Opening Worlds – The Humanities Curriculum

The ‘Opening Worlds’ Curriculum at Thorndown:

At Thorndown Primary School, we are using the ‘Opening Worlds’ Humanities Curriculum where our History, Geography and RE sessions are slowly transitioning. Currently, this curriculum is implemented in Year 3 and Year 4. Over the next two years, all of KS2 will be following this approach.

Intent of the ‘Opening Worlds’ curriculum:

The uniqueness and background of every child is recognise and valued. Because of this, our curriculum covers a range of cultural, historical and ethical backgrounds and offers purposeful and meaningful experiences to apply, share and develop this knowledge . Our diverse, culturally rich, wide-scoping and rigorous/coherent curriculum is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills, knowledge, concepts and values in a rigorous and coherent way. Explicit links to story telling and creativity are made to ensure children to engage and enthuse learners.  Many enhancement and enrichment activities are used throughout the curriculum to engage learners and create purposeful, high leverage outcomes that give children the opportunity to use and apply their developing knowledge and skills. Our aim is to create an environment that prompts curiosity, critical thinking and allows learners to connect strands of learning across all aspects of the curriculum.


How the curriculum ‘works’ – The approach and strategies: 




The Structure of the curriculum: 


This approach has a coherent, chronological and rigorous structure that ensures that links are not only made across individual subjects but also across each of the topics covered. This means that knowledge is gradually and successfully built upon and children make explicit links using their previous knowledge. This is consistently revisited and retrieved. Below, the coverage of each humanities subject


History Geography RE
Year 3
Autumn Term
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Cradles of Civilisation – Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Rivers
  • Mountains and Famous Mountain Ranges
  • A Hindu Story – Rama and Sita
  • Hinduism origins: places and stories from the Indus Valley.
Spring Term
  • Indus Valley Civilisation
  • Ancient  Greece
  • Settlements and Cities
  • Agriculture and Farming
  • Living as a Hindu
  • Judaism How have stories from the Hebrew Bible shaped Judaism?
Summer Term
  • Ancient Greece – The Culture
  • Alexander the Great
  • Volcanoes and the earth’s structure
  • Climate and Biomes
  • Moses and Exodus
  • Samuel, Saul and David Stories
Year 4
Autumn Term
  • Ancient Rome
  • The Roman Empire
  • The Rhine and Mediterranean
  • Populations, diversity and migration
  • Christianity and Palestine – The stories from the New Testament
  • The New Testament – why are stories important to Christians
Spring Term
  • The Ancient Britons – The Celts and Roman Rule
  • Constantine, Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire
  • Coastal Processes and landforms
  • Tourism – A study of the Rhine/Mediterranean and National Parks
  • New Testament Stories – Jesus and the meaning for Christians
  • New Testament Stories
Summer Term
  • Ancient Arabia and the Bedouin Culture
  • The rise of Islam
  • Earthquakes and tectonic plates
  • Climate change and deserts
  • Christian traditions and practices around the world
  • Christianity in London today


History Geography RE
Year 5 (As of September 2022)
Autumn Term
  • Baghdad – the round city – comparing cities in the early medieval world
  • Anglo-Saxons and their arrival in Briton
  • Why is California so thirsty?
  • Oceans and trade
  • Muslim beliefs – claims about truth and worldviews
  • The festival of Eid around  the world
Spring Term
  • Viking raids
  • Norse Culture
  • Migration in Europe and the world – global trade
  • North and South America
  • Islam in Britain and London
  • Buddhism and its Hinduism origin
Summer Term
  • Christianity in the British Isles
  • Early civilisations in the Americas (Amazonian tribes)
  • Rainforests and the Amazon basin
  • Agriculture in the Amazon basin
  • Buddhism – Buddhism today
  • Sikhism today
Year 6 (As of September 2023)
Autumn Term
  • London and migration through time – changes from the Saxons to the 1500s
  • Tudor London
  • Comparing three contrasting cultures (Wales/London, Mediterranean/Rhine, Amazon/California)
  • Polar regions
  • The origin of two key religions
  • Changing religion in England over time – Henry VIII and reformations
Spring Term
  • The Kingdom of Benin
  • 17th century London – Samuel Pepys
  • Natural resources in London
  • Changing religion in England over time – Islam and Hinduism
  • Changing religion in England over time – Judaism
Summer Term
  • Eighteenth and Nineteenth century London
  • Britain, London and the Second World War
  • Local fieldwork
  • Deepening understanding of religious traditions through religious art, music and literature