History is essentially about people and their development over a period of time. It is our aim that through the study of History, pupils at Orleans will become excited by events in the past, becoming detectives and researchers using primary and secondary sources and through the use of ICT. We aim to foster an understanding of how the past influences the present and help children develop some chronological understanding – recognising the relationship between the periods they have studied.

The study of history involves engaging pupils in investigating questions about people and events in the past in order to enable them to better understand their lives today and for a future as more informed and enlightened citizens.  Through the study of history pupils also develop a wide range of critical thinking skills, which enable them to understand the contested nature of knowledge and to distinguish between ‘fact’ and subjectivity when it comes to reaching conclusions and making judgements about the past. 

History in the Foundation Stage

Children are developing the crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world, in historical ways. We understand that to effectively develop these skills children at this stage need access to plenty of first-hand experiences that encourage exploration, observation, problem-solving, prediction, critical thinking, decision-making and discussion. The specific area of learning is called Understanding of the world. It involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

Key Stages 1 & 2

Learning is facilitated through pupils pursuing a key question led enquiry approach, which encourages them to take increasing responsibility for their learning, think independently and achieve challenging subject outcomes.  At Orleans, we seek to encourage pupils to learn their History through big question led enquiries about significant events, people and changes which allows them sufficient scope and time to really engage in high order subject skills such as developing explanations (even though there are very often no ‘right’ answers to questions in History), reaching conclusions, making judgements, evaluating, applying information learned in one context to another and generating their own ideas and questions to investigate through hypothesising.  

Our teaching and learning in history is interactive and practical allowing opportunities for pupils to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom.  Wherever possible, we provide our pupils with historical evidence including narratives, paintings, photographs, artefacts, and data in the form of censuses and films to analyse and from which to reach conclusions and make judgements.  Equally, we provide varied and differentiated ways for pupils to record the outcomes of their work including the use of ICT, concept mapping, annotated diagrams, improvised drama and the application of a wide range of writing genres.  Only in this way will knowledge become embedded and ‘sticky’ and ensure that our pupils can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next. 

Our History Curriculum is high quality, well-thought-out and is planned to demonstrate progression. When children show signs of being gifted and talented in History, teachers endeavour to provide teaching and learning experiences that encourage all pupils to think creatively, explore and develop ideas, and try different approaches.


Orleans Primary School, Hartington Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3EN