At Pencoys, we value history as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. At Pencoys we believe our history curriculum enables children to know about the past, so they can understand the present and improve the future.  Our curriculum gives children the opportunity to explore their own identity through Cornwall’s local history and links with the wider world. It also gives the children a secure understanding of some of the key national, and global history that has shaped our world. Through the disciplinary concepts of cause and consequence, continuity and change, similarities and differences and significance, children are encouraged to ask perceptive questions, think critically, develop perspective and to analyse and question evidence.

History at Pencoys is driven by the school’s key drivers:

  • Environment – Children learn about how historical events have shaped our environment; from the Cornish mines and their impact on the local landscape to the invasion of the Roman empire and how it changed Britain. It encourages children to consider the legacy they want to leave.
  • Curiosity – History at Pencoys is designed to foster curiosity. Children are encouraged to question and challenge historical decisions, opinions and events. E.g Titanic class systems, ethics of historical explorations/ empire, Windrush. Through a range of sources of evidence children develop their curiosity from a young age.
  •  Communication – Pupils are encouraged to communicate their understanding. History vocabulary is taught discreetly, and children are expected to use the correct terminology to broaden their vocabulary in all lessons.  Where high quality guided reading texts are available these are used to broaden vocabulary/ widen understanding further.
  • Community – Our history curriculum helps children understand the diversity of world they live in and how historical events have shaped communities. It also helps children understand how communities have changed and developed through time.  E.g. The migration of the Cornish Miners vs Windrush migration.
  • Creativity – The history curriculum encourages children to think creatively by making links between different historical events, asking and reasoning about open ended questions and recognising that there may be many plausible answers as they explore historical sources of evidence. E.g. ‘What do you think this stone age tool was used for?’
  • Resilience – Our curriculum encourages children to be resilient in all their lessons, even when they are finding learning challenging. Our curriculum also encourages children to see how historical figures have demonstrated resilience and reflect upon this in their own lives. E.g. Shackleton, Mary Anning.



The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
  • know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind

  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’

  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses

  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed

  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

At Pencoys, History is taught over three half terms per year.  These follow the whole school enquiries of: ‘Exploration and discovery’. ‘Society’ and ‘Changing Britain’

Our History curriculum breaks the national curriculum down in to small steps towards end points for each year group. These are outlined on the progression overview.


Medium Term Planning (MTP) is supported by a ‘small steps’ document for each block. Each step has an enquiry question which together progress towards the end points for that year group.


  • Exploration and Discovery’: In the early years, through play-based learning and a range of stories, children are exposed to the idea of past and present. Through experiences close to them e.g. toys/ photos of themselves growing up/ family at different ages they explore similarities and differences between the past and now. Ks1 starts with using Mary Anning as a lens on to how we discover more about the past, children use stories and primary sources such as fossils to find out more. Locally significant people such as Samuel Wallis and different sources of evidence surrounding his expedition build on this in year 2. As they move in to KS2 there is a focus on how we find out about early civilisations (Maya/ Ancient Egypt) and the sources of evidence we find around the world of life at this time. This then moves on to exploring how historical evidence of exploration can teach us about resilience as well as the limitations, viewpoints and reliability of evidence. e.g Shackleton.
  • Society; In the early years children are encouraged to talk about people around them and in society. In year 1 a focus there is a focus on monarchy which provides essential knowledge about the role of a monarch which is key to understanding many historical periods. Focus is on Queen Elizabeth the 2nd with some exposure to various monarchs throughout history. In y2 the societal impacts of class and gender are explored through Titanic. As children move in to KS2 children explore longer historical periods and how societies developed and changed. In UKS2 this includes a focus on the impact of invasion and migration on society.
  • Changing Britain; Each year ends with a focus’s back in on British History to encourage children to reflect on how history has impacted their own lives and where they live. In the early years, children continue to explore similarities and differences between the past and now. In KS1 the through the seaside and the local mining area children explore primary sources such as the ruins and Victorian hotels to see the legacy of these periods on our local area. They are also encouraged to question sources of evidence such as photos which can be misleading/ hard to date. The seaside also offers the opportunity for children to explore the living memory of those around them.

In LKS2 the roman invasion follows on from the iron age but also provides an excellent opportunity to explore how they left their impact on Britain and where we see evidence of this today. E.g. Roman baths, Hadrian’s wall, roads. The concept of Empire is built on as we explore the packet ships and their importance to the British Empire. In UKS2 children explore how invasion, conflict and migration have changed Britain. Culminating with an exploration into the migration of the Cornish miners this brings the children’s education back to their Cornish heritage and it’s links to the wider world. Comparing this migration with the Windrush migration also allows children to compare and question how different communities are received.

Opportunities to understand the diversity of Britain and address controversial issues such as historical conflict/migration/ have been included to provide a safe space for children to ask questions about what they see in the media e.g Black lives matter.

Each History block begins with a launch day which engages and reactivates prior learning linked to the block. During this day a ‘never heard the word’ vocabulary assessment and knowledge harvest is also undertaken. These are revisited at the end of each block alongside a ‘pop task’, to review and assess children’s understanding and learning.  Ongoing formative and summative assessment against the steps informs planning for the next History lesson and block.

History LTP Pencoys


  • Our children are ‘thinking like historians’, able to examine, question and enquire as historians would.

  • Are excited and engaged by history.

  • Make links between different periods in history and their lasting impact.

  • Question historical injustice and its relevance today.

By the end of their primary education:

  • Our children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day.

  • Our children will know and understand the history of the UK from the earliest times to the present day: how different people have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.

  • Our children will know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world including the nature of ancient civilisations, the expansion of Empires, the impact of invasions and periods of conflict.

  • Our children will value and demonstrate pride in their Cornish cultural heritage, making links to Cornwall’s role in global history.

  • Our children will understand and question methods of historical enquiry and evidence.

  • Our children will develop a passion for history and the skills to prepare them for KS3.

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