Curriculum Vital

Out with the old, in with the older
History in the new National Curriculum

The history curriculum has been changed significantly at KS1 and KS2. When the first draft curriculum was put out for consultation in February 2013 one of the major criticisms was that it did not represent the role of women and non-whites in the creation of the modern world. In response, the suggested list of 'significant people' to be studied in year one takes its cue from Tiresias (and speaking of mythology, Ancient Greece remains). In KS2, although there is a strong focus on Britain before the Norman Invasion, the Tudors have been replaced with study of the earliest civilizations (of which the Ancient Egyptians will be the likeliest - but not the only - choice for most) and study of, 'a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history'.

Below, we list the major changes by Key Stage and list the best resources to approach them: 

Key Stage 1

Pupils should be taught about:

  • The lives of significant individuals from the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods, e.g.:
    • Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria
    • Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong
    • William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee
    • Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry
    • Rosa Parks and Emily Davison
    • Mary Seacole and Edith Cavell

We recommend:

  • Emmeline Pankhurst and Malala Yousafzai
  • Galileo Galilei and Charles Darwin
  • Fanny Burney and J.K. Rowling
  • Solomon Northup and Nelson Mandela
  • Joan of Arc and Mary Anning
  • John Harrison and Nikola Tesla

Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught about:

  • The achievements of the earliest civilizations, including an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth of study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer, the Indus Valley, Ancient Egypt, the Shang Dynasty of Ancient China.
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
  • A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history. The options are: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300

Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age

This could include:

  • late Neolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers, e.g. Skara Brae
  • Bronze Age religion, technology and travel, e.g. Stonehenge
  • Iron Age hill forts: tribal kingdoms, farming, art and culture