St Joseph's Catholic Primary Academy, Healds Road, Dewsbury, WF13 4HY

01924 462053

St Josephs Catholic Primary Academy

We are proud to work with all the Catholic schools across our two local authority areas, particularly as the Trust grows and benefits from the expertise and knowledge that other schools joining in the future will bring.

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‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events , and in total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.’ 

Robert Kennedy

Our Vision for History at St Joseph’s

The history curriculum at St Joseph’s makes full use of resources within the immediate and wider local area enabling pupils to develop a deep understanding of the rich history of their local area  as a former mill town and industrial centre. Topics are informed by the National Curriculum and school driver words, and are sensitive to pupils' interests. The history curriculum at St Joseph’s is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy. In line with the National Curriculum 2014, the curriculum at St Joseph’s aims to ensure that all pupils: gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world which helps to stimulate pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past; are encouraged to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement; begin to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. Fundamentally, children are given the knowledge and use the skills of a historian to learn about the past and how it has shaped our world today. 

Curriculum Intent for History

The teaching of History is inspired by the Rising Stars scheme of work and long term plan but has been carefully adapted to meet the needs of pupils at St Joseph's. Topics have been carefully sequenced to build upon the knowledge and skills needed to be a historian. Where appropriate, links will be made to our Global Driver words for that half term as well as the school’s Catholic Virtues. Teachers use Rising Stars as a starting point when planning lessons and ensure they plan engaging and exciting lessons following the 6-part lesson model where appropriate. Through the units taught, we ensure children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s history, their locality and the history of the wider world whilst providing full coverage of the History curriculum. The units develop throughout school to provide appropriate challenges for KS1 and KS2 pupils of varying abilities, both knowledge and skills-based, including the way in which children use sources of evidence to learn about the past. Lessons have key questions to develop the use of historical enquiry, as well as a focus on the acquisition and application of key subject knowledge, concepts and vocabulary throughout. Beyond direct teaching, teachers select high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts to supplement the learning which takes place in history lessons. In KS1 these may be picture books available in provision or texts which teachers read to the class. In KS2, this could be more independent where children can access texts during allocated reading time as well as used within lessons or during whole class reading.

In EYFS, pupils will experience History through the ‘Understanding the world’ strand. This 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. In Reception class, pupils have short inputs and circle times which focus on past and present events, for example, Remembrance Sunday, the Gunpowder plot and Bonfire night. They learn about the differences and similarities with themselves and their families when they were children as well as similarities and differences with settings such as hospitals. Throughout the year, pupils will learn about a range of topics which support them in their understanding of change over time. A range of provision is planned which aims to stimulate the pupils’ interest and develop purposeful play in exploring people and communities. Resources in the areas of provision are carefully chosen are implemented with the aim of developing vocabulary and initiating discussions about what it is used for, for example clothes from different cultures and toys from the past. Role play areas encourage pupils to explore different ways of life and times in history. During continuous provision, adults interact with the pupils and enable them to develop their understanding and add challenge through questioning, prompts and resources. Adults are encouraged to record these interactions when needed, but this is not always necessary. When recording does take place it is added to the pupils’ individual learning journey and class floor books.

In Key stage 1, pupils will develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time such as before, after, past and now. They will know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework using these terms and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. Pupils will use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They will ask and answer simple historical questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources such as artefacts and images to show that they know and understand key features of events. Pupils will understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014).  A range of provision is planned which aims to stimulate the pupils’ interest and develop purposeful play in the different topics studied. Resources in the areas of provision are implemented with the aim of developing vocabulary, role play and initiating discussion about what it is used for and what life was like in the past.

In Key stage 2, pupils will 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 will note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of a range of historical terms. Pupils will regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance; they will particularly note the similarities and differences between different time periods, eras and civilisations studied and consider what groups of people from the past have learnt from others. In KS2, pupils are encouraged to begin to make associations between periods studied through looking at substantive concepts which connect them, such as 'invaders', 'trade', 'empire' or 'settlers'. They will construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They will understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources (Taken and adapted from the National Curriculum 2014). 

The Long Term planning for History can be found below:

Long Term plan for History

The importance of chronology

Chronology  contributes to pupils’ sense of identity and helps them create a context for understanding the present. In order to grasp and consider the ‘big questions' of history, pupils need to establish (in their own minds) a chronology of events to enable them to make connections between them and see the wider implications of their studies in history. Chronology is often considered very challenging for young children, yet this understanding underpins pupils' developing sense of period, as well as key concepts such as change and causation (

Reading and creating timelines enables pupils to demonstrate their understanding of chronology and gives them a sense of the bigger picture and helps them remember significant people, periods and events, a vital skill that appeals to pupils in an increasingly visual age. Pupils at St Joseph’s will read and create timelines for a variety of purposes. We believe that in order to understand cause and effect, it’s vital that pupils are aware of the exact order significant events and people occur. Timelines help pupils understand the full picture of a particular era from beginning to end. In every classroom at St Joseph’s, a timeline is displayed. These contain key events, people and periods they have studied or are currently studying. In KS1, timelines are smaller to focus on the learning which takes place in KS1, particularly showing key dates and events. In KS2, classes have a full timeline to display periods/events studied throughout school to gain a deeper insight into world history and make comparisons between different groups from the past. As well as the standard timelines displayed, teachers may also choose to add to their class timelines to represent other significant events so that pupils again can make strong connections about the past and understand their place in the history of Britain and of the wider world.

Curriculum Implementation for History

The six-part lesson for History

Most History lessons are delivered using the six-part lesson model. This includes:

  1. Retrieval practise: Pupils will practise key knowledge from the previous history unit of work. This is to help move this knowledge into the long term memory. It is also an assessment tool for teachers. This activity can be practical or written and can be completed independently, in pairs or in a group.

  2. New learning: Pupils will be introduced to the Key Learning and knowledge for the lesson. They will also explore and practise tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary that will be used throughout the lesson. Direct teaching of the new knowledge and skills will be introduced and modelled where appropriate.

  3. Let’s explore: Pupils will have the chance to practise new skills, knowledge and vocabulary within a short task. This can be completed independently, in pairs or in a small group.

  4. Develop learning: In this part of the lesson, the knowledge and/or skills will be developed further through deeper thinking questions and ideas to consider as well as preparing the pupils for their independent task.

  5. Independent task: Pupils may work independently, in pairs or small groups to complete a task or tasks linked to the Key Learning. Activities may be scaffolded for different groups of learners.

  6. Plenary: Pupils will have the chance to reflect on their learning that day discussing their lesson question or celebrating their work. Reference to our Global Driver word for the half term may also be used (where appropriate).


‘It is important that we are exposing children to historical vocabulary within History lessons and studying them in more depth in order to strengthen children's understanding of topics and allow them to build on knowledge acquired in previous year groups. The stronger a child’s understanding of a certain word is, the more likely they will be be able to attach new vocabulary and knowledge on top’ (Marcus Jones, Huntington Research School).

At St. Joseph’s, key vocabulary is introduced at the beginning of each lesson. This will include Tier 2 (vocabulary linked to the general subject area) and Tier 3 (specific vocabulary for that lesson) vocabulary. New words are discussed and potentially modelled within the lesson. There is an expectation that all pupils use the correct vocabulary within full sentences. These new words will be displayed around the topic display for children to refer to throughout the topic. On each pupils’ knowledge organiser, a glossary is available for them to refer to during each lesson.

Vocabulary linked to the whole subject (tier 2 vocab)

Year, decade, century, ancient, civilization, era, modern, long ago, before, past, present, now, timeline, date, order, similar ,different, change, important, living memory , remembers, older generation, memories, opinion artefact What…? When…? Where…? 

The importance of Knowledge

‘Knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are essential ingredients of successful curriculum design.’ (Amanda Spielman)

Studying history helps us to understand how events from the past have informed the way things are today. Units/topics in History have been carefully sequenced to build upon prior knowledge as well as developing new knowledge in a succinct way. Teachers are familiar with where the units/topics fit in pupils’ educational journey at St Joseph’s and refer to progression grids when planning a unit of work. When using Rising Stars to inform planning, teachers highlight key knowledge that they want pupils to learn and create bespoke knowledge organisers to support the development of this knowledge across the unit. Knowledge organisers include: previous knowledge that relates to the unit; key knowledge for the topic; aspirations for the future relating to the unit studied; glossary and key dates and timelines needed for the topic. These are available in every History lesson for pupils to refer back to. Pupils demonstrate their knowledge not just by listing facts or dates, but through a depth of understanding. They are given historical enquiry questions at the beginning of each lesson which they build knowledge upon to share their responses at the end of a lesson. Where appropriate, a depth of understanding can be evoked through a bank of questions which teachers can quickly and effectively incorporate into their lessons, as done with core subjects e.g. What's the same/what's different about...? Explain why/how... What's the misconception with this statement about...?

Find below the progression of knowledge in History:

Knowledge Progression grid for History

Assessment in History

Teachers use Assessment for Learning throughout their lessons through questioning. During the ‘Let’s explore’ part of the lesson, pupils will be given opportunities to explore, analyse and discuss their ideas about a particular question, idea or source(s) of evidence. Teachers will formatively assess pupils against the Key Learning using pupils’ Key Learning stickers. If a pupil has met the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning with green. If a pupil is working towards the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning with orange and green. If a pupil needs further work against the Key Learning, the teacher will highlight the Key Learning orange and there will be evidence of an intervention before the next lesson. Teachers will also note on the Key Learning whether the pupil has had teacher/teaching assistant support to inform formative assessment. At the end of the unit, teachers will make a best fit judgement whether each pupil is working at, below, well below or above the National Curriculum expectations for their year group. This data is inputted termly using Insight. Subject leaders will then analyse the data from these assessments to track the progress of pupils and spot any patterns between groups to share with class teachers.

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Curriculum Impact for History

The successful, inspiring and ambitious history curriculum at St Joseph's results in an inquisitive, engaging, high-quality education that provides all pupils with the knowledge to understand key events, people and groups from the past. Pupils are immersed into a world of discovery and fascination through their history lessons through historical enquiry. An understanding of substantive concepts is developed throughout children's time at St Joseph's to aid their understanding of their place in history and in Britain and the wider world.  Children retain their prior learning, hence moving it into their long term memory to help them in making connections between different events or periods studied in history. 

The impact of the history curriculum at St Joseph's is monitored in various ways. Pupil voice shows that pupils are able to communicate what they have learnt in history clearly and confidently. Pupils use appropriate historical vocabulary when explaining their understanding of the past. Various monitoring activities take place for history which demonstrate that pupils at St Joseph's thoroughly enjoy the subject and take great pride in their work.  Clear progression in year groups, key stages and across school is evident when looking at pupils' books.  

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