Our History Curriculum – A Journey Through Time


At St Chrysostom's some of our topics (those with yellow key text sections) are history-based, but even those that are not, cover aspects of history. This enriches our curriculum and addresses our City Living intention cornerstone as we have included local history wherever possible. We have organised our history curriculum across all year groups and mapped it to ensure progression.

National Curriculum Purpose of study

A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

National Curriculum Aims

The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind.
  • Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’.
  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses.
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
  • Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

National Curriculum Key stage 1

Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.





NC14 - The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods.

The names and achievements of famous explorers of the Polar Regions are well known, and the history of polar exploration is filled with stories of courage and endurance, as well as triumph and tragedy. The children will learn about: Sir James Clark Ross, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Robert Falcon Scott, Fridtjof Nansen, Robert Peary, Sir John Franklin, Sir Edmund Hillary, Richard Weber and Roald Amundsen.


Lost & Found















NC14 - Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.

The children will learn about the Great Fire of London and the Great Plague of London (1665/6) through their wider study of the capital city of Britain.


NC14 - The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods.

The children will learn all about important Kings and Queens and begin to understand the concept of a timeline. They will also learn about Sir George and the dragon leading into their key text ‘The Dragon Machine’ in Year 2.


The Great Fire of London




NC14 - Changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life.

The children will learn all about different toys that children have played with through history. This will be built upon later in Year 2 when Victorian toys are found under the floorboards in Major Glad, Major Dizzy.


They will also learn about space travel: Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 and the first Moon landing. This will pave the way for their learning in Year 5 when they will read ‘The Darkest Dark’, a story based on astronaut Chris Hadfield’s experience of watching the Moon landings as a child.


Toys in Space




Building upon their learning about Space last half term, the children will learn about UFOs and crop circles. This will lead onto an exciting mini-project about famous mysteries and hoaxes including the Loch Ness Monster, the Cottingley Fairies.






The children will create a timeline showing the journey of the Tiny Seed over the four seasons. This will give them a rudimentary understanding of chronology and lifecycles.


The Tiny Seed





Children will learn that traditional tale is a story that has been told and re-told for many years, and consequently, becomes a story that almost everyone knows. 


Just the one Bear






Children will extend their knowledge of traditional tales and begin to understand how they change over time by reading some ‘twist’ tales and comparing them to the original versions. They will learn that many things change and evolve over time.


Troll Swap





NC14 - Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.

The children will learn about the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes. This event is remembered each year on Bonfire Night. They will talk about other historical events that they know of that are commemorated or celebrated annually.


The Owl Who Was Afraid





NC14 - The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods.

The children will read the book ‘Sandy’s Circus’ and will learn all about Alexander Calder. Alexander Calder was an American sculptor who is best known for inventing mobiles that embrace chance in their aesthetic and his monumental public sculptures. This will pave the way for learning about the circus in Year 4.


The children will learn about Thomas Edison who invented the lightbulb preparing them for work on electricity in Year 6. They will learn about inventor Alexander Graham Bell who gave us the telephone; Henry Ford, who invented the automobile; Steve Jobs, who invented the iPhone; Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin and The Wright Brothers, who invented flight (paving the way for learning about the history of air travel in Year 6).


The children will also learn about the invention of gunpowder that was used for fireworks and firearms by the Chinese as early as 1000 BC. This will build upon their learning about Guy Fawkes last half term.


Dragon Machine




NC14 - Changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life.

The children will talk about changes that have taken place in their lifetime and how it made them feel. All of them have started school and all have had the experience of joining a new class. Some will have experienced moving house or leaving one country to live in another and these stories can be shared. The children will read the book ‘This is How We Do It’ which looks at the daily lives of children in different countries. They will then create their own book about the daily lives of St John’s children in the past, now and in the future.


My Name is not Refugee





The children will learn about wolves in literature over time. They will begin with mythology and folklore before reading some of Aesop’s fables and a range of traditional tales. They will then learn about real wolves and how their populations have changed over time.


The Last Wolf





NC14 - Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

The children will visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s house that is just beside St Chrysostom’s school. They will understand that this is a type of museum and that we can preserve the past. Through Major Glad, Major Dizzy they will build their understanding of timelines and the preservation of history and will make a time capsule. The will read ‘The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth’ and visit museums in Manchester and create a class museum for future children.


Major Glad, Major Dizzy


National Curriculum Key stage 2

Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.





NC14 - A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

The rise and falloff the British coastal resort. Children will learn about cause and effect: how the development of the railways in the 1840s led to increased popularity of the British seaside resort; how cheap air travel and the package holiday affected resorts and why environmental concerns are making the ‘staycation’ popular once more.


Seal Surfer





NC14 - A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

Children will learn about winter traditions (Christmas) in Britain and compare them with other countries around the world.


Winter’s Child





NC14 - Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age.

Children will begin in the Stone Age (15000 – 3000 BC), travel through the Bronze Age (3000 – 825 BC) to the Iron Age (825 – 34 BC) where they will meet the Celts. This history topic will take the children on a journey through Britain lasting nearly 15,000 years, giving them a real understanding of the concept of time.


Stone Age Boy





NC14 - A local history study.

The children will learn about the changing demographics of Manchester resulting from migration and how this has resulted in the vibrant cultural mix we enjoy at St John’s and St Chrysostom’s:


Manchester has been attracting people to the city from abroad since its invasion by the Romans in around 80AD, but it was the industrial revolution that kick-started large scale immigration, beginning with Irish migrants taking up work in the mills and followed by Jewish migrants fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. Moving ahead to the middle of the 20th Century, migrants generally arrived in this country because of problems in their countries of birth, such as war, civil unrest, discrimination and poverty. Amongst the main immigrants between 1951 and 1971 were people from India and Pakistan.

Across the country, conflict played a large part in international immigration from 1971 up to 2003, starting with an inflow of people from Bangladesh, who were particularly attracted to Manchester, many settling in Longsight.

The beginning of 2004, however, marked a shift in reasons for immigration to Manchester, becoming increasingly due to ‘pull’ factors such as employment and education rather than the ‘push’ factors relating to conflict. Family ties and changes in legislation also started to have a greater effect on immigration to the UK, particularly resulting from countries joining the European Union (EU) in May 2004.

Towards the end of the last decade there had been a return to receiving higher numbers of migrants in Manchester from countries in economic crisis, such as from Spain between 2007 and 2009. Between 2010 and 2011, an increase in the number of Chinese immigrants, reflects the high proportion of Chinese students taking advantage of higher education in Manchester.


The Silence Seeker




NC14 - A local history study.

Children will learn about the difference between rivers (natural waterways) and canals (man-made waterways). They will learn about the Manchester Shop Canal that began to be constructed in 1887 and opened in 1894. They will also learn about engineers and how they changed Britain.







NC14 - The achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of Ancient Egypt.

Zeraffa was a wonderful gift for the King of France. This magnificent giraffe began her journey in Egypt, where the children will begin their journey learning about ancient civilsations beyond Britain. They will learn that the Ancient Egyptian civilisation began in 1300 BC (around the time of the Bronze Age in Britain) and lasted until 395 AD (when the Roman Empire in Britain was coming to an end).


Zeraffa Giraffe

Image result for zeraffa giraffa







The children will learn about the history of animals in captivity and how opinions about animal welfare have changed over time. Throughout history not only domestic animals as pets and livestock were kept in captivity and under human care, but also wild animals. Some were failed domestication attempts. Also, in past times, primarily the wealthy, aristocrats and kings collected wild animals for various reasons. Contrary to domestication, the ferociousness and natural behaviour of the wild animals were preserved and exhibited. Today's zoos claim other reasons for keeping animals under human care: conservation, education and science.


This project will build upon ideas introduced through The Last Wolf in Year 2 and Zeraffa Giraffe in Year 3. It will also prepare children for their learning in Leon and the Place Between next half term and Can we save the tiger? in Year 6.






NC14 - A local history study.

The children will learn all about the Belle Vue Circus. The Belle Vue annual International Christmas Circus lasted for over fifty years and became a feature of the attractions at the world-famous showground. The capacity of The King’s Hall was five thousand and gave Belle Vue the status of the leading venue in the North West, easily outstripping Blackpool’s Tower Circus.


Bertram Mills’ famous circus supplied many of the animal acts. They were amongst the most popular because large, aerial attractions such as the high wire acts were not possible in the confines of The King’s Hall. By the late 1950s, tigers, polar bears, elephants and camels would be joined by artistes from France, Germany and Italy as the cream of circus talent would be brought to Manchester.


For nearly 150 years, Belle Vue Zoological Gardens was one of the most continually successful entertainment destinations in the United Kingdom. For years people from all over the UK were amazed at the sight of elephants, monkeys and camels in the zoo, were thrilled as they rode the fairground rides and rollercoasters in the amusement park, sang along to their musical idols in The King’s Hall, danced the night away, marvelled at the circus and saw Speedway champions racing to glory on the stadium tracks – Belle Vue had it all and as a result of this, became known as, Showground of the World. Belle Vue closed for good in the early 80’s.


Leon & the Place Between




In this rich history topic, the children will travel across 1023 years of British history, beginning with a reminder of the Celts who they met in Year 3.


NC14 - The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain.

Children will learn about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in Britain (43 – 420 AD) and the changes it brought about.


NC14 - Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots.

Children will jump forward in time to learn about the invasion and settlement of the Anglo-Saxons, Picts and Scots (450 – 1066 AD).


NC14 - The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor.

Children will learn about the Viking raids and their long struggle to try to take Britain from the Anglo-Saxons (793 – 1066 AD).


Escape from Pompeii





The children will learn about the history of refugee camps, beginning with the Palestinian camps that were opened between 1948 and 1968 and now host 1.5 million refugees. This learning will support their understanding in Year 6 when they will learn that about 70,000 Jewish refugees had been accepted into Britain by the start of WW2.







Building on their learning from Year 4, the children will learn about the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in 79 AD. The city of Pompeii was famously wiped out by the eruption. It was an instant death: The heat suddenly surged 482 degrees Fahrenheit, and most of the town’s citizens (those who had not fled), were killed before they could even wonder what had happened. Buried under ash, Pompeii was almost perfectly preserved, and is one of the longest-running archaeological digs in the world. The children will learn how this taught us a lot about ancient Rome, especially the day-to-day life not preserved in the official history.

When the Giant Stirred





A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history: Mayan civilization c. AD 900.

Children will learn all about the ancient Mayans and what they did for the world. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses south eastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. Mesoamerica's 35 million-acre Mayan Forest is the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the Americas.


The children will learn about the changing face of the planet over time, resulting from changing human characteristics. Thousands of years ago, forests and grasslands covered most of the earth (the Celtic landscape). Although deforestation first became a serious concern in the 1950s, it has been an issue since humans began making fires hundreds of thousands of years ago. The extinction of plants and animals due to deforestation has occurred for thousands of years. Deforestation continues to be an increasingly serious problem, due to the world's rapidly growing population and demands on valuable resources. This learning will be built upon in Year 6.


Where the Forest Meets the Sea





Children will learn about Annie Taylor and other famous daredevils through time, including the story of the French aerialist who walked on a tight rope between the Twin Towers in 1974. They will learn how author Mordicai Gernstein uses this true story to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11.


The children will also learn about etiquette through history, beginning with Annie’s ‘charm school’. They will talk about how social expectations have changed over time, but that it is still very important to be good citizens who contribute positively to society.


Finally the children will reflect upon Annie’s woes about her financial situation and the possibility of old age in the poor house. They will learn about what happened to poor people in Victorian Britain (the workhouse) and how the introduction of the welfare state changed they way we care for fellow human beings. The welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for citizens unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good standard of living. Children will also learn about the link between work and money and making provision for a pension in order to be independent.


Queen of the Falls




NC14 - A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

The Tudor period is the period between 1485 and 1603 in England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the House of Tudor in England whose first monarch was Henry VII. The Stuarts were monarchs of the British Isles and its growing empire until the death of Queen Anne in 1714. The Stuart dynasty ruled Scotland (1371 - 1714) and England (1603 - 1714).


The children will learn all about witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart times. Modern science was in its infancy in the 16th century, as was medicine, and it was natural for people to rely on old-fashioned beliefs and astrology to explain the world and to use potions, charms, amulets and horoscopes to cure ills, for protection and to deal with problems. The people of the Tudor and Stuart era were not against using charms and believing superstitions but they did fear witches and witchcraft. Concerns over witchcraft grew in the 1540s and Henry VIII went as far as to pass an Act against it, making witchcraft punishable by death. This act was repealed a few years later, but further acts were passed in 1563 and 1604. These acts led to widespread fear and paranoia, witch hunts and many innocent and gifted women being accused of witchcraft.


The children will learn how witches are used in stories and tales as bad characters to be feared. This will build upon their learning from Year 2 about wolves in stories.


Lost Happy Endings




NC14 - Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world.

The civilization of Ancient Greece emerged into the light of world history in the 8th century BC. Normally it is regarded as coming to an end when Greece fell to the Romans, in 146 BC. The children will learn about the 10 things that the Ancient Greeks gave us: historians, the alarm clock, the Olympics, medicine, philosophy, zoology, democracy, geometry, the jury service, cartology (maps).


Arthur and the Golden Rope





NC14 - A local history study.

The children will learn about a wide range of women who changed the world: Marie Curie, 1867–1934, Rosa Parks, 1913–2005, Eleanor of Aquitaine, 1122–1204, the Virgin Mary, 1st-century BC–1st-century AD, Jane Austen, 1775–1817, Boudicca, c30–61, Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961–97, Malala You..


They will take a deep dive into the lives of local women, the women who made Manchester: Eleanor Sykes (philanthropist and medic), Enriqueta Rylands (library), Victoria Wood (comedienne), Emmeline Pankhurst (suffragete), Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate), Erinma Bell (peace activist).


This topic aims to raise expectations and aspirations and show all children that there are no limits to their dreams.


Malala’s Magic Pencil




NC14 - A local history study.

The children will learn about the history of Space exploration. They will build on their early learning about Space in Year 1 and paves the way for learning about WW2 in Year 6. The development of ballistic missiles, first used by Germany toward the end of World War II, paved the way for the launch vehicles that would fuel a space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The space race was then followed by an era of space cooperation, highlighted by the International Space Station.


The Jodrell Bank Observatory hosts a number of radio telescopes, and is part of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. The children will visit Jodrell bank and learn all about the impact it has had on our understanding of Space.


The Darkest Dark




NC14 - A local history study.

The children will follow in Charlie’s footsteps and take a tour around industrial Manchester. They will build on their learning from Year 4 to understand how the Manchester canals supported the rise of the mills. They will learn about the different lives of rich and poor people during these times and the treatment of children.


Linking back to their study of coasts in Year 3, the children will learn about the annual week long closure of the Lancashire cotton mills that enabled machinery to be serviced and repaired, and workers to visit Blackpool seaside resort.


Leather Shoe Charlie





NC14 - A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

The children will learn all about the two world wars and their impact on children (as well as the impact of other wars – building on their learning about refugees from Year 4). They will visit Tatton Park to experience life as an evacuee. Finally they will learn about Unicef and children’s rights.


Star of Fear, Star of Hope





The children will learn about the history of conservation, which is generally tied to the industrial age, as a kind of backlash against exploitation of uncontrolled industrial growth and unfettered capitalism of the age. This learning links back to their work on industrial Manchester in Year 5.


Conservation is not only about ecology however, and the children will also learn about the conservation of cultural heritage and the built environment of archaeological monuments, buildings of historic importance, and landscapes. This promotes cultural awareness and respect and preserves a built heritage for future generations to enjoy. This learning links back to the children’s work on museums in Year 2.


Can we Save the tiger?





The children will build upon their learning about refugees and amazing animal journeys in Year 4 to understand that migration is a long-term feature of human behavior. They will learn how this has resulted in the multicultural society that we have today.


Jemmy Button was brought to England by Charles Darwin and in this topic, the children will learn more about the theory of evolution. This will lead into their learning about the history of the Earth in terms of its geology and life, which will put all of the other history that they learn about into time perspective! This learning will be based on the film ‘An Animated Timeline of the History of the Earth’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck8i0_BHg_0


Jemmy Button

The Island





A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900.

The children will learn about Iraq, and particularly the capital city Baghdad. The Abbasid Caliphate established their capital in the city of Baghdad in 762CE. Over the next five centuries Islamic culture flourished and Baghdad became renowned as a centre of learning and tolerance. This period is known as the Golden Age of Islam. Children will find out about the early history of Islamic civilisation from CE 900 and compare it to what was going on in western Europe at around the same time. They will touch on the effects of religion on culture and architecture, the development and maintenance of global trade networks and the history of intellectual and philosophical thought in both areas.


The children will learn about the recent war in Iraq and link this learning to their key text ‘The Day War Came’.


The Day War Came




Building on their Key Stage 1 learning about significant people, the children will learn about Jacques Cousteau: a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.







NC14 - A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.

The children will learn about the history of aviation (building on learning from Year 2). They will begin with the Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus and move on to the invention of kites in China in the 5th century BC. They will learn about the early flying machines of Leonardo da Vinci and hot air balloons in the 1700s. They will then learn about the airships used in WW1 and 2. Finally they will learn about the modern aircraft; The Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart and the economy airlines that have changed the way we holiday today (linking to learning in Year 3).


Sky Chasers