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Rickmansworth Park Junior Mixed and Infant School


History Planning Statement - September 2023

At Rickmansworth Park School, we recognise the importance of Article 29 and its relevance to the history curriculum we provide.

 Article 29 states:

Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for…their own and other cultures…


 “History is the study of the past. It is all around us; we are continually making History through our thoughts, words and actions. History is personal and global; it is everyday life and momentous occasions. History is about people.” Historical Society



History is a valued part of the curriculum which helps our children understand their own lives by exploring the past, enabling them to make sense of the world in which they live.  History is not just about learning dates and facts; it is about developing an enquiring mind so that they are able to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and reach their own conclusions. Our teaching of History is not about the study of isolated topics from the past. We seek to deepen children’s historical understanding by promoting a ‘big history’ approach to our teaching and learning by linking units of work: to the bigger picture of the past; it’s chronological context; its bigger geographical context; making comparisons across and between different times. School trips and agencies from outside are used, for example, Portals from the Past deliver workshops to further fuel enthusiasm for the subject. Where possible, history is linked to geography and other foundation subjects to ensure that it is taught in a meaningful way.



History is taught in half termly blocks. At the beginning of each new history topic, teachers refer to classroom timelines to develop children’s understanding of chronology.  Each topic is introduced with reference to the chronology of previous topics (including those from previous years).  Key knowledge is reviewed by the children and  checked and consolidated by the teacher.


Our curriculum is refined yearly, but it maintains a consistent knowledge base to ensure conceptual progression. We have identified a set of key historical concepts which children will repeatedly revisit throughout their time at Rickmansworth Park. These concepts are: Legacy, Leadership, Invasion and Settlement, Way of Life and Trade. The children make reference to 'Learning Journeys' that describe how these concepts are covered in each year group. They can then see how their work relates to what they have already learned as well as what they will be learning the following year.

We have designed 'big questions' at the beginning of each unit taught rather than a general title like "The Ancient Egyptians, for example Y4's key question when studying the Egyptians is "What was it like to live by the River Nile in Ancient Egypt?"  Each unit is divided into smaller questions that, when answered one at a time, offer fresh perspectives. Our children can feel a sense of progress as they tackle the bigger, more comprehensive question by asking and then responding to these manageable questions.


The planning itself takes a variety of formats and draws on teacher’s own plans, published plans from the internet, for example, Twinkl, TES, PlanBee and History Rocks. To ensure the key knowledge and skills that the children need to acquire and develop in this subject, teachers refer to the Progression of Skills document.


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in Reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World’ by the end of the academic year. Teachers plan early experiences so that the children can:

  • Comment on images of familiar situations in the past
  • Compare and contrast characters from stories, including figures from the past
  • Talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society
  • Talk about some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experience and what has been read in class
  • Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.

When planning and teaching history, teachers will ensure that all children have equal access to the curriculum by implementing the following: modelling, structured questioning, adapting resources and using a variety of teaching strategies to ensure engagement and address differing learning styles.



At Rickmansworth Park, the impact of quality first teaching in History will foster a love and enthusiasm for the subject. 

  • Well-constructed and well-taught lessons provide pupils with opportunities to research and apply skills independently – skills essential for lifelong learning.  Book scrutiny indicates high expectations and reflect what pupils have learned to a good/very good standard.
  • Pupils will leave KS2 with a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They will be able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives.
  • Knowledge and skills will have developed progressively to not only enable them to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum but to prepare pupils to become competent historians in secondary education.  We want pupils to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about history and therefore to look forward to learning about history at secondary school.


Valuing our local Heritage

To make the children’s learning more meaningful and relevant, the history curriculum at Rickmansworth Park draws from, and makes full use of, the immediate and wider local area, enabling children to develop a deep understanding of the rich history of their own locality. In order to make sure that local history is explicitly taught and that connections with more general historical themes are formed, local history is incorporated into our history curriculum. For instance, in Year 1, children study Lord Ebury and the reasons why several locations in Rickmansworth are named after him. Children discover why Rickmansworth was inhabited throughout the Stone Age in Year 3. Additionally, they learn about Verulamium, a Roman town in St. Albans. Y4 learn about the three rivers, River Chess, Gade and Colne, which converge at Rickmansworth. They learn about the influences they have had on the town both historically and currently.

The local war memorial is a resource that children in Year 6 use to respond to enquiry questions about the servicemen who lived in Rickmansworth and the effects WWI and WWII had on their families.


What makes our curriculum exceptional?


1. It is underpinned by aims, values & purpose.
e.g. Article 29 UN Convention of Rights of the Child: Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.


2. It develops the whole person – knowledge, skills, understanding & attitudes.
Knowledge – children are introduced to chronology and gain an understanding of time and where they are in relation to other periods of history.  They learn about different periods of history


Skills – children are taught to be real  ‘historians’ by following lines of enquiry so they are able to make deductions about the past, e.g. looking at artefacts, research skills


Understanding and Attitudes – children gain an understanding of how history has impacted on and shaped modern day life.        


3. It is broad and balanced.
All aspects of the National Curriculum are covered and throughout the school the topics are taught in chronological order.

Throughout the Key stages, children:

-will gain historical knowledge of the areas studied

-historical skills (researching and communicating, understanding change, continuity, causation, consequence, similarity, differences and significance)

To make the children’s learning meaningful and relevant, some year groups complete a local history study


4. There is clear progression in subject knowledge and skills.

Teachers use progression of skills document and the 'Golden Threads' when planning their lessons.

There is a balance between historical knowledge, concepts and enquiry.


5. It is filled with rich first-hand experiences.

Staff work incredibly hard to enrich the History curriculum, e.g.,

Y2 look at Samuel Pepys’ diary and photos of the Crimean War

Y3 handle Stone Age and Roman artefacts

Y6 look at the Commonwealth War Grave website to learn about the names on the local war memorial


6. It is flexible and responsive to individual needs and interests.

History is taught in a way to interest the children, e.g. children make deductions from primary sources (letters, diaries, handle artefacts). They go on trips, Children learn songs related to their topic. Some topics are taught via a historical enquiry, e.g. ancient Greeks.


7. It has an eye on the future and the needs of future citizens.

Children have an understanding of where they come from and what challenges people have faced in the past. They are taught how the past has shaped today, e.g. Olympic Games, Roman influences, and Saxon names. Also when talking about Remembrance Sunday, children recognise how British soldiers changed history to impact on their lives.

Children are taught the History of Digital Music.


8. It encourages the use of environments and expertise beyond the classroom.

Y1 walk along the Ebury Way

Y3 visit the Roman town of Verulamium (St Albans).

Y4 go on a virtual tour of the Egyptian rooms at the British Museum. They are also planning to visit the local museum.

Y6 go on a virtual tour of the Benin Gallery at the British Museum

Outside agencies come into school to deliver Stone Age/Roman Age and Anglo Saxon workshops to the relevant year groups.


9. It makes meaningful links between areas of knowledge across the curriculum.

Links are frequently made with other areas of the curriculum, e.g.

EYFS talk about change over time when melting ice cubes in science

In Art, Y5 look at Anglo Saxon brooches and create their own designs.            

In Literacy, Y3 children write adverts to persuade people to live at Skara Brae

In Art, Y4 make their own Death Masks when studying ancient Egypt


10. It has a local, national and global dimension.

History from different parts of the world are taught (ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Benin) as well as British history. Some year groups study an area of local history.


11. It is supported by high quality Subject Leader CPD.

The History lead consulted the Hertfordshire advisor before changing the units of work taught at RPS.

She also attended a course on assessment and progression and is continually keeping abreast of new developments within the subject.


12. SMSC is embedded within the curriculum.

(See SMS Subject Statement)

Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural Links – History


Our History curriculum promotes children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development, ensuring that they are reflective and responsible citizens.



History supports spiritual development by helping children develop a sense of curiosity and the mystery of how and why events in the past happened and raises questions as to what could have happened if events had had different results. Artefacts are used to give pupils a sense of the past and aid pupils in understanding the people who produced and used these objects. Pupils are encouraged to explore the role played by important individuals, for good or ill, in the shaping of the world we live in. Pupils also reflect upon different interpretations of the past and how these interpretations have been arrived at.



History supports moral development by asking children to consider and comment on moral questions and dilemmas. Events and beliefs in the past will often be at odds with what we would consider unacceptable today (and were to some people in the past also) Pupils will be encouraged to show compassion for people facing dilemmas and to empathise with decisions which people in the past made and the reasoning behind these decisions. Notions of right and wrong are explored in connection with events from the past, linking with the value of justice.



History supports social development by exploring the similarities and contrasts between past and present societies and be made aware of how, in the main, we are very fortunate to live in ‘the modern world’ which links with the value of thankfulness. They will examine how other cultures have had a major impact on the development of ’British’ culture. Pupils will also be encouraged to build up their own social development through collaborative and team working activities.



History supports cultural development by encouraging children to gain an understanding of and empathise with, people from different cultural backgrounds. They will examine how other cultures have had a major impact on the development of ’British’ culture. Pupils develop a better understanding of our multicultural society through studying links between local, British, European and world history.