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Thornhill Primary School

Thornhill Primary School

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History is the very foundation of the world that we live in today and we believe that this idea should form the basis of how children interact with the past.


With this in mind, at Thornhill we believe that our history curriculum must achieve two key goals:

It must inspire children’s curiosity about the past and it must give children the tools to make sense of all areas of this vast subject.


In our school, children can explore the past as a coherent narrative from ancient civilisations through to modern history. It is vital that our curriculum allows children to develop a deep understanding of the history of Britain, the history of the wider world, the history of ancient civilisations, and the history of Islington as their local area.


To do this we aim to (our intent):

  • Develop each child’s key historical skills (Enquiry, Interpretation, Chronology, Knowledge and Understanding), allowing them to harvest a deep understanding in any area of history.
  • Teach key historical concepts and vocabulary progressively across the school in line with the National Curriculum.
  • Allow children to explore the five key historical themes (society and culture, conflict, legacy, trade and significant individuals) as a way of both deepening their understanding of history and articulating similarities and differences across all areas of the past.
  • Develop a secure sense of chronology; acquiring an understanding of time, events and people through the passing of time.
  • Use research skills to pose questions and investigate the past by making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  • Study, in depth, the figures that have shaped history and the world in which we live.


In order to achieve our intent, history is taught in three topics across the academic year, with each topic focusing on a different area of history in line with the national curriculum.


At Thornhill, each topic is planned and taught (our implementation):


  • To ensure children have access to Thornhill’s four historical skills (Enquiry, Interpretation, Chronology, Knowledge and Understanding) in each topic to fully understand that area of history.
  • Through carefully sequenced lessons that demonstrate progression building upon prior knowledge and enabling children to apply it to new learning.
  • To allow children to make links across the curriculum through the explicit exploration of three of Thornhill’s historical themes (society and culture, conflict, legacy, trade and significant individuals) in each topic.
  • Using timelines that show all prior learning so that chronology is embedded and children understand how different periods of history link together.
  • By ensuring that key vocabulary is taught explicitly in each topic so that children have the language to talk confidently about history.
  • By incorporating a range of sources of evidence – both primary and secondary – to help bring history to life within the classroom.
  • Through historical visits and activities where children are able to develop a greater understanding of the past in their local area and across the world.


The impact of history teaching is assessed in a variety of ways - book monitoring, informal learning walks and pupil voice. These are performed by the subject leader to gain an insight of History teaching in practise.

Through this monitoring, it is evident that pupils are excited and curious about History and that teachers are confident in their teaching of our history curriculum at Thornhill.

The class teacher will monitor the progress of children in their class by conducting an end of unit assessment to assess the knowledge that the children have gained during that topic. Furthermore, each topic will begin with an assessment of prior learning to assess both children’s starting points and their retention of historical knowledge long term. Class teacher’s will then use a combination of these assessments, the child’s learning in lessons and their own informal AfL (Assessment for Learning) to make a judgement on whether each child is working at, above or below age related expectations within history.


  • Thornhill Primary School,
  • Thornhill Road,
  • London,
  • N1 1HX