift and weigh evidence to begin to formulate their own viewpoints and perspectives of the world.

Ultimately, the impact and measure of this is to ensure that children at St John’s are equipped with historical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. We want the children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about history, therefore encouraging them to undertake new life experiences now and in the future.

How we assess:

Outcomes in history books evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of vocabulary and knowledge. Children self-assess against the success criteria at the end of every lesson. They also complete an assessment at the end of each topic.