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How we teach History at Colburn

How we teach History at Colburn


Many of our children at Colburn Community Primary arrive with limited knowledge and experiences. We therefore aim for our pupils to be exposed to many opportunities that require them to develop the following historical skills: to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, and develop perspective and judgement. Our children will learn through an enquiry-based approach enhanced with enriched activities such as fieldwork, extra-curricular and cross-curricular links. We want our children to love History. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be archivists, museum curators, archaeologists or research analysts.


Our carefully sequenced topics enable children to explore different eras and to build a deep knowledge and understanding of the past, how historians study the past and write historical accounts, civilisations and cultures over time. We ensure that our pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We enable pupils to spark curiosity and enthusiasm and bringing the past to life in creative lessons. Learnt knowledge is revisited throughout different points of the curriculum through the year groups. Children are actively engaged to discuss enquiry questions that deepen their understanding of significant people, places and events, through the use of different sources.

History at Colburn is designed to motivate children, through engaging activities, trips and visitors that give all students the opportunity to question the past. When History is taught, children will develop a range essential characteristics to help them become historians:

  • An excellent knowledge and understanding of chronology, people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods, including significant events in Britain’s past;
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas confidently to a range of audiences;
  • The ability to support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using historical evidence from a range of sources developing wisdom and knowledge of history;
  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past by formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry;
  • A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make critical use of it to support their learning;
  • A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.
  • A developing sense of curiosity about the past and how and why people interpret the past in different ways.



To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in history, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. History is taught through our Cornerstones curriculum, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. At Colburn, we ensure that history has the same importance given to it as the core subjects, as we feel this is important in enabling all children to gain ‘real-life’ experiences. Teachers plan lessons using our progression of knowledge and skills document which is taken from Cornerstones alongside the Cornerstones long term plan. When teaching History the teachers follow the Cornerstones long term plan to ensure learning is engaging, broad and balanced. History teaching focuses on enabling children to think critically. A variety of teaching approaches are used based on the teacher’s judgement. History provides excellent opportunities to enhance the learning of more able pupils through the investigations, analysing sources and writing extended pieces. At Colburn we aim to provide a variety of opportunities for history learning inside and outside the classroom such as educational visits and trips as well as visitors.

At Colburn, we promote talk partners through class discussions to voice opinions on the wider world. We start our lessons with the concept of chronology to understand the passing of time and timelines are a key feature in understand the impact of past events with enthusiasm on historical vocabulary. Memorable experiences in every year group are a key driver to our curriculum to allow children to emerge themselves into the topic, visually.



Within history, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on investigative learning opportunities to help children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Our History curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to develop progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work. We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Assessing the children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary before and after the topic is taught, including making links to previous topic’s work.
  • Activating Prior knowledge (Flashbacks)
  • Book scrutiny
  • Marking of written work in books
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).