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Thornhill Primary School

Thornhill Primary School

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Thornhill's key principles for the teaching of history:


At Thornhill, we provide a history curriculum that inspires children’s curiosity about the past through stimulating topics spanning from the Ancient World to the present day. Children will gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past as well as learning about the wider world and other cultures.


We believe that history is more than just knowledge and our curriculum teaches key historical skills that encourage children to interpret evidence and other arguments, ask perceptive questions, use their judgement, be perceptive and become critical thinkers. Furthermore, history can be used as a tool to help children understand their own personal history and identity, change, diversity and relationships.


Curiosity is further encouraged through the use of trips, artefacts and specialist visitors in order for the children to develop a rich understanding through hands on experiences. Pupils will link knowledge and identify concepts across topics. They will be able to thinking broadly and consider where history topics sit on a timeline.


Key Stage 1Our younger children focus on developing an awareness of the past, chronology and similarities and differences between ways of life. The curriculum focuses on the significant events in British history. We also learn about the interesting lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.


Key Stage 2 – Our older children continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history through topics ranging from Ancient Greece to World War 2. They begin to note connections, contrasts and trends over time and build up a technical vocabulary. KS2 pupils challenge, interpret and question historical information and use a range of sources to respond thoughtfully.


The effective teaching of history at Thornhill


Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past: Teachers provide pupils with information, evidence and a range of sources in order to find out about the past. Pupils are then about to recount key facts and events, describe different aspects of society, compare similarities and differences between different eras and events, make links between features of past societies and discuss how historical events influence life today.


Historical interpretation: Pupils are taught to look at different versions of the same event and understand that some evidence is open to interpretation, learning to evaluate evidence and choose the most reliable forms.


Historical enquiry: The history curriculum encourages pupils to pose their own questions and find answers, forming their own lines to enquiry. Pupils identify different ways in which the past is represented and gather evidence through a range of sources including books, videos, photographs, databases, artefacts, eye witness accounts, visits to sites and buildings, museums and galleries.


Chronological understanding: Understanding how to put people, events and objects in order of when they happened using a timeline is a key historical skill embedded into every topic. As children progress through the school the level of understanding and detail develops.


Organisation and communication: Teachers ensure that a range of activities are provided within any given topic. It is important that pupils are able to communicate ideas about the past using a range writing genres, drawings, diagrams, data-handling, drama role play, story-telling and using ICT.


Technical Vocabulary: Key historical terminology is embedded throughout each teaching unit. This includes topic specific language as well as language linked to the passing and measuring of time (e.g. BC and AD). Careful attention is given by teachers to promote progression of understanding and usage of technical vocabulary. Vocabulary is revisited regularly in order to deepen understanding and abstract terms are introduced using real-life contexts.


Assessment: At Thornhill, each topic begins with a preliminary assessment through a discussion and a collection of initial ideas and prior knowledge. Planning is then based on this initial assessment, so that lessons can be structured and taught ensuring maximum progress for each pupil. Using formative and summative assessment approaches of assessment, the content is then differentiated, taught and assessed both at the end of a lesson and entire topic through self-assessment and teacher observations.

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