Barrowford St Thomas C.E. Primary School

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Wheatley Lane Road, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 6QT

01282 614462

Barrowford St Thomas C.E. Primary School

Our vision is to be a school where all can flourish and grow in God's love.

  2. Subjects
  3. History


History education at Barrowford St Thomas will help our pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past and for our pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.


We aim 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 ocial history; and between short- and long-term timescales

Key Stage 1 

The sequence in KS1 focuses on our children developing a sense of time, place and change. Children study Changes within living memory to develop an understanding of difference over time within concrete experiences of their lives. This chronological knowledge is foundational to the understanding of change over time.
Pupils study the Lives of significant individuals; in one cycle they focus on Mary Anning and David Attenborough. Chronology and place in time steers the understanding of the context in which these significant individuals lived. Terms such as legacy are introduced and used within the context of each study. This study is revisited and enhanced by studying the lives of further significant individuals (this time linked to sport) and black history focusing on Learie Constantine (Cricketing Legend, political activist and our first black peer), Marcus Rashford and Simone Biles 
In KS1, pupils study local history through significant events, people and places. They focus particularly on shops in Barrowford and the local park.  The locality is further understood by knowing about the places, the buildings, the events and the people that tell a story of the past. For example, they learn about the Toll house and the history of Pendle Heritage Centre when it was Park Hill Farm, and the history of the Bannister family.

Events beyond their living memory. Here, pupils draw upon early concepts of chronology and connect it to more abstract, but known, events in the past focusing on the Great Fire of London. There are further opportunities for pupils to revisit and retrieve prior learning with a focus on ‘Events beyond living memory’. Connections, where relevant, are made to wider studies.

Lower Key Stage 2

In lower KS2 (one cycle) pupils study the cultural and technological advances made by our ancestors as well as understanding how historians think Britain changed throughout the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. Archaeological history guides us to know how early humans were creative, innovative and expert at surviving in changeable environments. Having an in-depth understanding of Iron Age Britain offers solid foundations for the study of how Rome influenced Britain. This
foundational knowledge is built upon and used to support long-term retrieval to contrast culture and technology. Pupils are able to draw upon prior understanding to support and position new knowledge, therefore constructing much more stable long-term memories. Substantive concepts such as invasion, law, civilisation and society are developed through explicit vocabulary instruction.
In the other cycle, studies of how Britain was settled by Anglo-Saxons and Scots gives a focus on cultural change and the influence of Christianity. Pupils study how powerful kings and their beliefs shaped the Heptarchy of Anglo-Saxon Britain. We also focus on the Struggle for throne of England through a study of the Vikings, their origins, conquests and agreements with English Anglo-Saxon kings to settle and dwell in the region known as Danelaw.

In Lower Key Stage 2, we also study periods of history beyond 1066 with a focus on crime and punishment. Ancient history (the achievements of the Ancient Egyptians) is also studied and the children learn about their influence on the western world. The understanding of culture, people and places are central to this study. 

Upper Key Stage 2

Later in KS2, knowledge of Anglo-Saxons is revisited and used to connect with a study of the Maya civilisation. The study compares advancement of the Maya culture and innovation to that of the Anglo-Saxons around c.AD 900. Here, location, settlement, people, culture and invention are compared and contrasted.

Recent history, such as the Battle of Britain for example, is studied in the context of how conflict changed society in the Second World War. Modern history is also studied through units such as the Windrush Generation. Knowing about slavery, Caribbean culture and the injustice of the past enlightens pupils to understand why events happened and how these pioneers faced racism, discrimination and prejudice. PSHE and SMSC are vital components of the history
curriculum - challenging racism and prejudice in all its forms. In our local history topic focused on the cotton industry we also learn about how the slave trade was inextricably linked to the cotton trade.

Ancient history (the achievements of the Ancient Greeks) is also studied and the children learn about their influence on the western world. The understanding of culture, people and places are central to this study. We connect this study with prior knowledge of what was happening in Britain at the same time. The effect of this is to deepen and connect a broader understanding of culture, people, places and events through comparison.

CUSP History curriculum

As a key planning and teaching resource from September 2022, we are following the CUSP curriculum for history. The units within the CUSP curriculum complement the history curriculum which we have already developed as a school. The structure of the CUSP history curriculum is built around the principles of advancing cumulative knowledge, chronology, change through cause and consequence, as well as making connections within and throughout periods of time studied. CUSP History is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. A guiding principle of CUSP History is that pupils become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental timeline. 

Specific and associated historical vocabulary is planned sequentially and cumulatively from Year 1 to Year 6. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught alongside and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3).

In the study of the past, our children increase their substantive knowledge. This is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used about the past. This is learning about people, places, events and changes. Following the CUSP curriculum we have defined substantive concepts which are defined at the start of every history unit as a BIG IDEA.  The Big Ideas are:

Community: This gives us a focus on a large group of people living in a place. 

Knowledge: This gives a focus on the difference knowledge makes to people.

Invasion: Taking over another country or region with an armed force.

Civilisation: A large group of people who follow similar laws, religion and rules.

Power: The power to advance technology, architecture and the arts or the power over people and places.

Democracy: A form of government voted for by the people.  

n the study of the past, our children also increase their disciplinary knowledge; this is the use of that knowledge and how our children construct understanding through historical claims, arguments and accounts. We call it 'working historically' and may involve significance, evidence, continuity and change, cause and consequence, historical perspective and contextual interpretation.

We are gradually adapting our medium term plans to reflect the CUSP curriculum.


The History Subject Leader is Mrs Jo Duckworth

History Policy

What the children should know and remember in history

Long term plan


Medium term plan: In 2022 - 23 we are following Cycle B

Years 1 and 2 Cycle B

Years 1 and 2 Cycle A


Years 3 and 4 Cycle B

Years 3 and 4 Cycle A

Years 5 and 6 Cycle A

Years 5 and 6 Cycle B