At Holy Name, our pupils are passionate about History. History is brought to life, enabling children to explore like detectives and work like historians. Children are given the opportunity to study a variety of primary and secondary sources, make predictions, build their historical knowledge and develop key historical skills. Termly questions are given which link to the overarching theme of Buildings.  Our children are curious about the past and keen to understand how and why events occurred. 

The periods of History have been organised in a way so each year group can study a particular topic in depth, as detailed on the Curriculum Progression document. These topics also make links with other areas of the curriculum. Periods of history, particularly British History, have been organised largely in chronological order. Other topics over the year have been selected to link to the Holy Name demographic, especially during the first term where each class studies an aspect of Black History which links to Black History month in October.

Literature for English topics, especially in the first term, are linked to Black History. An example being in Year 4, where children will study about Katherine Johnson.  Katherine Johnson also appears in the book studied by Year 5: ‘Young, Gifted and Black’. There is a rich opportunity for children to be exposed to key texts that relate to History and Black History. Holy Name’s school’s curriculum takes into consideration:

  • The ethos, vision, and values of your school.
  • The specific areas of development for your school.
  • Relevant national strategies.
  • What you want the children to learn.

Holy Name’s History scheme of work aims to inspire pupils to be curious and creative thinkers who develop a complex knowledge of local and national history and the history of the wider world. We want pupils to develop the confidence to think critically, ask questions, and be able to explain and analyse historical evidence. Through our scheme of work, we aim to build an awareness of significant events and individuals in global, British and local history and recognise how things have changed over time.

History will support children to appreciate the complexity of people’s lives, the diversity of societies and the relationships between different groups. Studying History allows children to appreciate the many reasons why people may behave in the way they do, supporting children to develop empathy for others while providing an opportunity to learn from mankind’s past mistakes. Holy Name’s History scheme aims to support pupils in building their understanding of chronology in each year group, making connections over periods of time and developing a chronologically-secure knowledge of History.

We hope to develop pupils’ understanding of how historians study the past and construct accounts and the skills to carry out their own historical enquiries. In order to prepare pupils for their future learning in History, our scheme aims to introduce them to key substantive concepts including power, invasion, settlement and migration, empire, civilisation, religion, trade, achievements of humankind, society and culture. Our History scheme of work enables pupils to meet the end of Key stage attainment targets in the National curriculum and the aims also align with those set out in the National curriculum.

For EYFS, the activities allow pupils to work towards the Understanding the world Development matters statements and Early learning goals, while also covering foundational knowledge that will support them in their further history learning in Key stage 1.

The implementation of the curriculum relates to how the learning is going to be delivered across our school, taking the intent of the learning and translating it into a progressive and effective curriculum.  In order to meet the aims of the National curriculum for History and in response to the Ofsted Research review into History, we have identified the following key strands:

  • Disciplinary concepts
  • Substantive concepts
  • Historical enquiry
  • Chronological awareness
  • Topic knowledge
  • Substantive knowledge strands
  • Disciplinary strands Historical knowledge

Holy Name’s scheme of work emphasises the importance of historical knowledge being shaped by disciplinary approaches, as shown in the diagram above. These strands are interwoven through all our History units to create engaging and enriching learning experiences which allow the children to investigate history as historians do.

Each six-lesson unit has a focus on chronology to allow children to explore the place in time of the period they are studying and make comparisons in other parts of the world.

In EYFS, children explore the concept of history by reflecting on key experiences from their own past, helping them understand that they each have their own histories. Then, they engage in activities to compare and contrast characters from stories, including historical figures, deepening their understanding of how individual lives fit into broader historical narratives.

Children will further develop their awareness of the past in Key stage 1 and will know where people and events fit chronologically. This will support children in building a ‘mental timeline’ they can refer to throughout their learning in Key stage 2 and identifying connections, contrasts and trends over time. The Holy Name Primary timeline supports children in developing this chronological awareness.


 There are two EYFS units focused on each of the history-related Development matters statements. These units consist of a mixture of adult-led and child-initiated activities which can be selected by the teacher to fit in with Reception class themes or topics. In Key stage 1 and 2, units are organised around an enquiry-based question and children are encouraged to follow the enquiry cycle (Question, Investigate, Interpret, Evaluate and conclude, Communicate) when answering historical questions. Over the course of the scheme, children develop their understanding of the following key disciplinary concepts:

  • Change and continuity.
  • Cause and consequence.
  • Similarities and differences.
  • Historical significance.
  • Historical interpretations.
  • Sources of evidence.

These concepts will be encountered in different contexts during the study of local, British and world history. Accordingly, children will have varied opportunities to learn how historians use these skills to analyse the past and make judgements. They will confidently develop and use their own historical skill set. As children progress through the scheme, they will create their own historical enquiries to study using sources and the skills they have developed.

Substantive concepts such as power, trade, invasion and settlement, are introduced in Key stage 1, clearly identified in Lower key stage 2 and revisited in Upper key stage 2 (see Progression of skills and knowledge) allowing knowledge of these key concepts to grow. These concepts are returned to in different contexts, meaning that pupils begin to develop an understanding of these abstract themes which are crucial to their future learning in History. The Holy Name scheme follows the spiral curriculum model where previous skills and knowledge are returned to and built upon. For example, children progress by developing their knowledge and understanding of substantive and disciplinary concepts by experiencing them in a range of historical contexts and periods. History in Action videos explain the careers and work of those in history and heritage-related fields. Historians, archivists, archaeologists, museum curators, teachers and heritage experts discuss their love of history, how they became interested in the subject, how they got into their jobs and what their jobs involve.

Lessons are designed to be varied, engaging and hands-on, allowing children to experience the different aspects of an historical enquiry. In each lesson, children will participate in activities involving disciplinary and substantive concepts, developing their knowledge and understanding of Britain’s role in the past and that of the wider world. Children will develop their knowledge of concepts and chronology as well as their in-depth knowledge of the context being studied.

Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils in building a foundation of factual knowledge by encouraging recall of key facts, concepts and vocabulary. Strong subject knowledge is vital for staff to be able to deliver a highly-effective and robust history curriculum. Each unit of lessons focuses on the key subject knowledge needed to deliver the curriculum, making links with prior learning and identifying possible misconceptions. The Holy Name Scheme has been created with the understanding that many teachers do not feel confident delivering the History curriculum and every effort has been made to ensure that they feel supported to deliver lessons of a high standard.


The impact of Holy Name’s scheme can be constantly monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities. Each lesson includes guidance to support teachers in assessing pupils against the learning objectives. Furthermore, each unit we follow has a skill catcher and knowledge assessment quiz which can be used at the end of the unit to provide a summative assessment. After the implementation of Holy Name’s Primary History, pupils should leave school equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed in their secondary education. They will be enquiring learners who ask questions and can make suggestions about where to find the evidence to answer the question. They will be critical and analytical thinkers who are able to make informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past. The expected impact of the scheme of work is that children will:

  • Know and understand the history of Britain, how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
  • Develop an understanding of the history of the wider world, including ancient civilisations, empires, non-European societies and the achievements of mankind.
  • Develop a historically-grounded understanding of substantive concepts - power, invasion, settlement and migration, civilisation, religion, trade, achievements of mankind and society.
  • Form historical arguments based on cause and effect, consequence, continuity and change, similarity and differences.
  • Have an appreciation for significant individuals, inventions and events that impact our world both in history and from the present day.
  • Understand how historians learn about the past and construct accounts.
  • Ask historically-valid questions through an enquiry-based approach to learning to create structured accounts.
  • Explain how and why interpretations of the past have been constructed using evidence.
  • Make connections between historical concepts and timescales.
  • Meet the relevant Early Learning Goals at the end of EYFS (Reception) and the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National curriculum for History at the end of Key stage 1 and 2.

Our children are tracked by their class teacher after each unit covered. This spreadsheet informs the teachers and parents and is also available for Subject leaders. The tracking marks against every I can statement from each of the 6 session blocks.

Our History curriculum is designed to impact positively on our children’s lives and future careers, especially in the vibrant city of Manchester. Holy Name is located in Central Manchester where there are lots of places for our children to visit and learn from. Children have the chance to see what careers look like out of school and this has been evident when visiting Manchester Museum, which is linked to Manchester University. Our History curriculum can improve historical empathy and our children’s ability to perceive, emotionally experience, and contextualise a historical figure's lived experience. Historical empathy is important because it puts the past into context where children internalise on a deeper level and evoke a feeling as to why that event occurred and gives them another perspective on the past.

The teaching and learning of History provides a great sense of belonging to our children from our demographic in Moss Side.  Many children are from different countries and cultures from around the world. It is vital that children have a sense of belonging but also understand why they are in the place they are, how this has changed over time and what opportunities there are in Manchester for their future.



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Holy Name RC Primary School

Denmark Road, Moss Side, Manchester, M15 6JS

T: 01612266303

E: admin@holyname.manchester.sch.uk

Head of School: Damian Regan
Executive Headteacher: Catherine Gordon

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