Rathfern Primary

History Curriculum

History Curriculum

Our school’s curriculum aims to give children the powerful cultural and social capital that they need to understand the world in which they are growing up. Through our knowledge-rich, decolonised curriculum, we aim to give children experiences of a wide range of cultures, whilst ensuring that we accurately represent some of the diverse origins of the pupils themselves and consider questions of social justice, inequality and how these issues have affected children and communities in the past and today. Children will be provided with an insight into the school’s local context, with a focus on addressing misconceptions around the origins of the diverse community that we live in.

Historical knowledge is taught throughout our history curriculum and can be viewed or downloaded below.

Our Building Knowledge Maps bring together all the information and vocabulary that children need to learn in order to become knowledgeable and critical historical thinkers.

Within our curriculum, children are given time to build on the historical vocabulary they have learned to deepen their historical understanding. This enables our children to transfer knowledge and thus make links between the various periods of history studied. For example, the word empire is introduced in KS1. This is built upon across units in LKS2 and again during several of the UKS2 history units. 

The Rathfern History Timeline is a vital tool, used extensively across KS1 and KS2 to develop and deepen children’s chronological knowledge.

Our curriculum provides children with the opportunity to engage in historical enquiry, ask questions, weigh evidence and develop perspective and judgement.

Children’s historical learning in the Early Years and Key Stage One starts with the familiar: their own pasts and those of their families. As children’s learning travels further back in time, historical knowledge is developed through a study of a number of carefully developed historical units.

In Key Stage 2, the children begin to learn about the earliest form of human history by studying the Stone Age and then working chronologically through Ancient History, into the Middle Ages and then into Modern History, culminating with the study of World War II in Year 6.


Historical knowledge is cumulatively developed within the following topics:

Year 1: Homes Now and Then, Polar Explorers, Trickster Tales from West Africa and the Caribbean, Study of a significant individual: Robert Scott, Mathew Henson and Mary Anning.

Year 2: Local History Unit- A Forest (The Great Northwood), The Great Fire of London, Who was Christopher Columbus? The Victorians, Study of a significant individual: Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

Year 3: Stone Age to Iron Age, Ancient Egypt, A geographical study of Brazil linked to the role of Spanish Colonialism, A local study into Lewisham Market and Anti- Racism Unit- origins of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Year 4: The Ancient Greeks, The Romans in Britain, The Golden Age of Islam, Anti- Racism Unit - The Bristol Bus Boycott.

Year 5: Segregation in the United States & the Apollo 11 Mission, The Struggle for England, The Anglo Saxons and Scots, The Vikings in Britain, Community Activism focus on the Suffragette Movement and the Battle of Lewisham, History of Medicine.

Year 6: Ancient Benin, Royal Borough of Greenwich The Tudors, Exploration and Empire, The Blitz World War 2, Anti- Racism Unit -Doreen Lawrence.


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Rathfern Primary School

Rathfern Road, Catford, London SE6 4NL

T: 020 8690 3759   |   F: 020 8314 0932