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National Curriculum

History key stage 2

Statutory content

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

See related downloads and key actions

During key stage 2 pupils learn about significant people, events and places from both the recent and more distant past. They learn about change and continuity in their own area, in Britain and in other parts of the world. They look at history in a variety of ways, for example from political, economic, technological and scientific, social, religious, cultural or aesthetic perspectives. They use different sources of information to help them investigate the past both in depth and in overview, using dates and historical vocabulary to describe events, people and developments. They also learn that the past can be represented and interpreted in different ways.

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Chronological understanding

1. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. place events, people and changes into correct periods of time
  2. use dates and vocabulary relating to the passing of time, including ancient, modern, BC, AD, century and decade.

Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past

2. Pupils should be taught:

  1. about characteristic features of the periods and societies studied, including the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and experiences of men, women and children in the past
  2. about the social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of the societies studied, in Britain and the wider world
  3. to identify and describe reasons for, and results of, historical events, situations, and changes in the periods studied
  4. to describe and make links between the main events, situations and changes within and across the different periods and societies studied.

Historical interpretation

3. Pupils should be taught to recognise that the past is represented and interpreted in different ways, and to give reasons for this.

Historical enquiry

4. Pupils should be taught:

  1. how to find out about the events, people and changes studied from an appropriate range of sources of information, including ICT-based sources [for example, documents, printed sources, CD-ROMS, databases, pictures and photographs, music, artefacts, historic buildings and visits to museums, galleries and sites]
  2. to ask and answer questions, and to select and record information relevant to the focus of the enquiry.

Organisation and communication

5. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. recall, select and organise historical information
  2. use dates and historical vocabulary to describe the periods studied
  3. communicate their knowledge and understanding of history in a variety of ways [for example, drawing, writing, by using ICT].

Explanatory text

Note for 3

People represent and interpret the past in many different ways, including: in pictures, plays, films, reconstructions, museum displays, and fictional and non-fiction accounts. Interpretations reflect the circumstances in which they are made, the available evidence, and the intentions of those who make them (for example, writers, archaeologists, historians, film-makers).

Note for 4a

Cross reference to English

En1 Speaking and listening: Listening

2. To listen, understand and respond appropriately to others, pupils should be taught to:

a. identify the gist of an account or key points in a discussion and evaluate what they hear
b. ask relevant questions to clarify, extend and follow up ideas
c. recall and re-present important features of an argument, talk, reading, radio or television programme, film
d. identify features of language used for a specific purpose [for example, to persuade, instruct or entertain]
e. respond to others appropriately, taking into account what they say

Note for 4a

Cross reference to English

En2 Reading: Reading strategies

1. To read with fluency, accuracy and understanding, pupils should be taught to use:

d. contextual understanding.

En2 Reading: Understanding texts

2. Pupils should be taught to:

a. use inference and deduction
b. look for meaning beyond the literal
c. make connections between different parts of a text [for example, how stories begin and end, what has been included and omitted in information writing]
d. use their knowledge of other texts they have read

En2 Reading: Reading for information

3. Pupils should be taught to:

a. scan texts to find information
b. skim for gist and overall impression
c. obtain specific information through detailed reading
d. draw on different features of texts, including print, sound and image, to obtain meaning
e. use organisational features and systems to find texts and information
f. distinguish between fact and opinion [for example, by looking at the purpose of the text, the reliability of information]
g. consider an argument critically

Note for 4a

Cross reference to ICT

Finding things out

1. Pupils should be taught:

a. to talk about what information they need and how they can find and use it [for example, searching the internet or a CD-ROM, using printed material, asking people]
c. to interpret information, to check it is relevant and reasonable and to think about what might happen if there were any errors or omissions

Developing ideas and making things happen

2. Pupils should be taught:

a. how to develop and refine ideas by bringing together, organising and reorganising text, tables, images and sound as appropriate [for example, desktop publishing, multimedia presentations]

Note for 4b

ICT opportunity

Pupils could use a census database to search for information and identify and explain patterns of change.

Note for 5c

Cross reference to English

En1 Speaking and listening: Speaking

1. To speak with confidence in a range of contexts, adapting their speech for a range of purposes and audiences, pupils should be taught to:

a. use vocabulary and syntax that enables them to communicate more complex meanings
b. gain and maintain the interest and response of different audiences [for example, by exaggeration, humour, varying pace and using persuasive language to achieve particular effects]
c. choose material that is relevant to the topic and to the listeners
d. show clear shape and organisation with an introduction and an ending
e. speak audibly and clearly, using spoken  standard English  in formal contexts
f. evaluate their speech and reflect on how it varies

En1 Speaking and listening: Group discussion and interaction

3. To talk effectively as members of a group, pupils should be taught to:

a. make contributions relevant to the topic and take turns in discussion
b. vary contributions to suit the activity and purpose, including exploratory and tentative comments where ideas are being collected together, and reasoned, evaluative comments as discussion moves to conclusions or actions
c. qualify or justify what they think after listening to others' questions or accounts
d. deal politely with opposing points of view and enable discussion to move on
e. take up and sustain different roles, adapting them to suit the situation, including chair, scribe and spokesperson
f. use different ways to help the group move forward, including summarising the main points, reviewing what has been said, clarifying, drawing others in, reaching agreement, considering alternatives and anticipating consequences

En1 Speaking and listening: Drama

4. To participate in a wide range of drama activities and to evaluate their own and others' contributions, pupils should be taught to:

a. create, adapt and sustain different roles, individually and in groups

Note for 5c

Cross reference to English

En3 Writing: Composition

1. Pupils should be taught to:

a. choose form and content to suit a particular purpose [for example, notes to read or organise thinking, plans for action, poetry for pleasure]
b. broaden their vocabulary and use it in inventive ways
c. use language and style that are appropriate to the reader
d. use and adapt the features of a form of writing, drawing on their reading
e. use features of layout, presentation and organisation effectively

En3 Writing: Planning and drafting

2. To develop their writing on paper and on screen, pupils should be taught to:

a. plan - note and develop initial ideas
b. draft - develop ideas from the plan into structured written text
c. revise - change and improve the draft
d. proofread - check the draft for spelling and punctuation errors, omissions and repetitions
e. present - prepare a neat, correct and clear final copy
f. discuss and evaluate their own and others' writing

Note for 5c

ICT opportunity

Pupils could use digitised maps to identify and colour-code features important to local study.

Breadth of study

6. During the key stage, pupils should be taught the Knowledge, skills and understanding through a local history study, three British history studies, a European history study and a world history study.

Local history study

7. A study investigating how an aspect in the local area has changed over a long period of time, or how the locality was affected by a significant national or local event or development or by the work of a significant individual.

British history

8. In their study of British history, pupils should be taught about:

  1. the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings; Britain and the wider world in Tudor times; and either Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930
  2. aspects of the histories of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where appropriate, and about the history of Britain in its European and wider world context, in these periods.

Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain

9. An overview study of how British society was shaped by the movement and settlement of different peoples in the period before the Norman Conquest and an in-depth study of how British society was affected by Roman or Anglo-Saxon or Viking settlement.

Britain and the wider world in Tudor times

10. A study of some significant events and individuals, including Tudor monarchs, who shaped this period and of the everyday lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.

Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930

11. Teachers can choose between a study of Victorian Britain or Britain since 1930.

Victorian Britain

  1. A study of the impact of significant individuals, events and changes in work and transport on the lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.

Britain since 1930

  1. A study of the impact of the Second World War or social and technological changes that have taken place since 1930, on the lives of men, women and children from different sections of society.

A European history study

12. A study of the way of life, beliefs and achievements of the people living in Ancient Greece and the influence of their civilisation on the world today.

A world history study

13. A study of the key features, including the everyday lives of men, women and children, of a past society selected from: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Sumer, the Assyrian Empire, the Indus Valley, the Maya, Benin, or the Aztecs.

Explanatory text

Note for Breadth of study
Not all of the aspects of the Knowledge, skills and understanding need be developed in each study.

Note for 7
The local history study could be a discrete study in any period of the history of Britain, or it could be related to one of the specified British studies.

Examples for 7: the local history study
Aspects in the local area that have changed: education; population movement; houses and housing; religious practices; treatment of the poor and care of the sick; law and order; sport and leisure.
Effects of national events or developments: prehistoric settlers; the building of a castle or the development of a town; the Civil War; the plague or a cholera epidemic; the settlement of people from different cultures in the area.

Examples for 9: Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain
Effects of Roman settlement: the Roman Conquest and occupation of Britain; Boudicca, Caratacus and resistance to Roman rule; the building of Hadrian's Wall, roads, villas and towns by the Romans; Roman settlement in the local area.
Effects of Anglo-Saxon settlement: the arrival and settlement of the Anglo-Saxons; the conversion to Christianity, the lives of monks and nuns, for example Bede and Hilda; religious beliefs and customs, including the Sutton Hoo and other ship burials, and myths and legends; Anglo-Saxon settlement in the local area.
Effects of Viking settlement: Viking raids and settlement; King Alfred and Anglo-Saxon resistance to the Vikings; King Cnut and the Danes; Jorvik and other Viking settlements; heroic poems and sagas; Viking settlement in the local area.

Note for 9
An overview study could consider significant themes across the period, for example, government and religion, patterns of settlement, farming, social structure, trade and everyday life. An in-depth study could consider in detail the effects of the arrival and settlement by one particular group of peoples - for example, the Vikings - and include, where appropriate, significant events and the role of individuals.

Examples for 10: Britain and the wider world in Tudor times
Significant individuals and events: Henry VIII, Thomas More and the break with Rome; Francis Drake and the Armada; the reign of Elizabeth and the roles played by Mary Queen of Scots and the Earl of Essex; John and Sebastian Cabot, Walter Raleigh and exploration; William Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Theatre.
Everyday life: life for the rich and poor; differences between town and country life; education; ships and seafaring, merchants, traders and settlers; trade with Africa, Asia and America; food and entertainment; medicine and health; Tudor buildings in the local area; the impact of the closing down of a religious community on the local area.

Examples for 11a: Victorian Britain
Impact of significant individuals and events: Lord Shaftesbury and the welfare of children; Robert Owen, Elizabeth Fry and improving the lives of ordinary people; Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the Great Exhibition; Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and the Crimean War; Robert Stephenson, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and their impact on travel in Britain and to the wider world; David Livingstone, Mary Kingsley and world exploration; Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone.
Impact of changes to work and transport: the factory system and working life for men, women and children; education in factories and schools; the growth of industrial towns; service in the army, royal navy and merchant navy; ships and seafaring; rail travel, seaside holidays and entertainment; the impact of the railways on the local area; the impact of the building of factories on the local area.

Examples for 11b: Britain since 1930
Impact of the Second World War: the Blitz and evacuation; rationing; serving in the land army or the home guard; new technologies such as code breaking; the Second World War in the local area.
Impact of social and technological changes: the depression; the introduction of the National Health Service; the Festival of Britain; immigration and emigration; living in new towns; fairer working and living conditions for all; impact of domestic appliances in the home; radio, cinema, television and John Logie Baird; car manufacture and Alec Issigonis; developments in aviation by people such as Amy Johnson and Frank Whittle; new technologies; space travel.

Examples for 12: a European study of Ancient Greece
Aspects of the way of life: arts and architecture; houses, cities and public buildings; citizens and slaves; education for girls and boys; language; medicine, health and hygiene; games and leisure including the Olympic Games; plays and the theatre; ships and trading; soldiers and warfare.
Beliefs and achievements: the city states of Athens and Sparta; gods and goddesses, myths, legends, beliefs and customs; Pheidippides and the battle of Marathon; Pericles and the building of the Parthenon; the conquests of Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great; great scholars and discoverers.

Examples for 13: a world study of a past society
Key features: the society in relation to other contemporary societies; chronology; the reasons for the rise and fall of the civilisation; significant places and individuals; distinctive contribution to history.
Aspects of everyday life: houses and cities; arts and architecture; technology, work and leisure; food, health and medicine; pictures, words and communication; rulers and ruled; beliefs, customs and legends, gods and goddesses; temples and tombs; wealth and economy; transport and exploration; wars and warfare.

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

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