ATW History

‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’

Winston Churchill


Atwood believes that a high-quality History education will help our pupils gain a coherent narrative, knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and linking it to the wider world.

Children at Atwood will understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. Children will understand the impact of events and people from the past on today’s society, and create connections between local, regional, national and international history.

At Atwood, we have taken the decision not to teach the historical periods in chronological order because when organising the Atwood curriculum, we considered that the content of the historical events better fitted certain age groups with regard to their developmental ability. Also, we wanted to maintain the quality, age-related texts which had been linked to those historical units.

Teachers ensure clear progression of skills and knowledge and make adaptations to suit our context and local area.

Our intention for historical enquiry within the Atwood Curriculum is to:

  • Teach and equip children to ask perceptive questions about the past
  • Think critically
  • Weigh evidence
  • Sift arguments
  • Develop perspective and judgement
  • Compare and contrast different historical periods.
  • Developing their knowledge of historical vocabulary
  • Apply their historical knowledge and vocabulary to create their own structured accounts
  • Have a clear knowledge of the chronology of key events and significant people.


We teach history through themed topics as this enables children to make links with other subject areas particularly geography.  English teaching is often linked to the history learning so the children can develop a deeper understanding by applying and recalling their historical knowledge in a  different context.

When teaching units, the staff ensure that they refer back to previous history units and support the children to make historical comparisons. We ensure that the children have a chronological understanding by having timelines displayed in each classroom and that each teacher explicitly makes links with different time periods over the year. This ensures the children make connections with earlier knowledge. Each unit has lessons on chronology within it.

Teachers ensure engagement by linking themes; using historical artefacts; and providing experiences beyond the classroom, including fieldwork, external educational visits and workshops.

Teachers use Bloom’s Taxonomy to differentiate challenges; ongoing assessment for learning to inform planning for nexts steps. The children are also exposed to correct historical related vocabulary to support them to write and talk as an historian.


The understanding of chronology starts in EYFS with the children being introduced to the terms: past, today, yesterday, tomorrow and then looking at how they have changed. The children will learn history through experiences that introduce the concept of time and change. This is set out in the development bands within Development Matters and early learning goals criteria for Understanding the World: Past and Present.

In Nursery pupils will:

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

In Reception pupils will:

  • Comment on images of familiar situations in the past.
  • Compare and contrast characters from stories, including figures from the past.

ELG: Past and Present

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • 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.

Key stage 1

The main areas of study will include developing knowledge, skills and understanding. Key components which will be covered are:

  • Chronology of time;
  • Identify similarities and similarities between ways of life in different periods;
  • Encourage a wide use of vocabulary, including common words and phrases relating to the passing of time;
  • Understand we find out about the past in a variety of ways;
  • Develop children’s knowledge of changes within living memory as well as events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally;
  • Identify significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. We are continually developing this aspect to ensure that we are reflecting diversity.

Key stage 2

We have selected specific curriculum areas to reflect the needs, and diversity of the Atwood community.

In Year 3, The Egyptians has been retained as a period of study because children are particularly fascinated and interested in this period of history. This unit creates an excitement, awe and wonder about life so long ago and the role of archaeologists.

In Year 4, the Maya unit was selected as it provides an excellent contrast to the Prehistoric era (which is studied in this year group). It also complements the teaching of our MFL, which is Spanish.

In KS2, we teach two post 1066 units of history because the Victorians era and WWII were significant periods for the local area.

The main areas of study will include developing knowledge, skills and understanding. Key components which will be covered are:

  • Develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, noting connections, contrasts and trends over time
  • Use a variety of historical terms and vocabulary
  • Provide opportunities to regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity, difference and significance
  • Also, provide sessions where children need to construct responses, which involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.
  • Pupils have a secure understanding how knowledge of the past can be found in many ways


The History profile within Atwood will support teachers in their planning, teaching and assessment of History, which will ensure that all lessons enable progression of skills, knowledge and understanding. The children’s progress can be shown through high-order questioning (using Bloom’s Taxonomy), book looks, oral feedback (next steps) and self- and peer- assessment.

Children’s work will evidence a range of extension tasks to provide all children opportunities to deepen their Historical knowledge and skills. At the end of the unit, assessment data will be collected and areas to work on will be fed into the next topic.

The children, with the raised historical profile, will have:

  • developed their curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject;
  • pursued their own interests within a topic, by using their enquiry skills and asking further questions;
  • demonstrated the ability to make balanced and informed judgments based on their knowledge and understanding of the past and be more critical and analytical with their thinking;
  • increased their ability to recall key historical facts and events which have particularly interested them;
  • built stronger connections between history over time;
  • developed a secure understanding and knowledge of chronological events by being able to demonstrate their skills and understanding of key Historical events in Britain, their locality and around the world;
  • confidence in using age-appropriate historical vocabulary when discussing their learning in History;
  • devised their own questions about change, cause, similarity, difference and significance of people or events in a wider context;
  • explained and made links on how places, people and events in the past have had influenced today’s society;
  • built on their historical knowledge, skills and understanding to support them in their transition to secondary school.

First published on 21st September, 2022 and modified 9th March, 2023

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