Skip to content ↓

History - Key Stage 2

As our children progress through our Key Stage 2 History topics, they will develop key skills that are directly relevant to History which build on the skills they learnt in Key Stage 1. These will be at different levels depending on the child’s age and ability and on the topic being studied.

The key History skills are as follows:

  • Knowledge and Understanding of Events, People and Changes in the Past – this is the development of knowledge things and events that have happened in the past and the people, societies and civilisations that prompted them. It is also about developing the relevant historical vocabulary.
  • Historical Investigations – this is using primary source material (those produced at the time of the event) and secondary source materials (those produced after the event) such as books, IT and people to gather evidence in order to answer their own questions and to generate more questions and further investigation and to recognise how bias and interpretation can alter, misrepresent or distort history. This will also involve critically analysing information and drawing their own, informed and reasoned conclusions.
  • Historical Interpretations - this is the ability draw on their knowledge and use empathy and perspective – the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes – and to use critical thinking – using curiosity and logic to ask questions – to draw comparisons and make contrasts, note continuity and cause and effect and to recognise how bias and interpretation can alter, misrepresent or distort history. This will also involve critically analysing information and drawing their own, informed and reasoned conclusions, as well as noticing patterns and trends and being able to distinguish the significance or otherwise of an event – e.g. the most important battle in British history could be said to have been the Battle of Salamis in Greece, 480 BC as it prevented the spread of the Persian Empire.
  • Chronological Understanding – this is understanding how each event has its place in history and how events fit together, are affected and influenced by each other and are rarely manifested in isolation. It is also about understanding that some events, though they may not seem that far separated by time, can be further away that you think – we are closer in time to the birth of Jesus than the birth of Jesus is to the building of the Great Pyramid at Giza.
  • Presenting, Organising and Communicating – this involves choosing the appropriate way to present the information they have gathered. This could involve the use of IT software, creating a display, writing a text (e.g. imagined 1st person narrative, imagined diary entry, information text etc), making a presentation to a group of people or re-enacting an event amongst other things.

Key Vocabulary

There will be words and phrases that recur throughout the History curriculum and it is important that the children know what they mean and how they can be used. These words and phrases include:

chronology / chronological, past / present, influence, ancient, civilisation, expansion, dissolution, empire, society, continuity, change, cause and effect / consequence, similarity, difference, significant / significance, connection, contrast, analysis / analyse, trend / pattern, historical enquiry, argument, interpret / interpretation, perspective, context, local, regional, national, international, global, culture / cultural, economy / economic, military, politics / political, religion / religious, social, timescale / timeline, period, primary source, secondary source…

There will also be topic-specific vocabulary that will arise during each block of lesson.

History in Key Stage 2 is organised on a term-on / term-off basis with Geography. For further details of each topic see our Curriculum Maps.


Each topic is ended with a ‘What Have I Remembered’ test aimed at assessing the children’s retained knowledge.