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Principles for History learning at TAB


Do you want to find out about the past? Do you enjoy looking for clues and being a detective? If the answer is yes, then learning history at TAB is for you!


Find out about the hunter gathers of the Stone Age, the invaders and settlers of the Romans, Saxons and Vikings and what they brought to Britain and the ingenious inventions of the Victorians. Do you know what happened in your local area?


At Thomas A Becket Junior, History plays a very important part in children’s learning as one of the key subjects in a thematic, cross curricular approach to learning. As a major part of the curriculum, we believe it should develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about the world in which we live, but also in understanding how people of the past lived within their communities, recognising how they built the foundations of the modern world we now live in. At TAB we believe it is important to ensure that the children have a balanced learning experience of the historical world between building knowledge and developing skills.


We want children to develop a real sense of self and community in how the people of the past lived their lives within their society. The knowledge and understanding gained in how these people lived as well as a sense of chronology are vital in developing children’s ability to be a great historian. Children should have a sense of empathy as well as excitement about the past and understand how it can help us shape the present and future. We want children to explore the past and become great historical detectives through the excitement of asking questions about the past, developing their historical skills and using evidence in order to complete and present an enquiry – these are at the centre of the teaching. A child’s social development is encouraged and enriched through working independently and in collaboration with others.


Literacy skills are strengthened through reading a wide range of source materials, the recording of enquiry results and how children choose to present their findings. Historical enquiry is a fabulous opportunity to allow children to develop their thinking skills, create and set their own questions for historical research and becoming more analytical in how they use the sources of evidence given to them.


Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural & British Values within history learning




History at TAB enables all pupils to grow and flourish to become confident individuals and appreciate their own worth and that of others. History will support pupils to become fully rounded and valuable members of society who treat others with respect and tolerance.


Teaching and learning in history at TAB support the learning of British values; democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and individual respect and tolerance through a range of topics and themes in British history from Stone Age to more recent times.




In history we look at the beliefs of the people being studied and make comparisons to our own modern day values. These focus in how they lived their daily lives and the influence of religion on them. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on these and other viewpoints. Themes will ensure all pupils develop a sense of fascination and enjoyment in their learning, show a sense of imagination and creativity in their learning and outcomes presented. All themes across the school will contain wow moments at the beginning and end of topics along with visits and visitors.




In history we focus on asking questions and using source material to create a personal response. These will focus on moral issues to the theme being studied and why people of the time made those decisions. Pupils will consider those decisions and compare them to what they might do today. These types of questions will often take the form of an enquiry study.




In history we focus heavily on social and these can form many of the enquiries which lead the learning in each of the themes being studied. There are plenty of opportunities for learning and discussion to take place around the ways people of the past lived and related to others both inside and outside of their communities. All themes will contain trips and visitors.




In history all of the themes studied have an element in which pupils learn about the culture of the people from the past. This allows pupils to make comparisons between their own lives and those in the past.


British Values:


In history, Pupils will study themes in UK and world history where British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different beliefs have been shaped by the people and events of the past to the world we live in the present.



Organisation of History learning


History teaching at Thomas A Becket Junior is about excellence, enjoyment and developing a curious mind. The history curriculum is organised in chronological order with Year 3 learning about the Stone Age Britain and a local area study, Year 4 looking at Roman Britain and Year 5 investigating Saxon and Viking Britain and an early civilisation. All of these themes study Britain before 1066. Finally Year 6 study a topic in Britain after 1066; looking at life in the Victorian times and the Ancient Greeks.


All of the history units form the lead subject in a cross curricular topic alongside subjects such as English, art, and technology to provide the children with a full understanding of how the people of that time lived. This is enriched by visitors coming into school to provide an active hands-on experience that will allow the children to build skills in empathising with how people lived at the time. The use of drama, using practical activities and enquiry based investigations are vitally important as well as factual learning. All children will experience a stunning start to each topic in order to capture their minds and enthusiasm and a fabulous finish to draw all of their learning together.


History planning is completed by the teachers in each year team and supported by the subject leader. Class teachers then adapt the planning to suit the needs of the children in their classes and individuals within them. In terms of time, History teaching has about one and half hours of learning each week. However this is flexible depending on the aspect of the topic and how the learning is taking place.


Skills Development in History


We want children to really develop their historical skills in a fun and exciting manner. We aim to provide an opportunity for each child to become an historical detective through developing their critical thinking and ability to ask and answer questions about the past. In Year 3, children will begin to develop these skills by asking and answering basic questions using a range of evidence provided and being able to make simple deductions about the past.. As they rise through the school, they will develop and refine enquiries, using more complex evidence with a greater sense of analysis. They will be able to devise their own valid questions in order to complete their own enquiry.


As children become more confident in being an historical detective they will develop skills in chronology, making enquiry and interpreting evidence as well as building a greater knowledge. They will also develop their thinking skills and refine their ability to ask a key question, read and analyse sources of evidence presented to them. Recording is also a vital part of the children’s learning in how they present their findings to others in both spoken and written form.  


Assessing History learning


We use assessment in history regularly and effectively to inform our planning and teaching. Throughout each unit of work, children respond to key questions of learning that frame each theme. These are referred to during lessons and through marking making children aware of the next steps in their learning. The children are encouraged to set their own questions in order to personalise and extend their learning.  Children are also given the opportunity to develop their historical skills in chronology, enquiry and how to interpret and use evidence. These are developed and revisited across all years, as children are given opportunities to develop and extend these.


Historical skills alongside their gaining of knowledge and understanding are assessed throughout the unit of learning. The teacher will also complete an assessment based on the national curriculum 2014 standards, identifying the children as either working below, within or above their year group expectations.


Enrichment of History learning


Each Year group look for as many opportunities as possible to engage the children in their learning, using a stunning start  to set the scene and a fabulous finish to bring all the learning together. During the topic children will have the chance to work with visiting groups who will provide the children with hands-on experiences that bring the topic alive through drama and the handling of artefacts that allow children to empathise with what it would be like to live in that time period. Each year will have a planned visit to provide extra learning opportunities.


History in Action


"I have really enjoyed learning history at TAB as it is always fun and we have lots of visitors coming in who bring it to life."


Year 3 –“I have enjoyed all the different pieces of work we did – hillforts, round houses, facts about how people lived in the Stone Age and making pots. Going to Cissbury Ring was cool. I enjoyed handling artefacts and using the tools.”


Year 4 – “We have done Lots of drama about Celts which made you feel like you were there with them.”


Year 5 – “It is nice to learn about other topics and what has been before us and how we have recreated it and how it has changed from things in the past and how they used materials.”


Year 6 – “I enjoyed going to Preston Manor as you experienced what life was like for the worker at the time. It is trying to show you the life for the poor as well as rich and their big houses.”