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"We study history not to be clever in another time, but to be wise always." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

The member of staff responsible for History is Miss Booles.


How our Dovecotes Primary School’s History Curriculum Promotes Our Core Values:  


Be Ambitious – To recognise how ambition is a powerful vehicle to create change and to be inspired through the actions of significant individuals from the past.


Be Kind - To respectfully support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using historical evidence from a range of sources; to express and debate differing points of view in a courteous manner.


Be Honest - To recognise the importance of retelling the past honestly in order to learn from history, and to understand how events have shaped our world today.


Be Brave – To appreciate the courageous actions of significant individuals and groups of people who have changed the world that we live in today for the better.


Be Creative - To interpret and explore history through the asking and answering of relevant historical questions, considering carefully and creatively how historical sources can tell us more about the past.


Be Healthy – To recognise how learning from history has enabled us to fight and deal with disease. (Florence Nightingale)

Intent – What Do We Aspire For Our Children?


At Dovecotes Primary School, we intend to deliver a knowledge rich history curriculum that inspires children to want to find out more about the past. We will equip them with the essential historical enquiry skills to think and act as historians so that they are able to investigate and interpret the past effectively.


Our pupils will gain a coherent chronological knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past (from the earliest times to the present day) and that of the wider world with a focus upon local, national and internationally significant people and events. We want pupils to know how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. We intend for our history curriculum to help pupils to better understand the diverse heritages within our school community and ensure that our history curriculum reflects our multicultural school community. 


We aim to:

  • Give children a chronological understanding of significant events in UK (including Wolverhampton and the Black Country) and world history.

  • Expose children to significant ancient civilisations, empires and non-European societies.

  • Ask pupils to draw connections between different aspects of local, national and international history.

  • Develop historical vocabulary.

  • Explain abstract terms (such as empire and civilisation) and historical concepts (such as significance and consequence).

  • Prove to children how important evidence is in historical enquiry and show how contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past may occur using primary and secondary sources.


By the end of Early Years, pupils will be able to:

  • talk about the lives of the people around them;

  • comment on images of familiar situations from the past;

  • make sense of their own life story and family history;

  • know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;

  • understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class including figures from the past.


By the end of Key Stage 1, pupils will be able to:

  • develop an awareness of the past and know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework;

  • make comparisons by identifying similarities and differences between life in different historical periods;

  • show an understanding of how we know about the past;

  • describe changes in living memory using historical vocabulary;

  • Recall some significant people from history and events beyond living memory.


By the end of Key Stage 2, pupils will be able to:

  • develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, noting connections, contrasts and trends over time;

  • use the appropriate historical vocabulary to describe change, cause, similarity and difference when discussing significant historical periods, events or people;

  • understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources;

  • select, organise and use relevant historical information to communicate their understanding of history in a variety of ways.

Implementation - How Will We Deliver The Curriculum?


Knowledge at the Heart of the Curriculum - Understanding Different Types of Knowledge in History:


Substantive Knowledge

This is factual knowledge of the past - key events, place, people, dates etc -  which pupils need at their fingertips, whilst undertaking historical enquiries. 

It can be categorised into ‘substantive concepts’ (abstract concepts such as invasion, tax, trade or empire). Substantive concepts are embedded throughout the curriculum so that each one is planned to be encountered multiple times. Substantive concepts are best understood with repeated encounters in specific, meaningful contexts, because they support the learning of new material. For example, understanding the concept of invasion from an earlier topic supports understanding of the next topic which involves invasion.

Key Stage 1 Substantive Concepts


City, commemoration, discrimination (including racism and sexism), entertainment, farming, leisure, migration, ruler: king/queen, technology, trade, transport, travel, war: battle/conflict/exploration.

Key Stage 2 Substantive Concepts


city-state, civilization, colonisation, commemoration: remembrance, conquest, culture, democracy, discrimination: racism, economy: barter/money/taxation/taxes, empire, enslavement, entertainment, exploration, farming, golden age, kingdom (monarchy), knowledge, leisure, migration, monarch, occupation of territory, power, propaganda, religion, ruler: king, tribal chief, emperor, pharaoh, settlement, society, technology, trade, transport, travel,  treaty, tribe, war: battle/conflict/invasion/army*

Disciplinary Knowledge and Historical Enquiry

Disciplinary knowledge is knowledge about how historians investigate the past and undertake a historical enquiry.

Pupils learn disciplinary knowledge within relevant historical contexts (i.e. the substantive topics such as Ancient Greece). Units of learning are framed around central Big Questions. It helps pupils to understand the different version of the past can be constructed, and that historical narrative is partially dependent upon viewpoint.

Disciplinary knowledge is concerned with developing critical thinking and can be categorised into 7 disciplinary concepts that are repeatedly and systematically developed in our history curriculum:


Chronological Understanding – when and for how long something happened and what periods of history came before and after.


Cause and Consequence - selecting and combining information that might be deemed a cause and shaping it into a coherent causal explanation; understanding the relationship between an event and other future events.


Continuity and Change - analysing the pace, nature and extent of change.


Historical Significance - understanding how and why historical events, trends and individuals are thought of as being important.


Similarities and Difference - analysing the extent and type of difference between people, groups, experiences or places in the same historical period.


Historical Interpretations - understanding how and why different accounts of the past are constructed

Historical Evidence – understanding what sources are, how they can be used and what they can tell us about the past.


Each unit in our overview is underpinned by rich, substantive knowledge and ambitious vocabulary, whilst also ensuring children are developing their disciplinary knowledge (historical skills). Each unit of work is planned carefully to ensure concepts are taught in an order that support children's understanding. These substantive concepts are known as golden threads and children will repeatedly revisit them throughout their time at Dovecotes.


Units of work are structured around an overarching ‘big question’ to ensure teaching is focused. Each unit of work has an emphasis on historical enquiry where children analyse and evaluate historical sources independently, investigate historically framed questions whilst also developing historical enquiries of their own.

At the heart of our approach is retrieval practice and recapping. Retrieval practice involves deliberately recalling knowledge from memory and we build in regular checks at the start and end of each lesson to establish what knowledge has been learnt. To further ensure that knowledge is beginning to ‘stick’, units of work refer to learning from previous units. For example, when studying how Benin was invaded by the British in the name of empire, in Y5/6, they make comparisons with the invasion of Britain in Y3/4 by the Romans in their attempt to empire build.  


And finally, children will learn history through enrichment opportunities such as museum visits, handling artifacts and engaging in carefully planned fieldwork. 

Dovecotes Whole School History Curriculum


EYFS teach through themes which are heavily led by the children’s interests. 


  • Cycle A

    • Changes within living memory - How has life changed since when our grandparents were children? 

    • Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside - How have holidays changed over time?

    • Local History - How has Wolverhampton and the Dovecotes Estate changed over time?

  • Cycle B

    • London’s Burning! - Did the great fire make London a better or worse place?

    • Nurturing Nurses: Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole - What was Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole’s greatest achievement? 

    • Polar Explorers: Scott of the Antarctic - Who on earth is Scott of the Antarctic? 


  • Cycle A

    • Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age - What was life like in the Stone Age and Iron Age and how do we know?

    • Investigating Pompeii - Why was Pompeii lost and forgotten about for almost 1700 years?

    • The Roman Empire and its Impact on Britain - What happened when the Romans came to Britain?

  • Cycle B

    • Columbus, The Moon Landing and Martin Luther King - How are Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King and the Moon Landing significant in American history?

    • Brilliant Benin - What sort of place was Benin and what changes took place when the Europeans started trading? 

    • Ancient Egypt - What did the Ancient Egyptians achieve?


  • Cycle A

    • Ancient Greece and their Influence on the Western World - What did the Ancient Greeks do for us? 

    • The Mayans - What was everyday life like for Mayan people and how can we possibly know? 

    • Scots, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings - What was life like in Anglo-Saxon Britain and how far did the Vikings get in trying to take over the country?

  • Cycle B

    • The Home Front During WW2 - How was Britain able to stand firm against the German threat?

    • The Molineux - How did the Molineux Stadium get its name?

    • Coming to England (The Windrush) - How has migration changed British culture? 

Impact - How Do We Know Our History Curriculum Is Effective?


Pupil Voice


We believe that if children have become knowledgeable historians, then they will be able to articulate their understanding with confidence. This is why pupil voice is an important tool in assessing whether children have made progress. If a child is able to confidently formulate and explain their own responses to an overarching enquiry and recall their current and previous learning then the curriculum and its delivery have been successful.




After the topic has been taught, we ask children to complete quizzes linked to the current unit of work. This allows us to see how much the children have remembered and how much progress they have made.


For further information about the History curriculum please contact Mrs. Jones our subject lead through the school email address.

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