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West Wycombe School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust



History at West Wycombe School


Our 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 build the confidence to think critically, ask questions, and be able to explain and analyse historical evidence.



Through our scheme of work, we aim to develop 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 enjoy the many reasons why people may behave the way they do, supporting children to develop empathy for others while providing an opportunity to learn from humanity's past mistakes.


West Wycombe Primary's History scheme aims to support pupils in building their understanding of chronology in each year group, making connections over periods and developing a chronologically secure knowledge of History. We aim to develop pupils' understanding of how historians study the past and construct accounts and the skills to carry out their historical enquiries.


To prepare pupils for their future learning in History, our scheme aims to introduce them to crucial substantive concepts, including power, invasion, settlement and migration, empire, civilisation, religion, trade, achievements of humankind, society and culture.



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:



The West Wycombe Primary scheme emphasises the importance of historical knowledge 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 team focuses on chronology to enable 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 crucial experiences from their past, helping them understand that they each have their 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. They will know where people and events work 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 West Wycombe Primary timeline supports children in developing this chronological awareness. These units consist of adult-led and child-initiated activities, which the teacher can select to fit in with Reception class themes or topics. In Key stages 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 vital 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 while studying 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 West Wycombe scheme, they will create 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 critical 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 West Wycombe 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 a historical enquiry. In each learning experience, 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 understanding of concepts, chronology, and in-depth knowledge of the studied context.



Our curriculum's impact is monitored through formative and summative assessment opportunities. Each lesson includes guidance to support teachers in assessing pupils against the learning objectives. Furthermore, each unit has a knowledge assessment quiz, which can be used at the end to provide a summative assessment and a teacher assessment to identify how much the children have learned, what they remember and how confident they are with their learning. 


After implementing West Wycombe Primary History, pupils will leave school equipped with various skills to succeed in their secondary education. They will be enquiring learners who ask questions and can suggest where to find the evidence to answer the question. They will be critical and analytical thinkers who can make informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past.

The expected impact of following the West Wycombe History curriculum 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 humanity.
  • Develop a historically grounded understanding of substantive concepts - power, invasion, settlement and migration, civilisation, religion, trade and achievements of humanity 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 inquiry-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 expectations outlined in the National Curriculum for History at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2.



What our children have said so far:

"I think the Kapow history lessons are fun so far! It has some really cool interactive activities that really help me understand what I'm learning about. They have videos, quizzes and games that make it really fun and engaging. I'm really enjoying it and I'm learning a lot. Plus, I really like that I we have a quiz at the end." 

Chase Year 6

Page last updated: 27/04/24