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Subject Leader: Mrs Palmer

Our place in the world


Children will be increasingly aware of how historical figures and events have shaped the world they currently live in. Through our History curriculum, children gain a better understanding of the changes that have impacted our world today. They will also further their understanding of history on a local level. We study a diverse range of significant historical figures from a range of backgrounds.

Language and oracy


We have many opportunities for new History vocabulary which we introduce, model and repeat, building our children's ability to communicate their knowledge, ideas and questions. We encourage debate and discussion in class where children can practice taking turns when listening and speaking to their peers.

Learning skills


The skills developed within our History curriculum support children to become active, lifelong learners. We aim to build children's confidence and independence as well as encourage their perseverance, problem solving and collaborative working.

Healthy body, healthy mind


Our History curriculum supports our children to have healthy bodies and minds as they explore how people lived in the past. We celebrate a range of inspiring historical role-models and events. Children learn about the impact and achievements of people from a range of backgrounds. They consider how people lived in the past and how that can influence their own life choices today.



"Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.Rosa Parks

At St Mary Magdalen's, our children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain's past and that of the wider world. Our History curriculum allows children to learn about the process of change, the relationship between different groups and the diversity of past societies. We aim to stimulate all children’s interest and understanding about the life of people who lived in the past. 

Through the teaching of History we encourage our children to:

  • develop critical thinking and the ability to interpret events and the world around us
  • be curious, ask perceptive questions, gather evidence, think critically and make reasoned judgements
  • develop enquiry skills to pursue their own interests within a topic through further questioning and research
  • use the skills developed in other curriculum areas to record their work and communicate their ideas

Our History curriculum is designed around four historical themes which we call our 'Golden Questions':

  • Who was in charge and who wasn't?
  • What impact has this had on us today?
  • How did they make their lives better and safer?
  • Exploration or invasion?

In addition to these Golden Questions, lessons also help children to answer the question 'How did they use our key skills?' which is a thread that runs through many different History units.


To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in History, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. History is taught as part of termly topics, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum.

Our curriculum is sequenced in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework (2020), Development Matters (2020) and the National Curriculum for History (2013).

These documents set out how:
A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.... History helps pupils to 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.

We teach children a sense of chronology and to make links and connections to previous learning. Children develop their knowledge and explanations of change and continuity over time. We plan for the use of a range of skills and activities such as analysis of primary and secondary sources, the sequencing of photographs, artefacts and events on a timeline and examining cause and effect.


Our History curriculum should ensure that children leave St Mary Magdalen’s with:  

  • the ability to express their History knowledge and understanding, using increasingly precise subject specific vocabulary
  • an understanding of chronology and the key historical periods as outlined in the National Curriculum
  • an understanding of key elements of local history
  • an increasing awareness of how historical events have shaped our world
  • enquiry and research skills that enable them to pursue their own interests 
  • increasingly critical and analytical thinking skills, making informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past
  • The ability to review, modify and improve their work

How to support your child at home.

  • Explore the history of our local area https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/
  • Visit museums and local sites of historical interest, many of which are free or have special offers for local residents
  • Walk around the city and notice the features of different buildings. How can we tell how old they are? When may they have been built? What is the same/different? Can you spot any Blue Plaques? What do they tell us?
  • Look at the statues of famous historical figures around Brighton and Hove. Who are they? Why are they there? Who chose to put them there? Who else should have a statue and why?
  • Talk to your child about the recent past and family history; what toys did you play with as a child, what significant historical events can you recall from your lifetime? 
  • Make a family tree or a simple timeline together.
  • Encourage your child ask older family members or friends questions about the past; look at old photos together to help embed the concept of chronology; what is the same/different?​

Explore these websites together:


  • https://www.childrensuniversity.manchester.ac.uk/ (select History topics)
  • BBC Bitesize (select relevant year group and subject)
  • National Geography Kids
  • Enjoy the Horrible Histories books and TV programmes together
  • Explore a range of non-fiction History books 
  • Read a range of stories set in the past or about historical figures
  • If you are not already members, join the library; membership is free and you can borrow fiction and non-fiction books from any of the libraries across our city. You can also use the computers in the library and download free ebooks and audio books using Brighton and Hove's free app, BorrowBox.
  • Brighton & Hove Libraries, Leisure and Arts


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