Thomas Jolyffe Primary School

Thomas Jolyffe Primary School


How children become historians @TJ...

As school life begins, children are introduced to history in Reception by looking at past and present events in their own lives so far. They use a range of stimulus for this such as family pictures and tracking their changes from babies to now. As they become more aware of the world around them, they start to identify similarities and differences between families, communities and traditions. In particular, they look at festivals and celebrations that are linked to historical events. 

As the children move into Year One they delve further into the past looking at the local area 100 years ago and the jobs people used to do in the past during their A Day in the Life topic. By doing this they are developing their understanding of the past whilst using topics that they can connect with. As the year progresses and the children become more secure with the concept of the past, they begin to explore the history of the circus in their topic The Circus is coming to Town. The children research what circuses were like in the past and identify some of the key people who made it famous. The children then bring this learning back to the modern day by looking at how the circus has changed over time.  

By Year Two, children have a solid understanding of the past and are introduced to the concept of a timeline in their topic From A to B. The children look at transport in the past and make their own timelines to show when they were invented.  They explore this further by applying their understanding to different types of transport from myths and legends. They further cement their understanding by learning how houses were made and have been used in the past during their topic Buildings. By the end of the key stage our children have a secure understanding of the objectives ready to progress to key stage 2. 

At the start of the juniors, the children are introduced to the concept of evidence and sources so that they begin to understand how we find out about the past. This is demonstrated in the topic Scavengers and Settlers as we explore our ancestors and use evidence to find out about what they may have looked like and how they were able to survive. The topic allows an immersive element to the learning as children are given the opportunity to find their own evidence and make predictions. Continuing from Key Stage One the children develop an understanding of timelines by looking at how early human life developed through to the Bronze and Iron Ages. 


Moving into Year Four, children will complete the topic All Aboard whereby they will develop their understanding of a significant turning point in British history with the history of the railways. They will learn about early inventors and their working conditions to the growth of the railway system and the impact it made on British communities. Another topic Year Four will learn about is Temples, Tombs and Treasures where they will start to comparison life in Ancient Sumner with life in Ancient Egypt. They will continue to find and use evidence to support their learning with more independence and explanations for their reasoning.  


Arriving in Year Five, children continue to explore a range of different historical topics during The Great the Bold and the Brave and AD 900. They continue to use all of the skills learned so far during their school experience, however they start to develop their reasoning skills further as they look at events that have changed history such as the Roman Empire decline and look for reasons why this might have happened and the impact of this at the time. The children take more independence with their learning and conduct independent research whilst deciding their own opinions and reasons. They continue to use sources to build on their learning and use these skills across a wide range of history topics. 


As we prepare our children for secondary school, the children will be working with good awareness of different history topics and their impact in time. They are able to conduct their own research and present findings with confidence as they learn about famous people whose ideas caused social change in What Price Progress? They will also develop an immersive experience of democracy and how this can bring about change during their topic Champions for Change. This supports their understanding of the past whilst making clear links with the present developing their ability to explain why change happens and how it has made an impact. 


We hope that by using a staged approach, which builds learning throughout the key stages, all children at Thomas Jolyffe leave as history enthusiasts who embrace the past and understand it’s impact on our future.


Miss C Thomas (History Coordinator)

‘Children are captivated by their learning’, ‘The well-being of pupils is at the heart of the school’, ‘School is a calm place - pupils are polite, courteous and well-mannered’