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History and Geography

All classes undertake historical and geographical investigations as part of their topic work. This is taught through our Creative Curriculum structure. Both areas are also used to give pupils experience of reading and writing across the curriculum.

From September 2014 the topics studied in each year group will change. This is necessary to ensure we comply with the new National Curriculum.


Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources and that different versions of past events may exist, giving some reasons for this.

In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.

Pupils should be taught about:

  • changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
    This could include:
    • late Neolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers, e.g. Skara Brae
    • Bronze Age religion, technology and travel, e.g. Stonehenge
    • Iron Age hill forts: tribal kingdoms, farming, art and culture
  • the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
    This could include:
    • Julius Caesar's attempted invasion in 55-54 BC
    • the Roman Empire by AD 42 and the power of its army
    • successful invasion by Claudius and conquest, including Hadrian's Wall
    • British resistance, e.g. Boudica
    • "Romanisation" of Britain: sites such as Caerwent and the impact of technology, culture and beliefs, including early Christianity
  • Britain's settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
    This could include:
    • Roman withdrawal from Britain in c. AD 410 and the fall of the western Roman Empire
    • Scots invasions from Ireland to north Britain (now Scotland)
    • Anglo-Saxon invasions, settlements and kingdoms: place names and village life
    • Anglo-Saxon art and culture
    • Christian conversion – Canterbury, Iona and Lindisfarne
  • the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
    This could include:
    • Viking raids and invasion
    • resistance by Alfred the Great and Athelstan, first king of England
    • further Viking invasions and Danegeld
    • Anglo-Saxon laws and justice
    • Edward the Confessor and his death in 1066
  • a local history study
    For example:
    • a depth study linked to one of the British areas of study listed above
    • a study over time tracing how several aspects national history are reflected in the locality (this can go beyond 1066)
    • a study of an aspect of history or a site dating from a period beyond 1066 that is significant in the locality.
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils' chronological knowledge beyond 1066
    For example:
    • the changing power of monarchs using case studies such as John, Anne and Victoria
    • changes in an aspect of social history, such as crime and punishment from the Anglo-Saxons to the present or leisure and entertainment in the 20th Century
    • the legacy of Greek or Roman culture (art, architecture or literature) on later periods in British history, including the present day
    • a significant turning point in British history, e.g. the first railways or the Battle of Britain
  • the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.


Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world's most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical tools and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.

Pupils should be taught to:
Location knowledge

  • locate the world's countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
  • name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time
  • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night)

Place knowledge

  • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America

Human and physical geography

  • describe and understand key aspects of:
    • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
    • human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
  • use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
  • use fieldwork to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.