Subject Leader – Miss Lesley Dixon (Swift Class Teacher)


Our Intent:

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”

Martin Luther King.


At Thorndown, we recognise that history is vital to a broad and rich primary education. Our aim is to establish, develop and nurture a love for learning about history in each of our children. Our teaching ensures the children will enjoy a rich and varied education studying both ancient and modern history.

Developing an understanding of events over time is important to all members of society and through this, the children can develop an understanding of how our knowledge of the past is constructed, with awareness of a range of interpretations and opinions. Our curriculum provides a cohesive and chronological approach to support children’s understanding of how things have changed over time. Specific attention is given to ensure that children understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today and through a range of high-leverage approaches, children are given opportunities to learn both substantive and disciplinary knowledge which enables them to apply their knowledge and become historians themselves.

We believe that developing children’s skills of enquiry is important so that they can question not just what happened before, but to also ask and discover why these events came to happen and how we know about them now. The use of enquiry questions broaden student’s historical skills and enable their analysis and interpretation of different sources and pieces of evidence which will in turn enhance their problem solving skills, specialist vocabulary and writing skills across the wider curriculum.


Vocabulary in History: 

Across Thorndown, vocabulary is a key strand of learning within all subjects. Through explicit teaching, rehearsal and recapping of key vocabulary, children are able to confidently use and apply their learning.

Within Key Stage One, all key vocab is displayed and explicitly taught to help children understand the meanings throughout topics. This is revisited across topics and referred back to systematically.

Within the Opening Worlds Curriculum, each unit supports key language acquisition. This is supported through the use of key vocabulary identified and explicitly taught using high-leverage approaches such as choral rehearsal and repetition.

This language builds up over the course of the topic and more broadly across the key stage. Vocabulary will be revisited and reviewed frequently as children progress through the history curriculum to enable them to acquire new language and embed prior learning.

Please see below an example of core vocabulary expected for a Year 3 unit centred around the Ancient Egyptians. Each Opening Worlds unit will be built around a similar vocabulary list focused on the core language needed to enable all children to access the learning.

Y3 Autumn 1 Ancient Egypt Core Vocab (1)


Want to know more?

Click HERE to read more about The Opening Worlds Curriculum and History at Thorndown. Please follow this link to The Opening worlds Curriculum page.

Please click HERE to read the History Long Term Overview.

Please click HERE to look at our History progression grid.

Please click HERE to read our History policy.


What have we been up to in History at Thorndown this year?

Year 1 have been thinking about significant individuals such as Mary Anning. They have asked questions about her and researched to find out the answers! They have explored how historians know about the past through exploration of fossils and how this shows us the evolution of different animals.



Year 2 enjoyed their Kings and Queens unit where they learns about Queen Elizabeth I. They considered historical sources to explore her appearance and looked at a non-chronological report which included lots of information about the ways she tried to improve her appearance and preserve her youth.



Year 3 have explored how historical sources support historians in constructing arguments about the past. They focused on some artefacts discovered by archaeologists in The Indus Valley and what these have revealed to us about their way of life. They have started to make their own conclusions about the past using their very own historical claims. They even created some replicas of the sources and created their own mini-museum around the classroom.




Year 4 took part in a History off the Page Roman’s Day in March! It revisited and built on our prior learning of Roman Britain with a big focus on Boudicca’s revolt. The children had a fantastic time; some of them became Roman soldiers and marched whilst others were civilians asking Roman tradespeople questions about different aspects of Roman life. From the morning session, each child had their own bag of goods that they had created to take away with them. This included a wax tablet, a mosaic, an engraved copper necklace, perfume and more! In the afternoon, the children took part in a celebratory feast in which they each had a different role to ensure there was food and entertainment for all. The day was full of fun and learning and will not be forgotten in a hurry!



Year 5 had a visit from the Vikings last half term. They were visited by Mildreth who showed them traditional Norse clothing and weapons and shared stories from the most famous Viking raids- including Lindisfarne! Year 5 handled artefacts and drew conclusions about Viking life from these. They also took part in an archaeological dig and acted out their very own Viking saga. To finish off the day, we grabbed out shields and swords and fought in our own Thorndown battle!



Year 6 went on a visit to Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village. They explored the toy museum, haunted manor and transported themselves back to 1066 and spent the day as Medieval peasants. They tried out some armour and weapons and some of them spent some time in the stocks! There were even wild animals roaming in the bailey!


This half term, Year 6 have been considering Black History and exploring how the civil rights movement has changed life for many across the world!


Pupil quotes about History:

“History is fun because they tell you lots of things about the past and it can make you smile and laugh finding things out.”


“History gives you a lot of knowledge and you can use it when you are older too!”


“I love finding out new things about the past because when you’re little, you only know about now!”