The Highway Primary School


The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”

-Theodore T Roosevelt-


We use CUSP History curriculum to support our children’s knowledge and understanding in this area of learning.
Our History curriculum is ambitious, carefully sequenced and knowledge-rich. It meets the needs of our children and equips them to become critical thinkers who have the ability to investigate, consider, reflect and review events of the past.

CUSP History draws upon prior learning, wherever the content is taught. For example, in the EYFS, pupils may learn about the past and present through daily activities, exploring through change, and understanding more about the lives of others through books and visitors as well as their own experiences. These experiences are drawn upon and used to position new learning in KS1.
The structure is built around the principles of advancing cumulative knowledge, chronology, change through cause and consequence, as well as making connections within and throughout periods of time studied.
CUSP History is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’.

A guiding principle of CUSP History is that pupils become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental timeline. Specific and associated historical vocabulary is planned sequentially and cumulatively across the school. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught alongside and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3).

Each learning module in history has a vocabulary module with teacher guidance, tasks and resources.
CUSP fulfils and goes well beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum as we believe there is no ceiling to what pupils can learn if the architecture and practice is founded in evidence-led principles.


History is taught as a discrete subject in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in blocked units throughout the year. These blocks are designed to enable pupils to acquire a rich web of knowledge as our sequencing and selection of units builds on previous topics and feeds forward to future learning. In Reception, we follow the ‘New EYFS Framework’ and history is covered in ‘Understanding of the World’.
Alongside delivering substantive knowledge, we also teach children critical thinking to analyse, evaluate and make judgements on how significant events have shaped the past. Through the use of high-quality resources and examples of primary and secondary sources, we discuss the disciplinary knowledge that historians have used to piece together history as we have come to know it.
The curriculum is broadly taught chronologically so that pupils gain an understanding of their place in time and how each historical event ‘fits in’ to the wider context. We have carefully chosen historical figures which represent our community and prepare pupils for life in modern day Britain, whilst ensuring the content of the curriculum builds pupils’ cultural capital.

Vocabulary forms a key part of our curriculum. Therefore, subject specific Tier 2 and Tier 3 words are identified in each module. Supporting pupils in the acquisition of knowledge, through the use of key concepts, terms, and vocabulary, provides opportunities to build a shared and consistent understanding. Knowledge organisers, glossaries and displays, along with regular recall and revision, will be used to support this approach.  

Knowledge organisers
Accompanying each module is a Knowledge Organiser which contains key vocabulary, information and concepts which all pupils are expected to understand and retain. Knowledge notes are the elaboration and detail to help pupils acquire the content of each module. They support vocabulary and concept acquisition through a well-structured sequence that is cumulative. Each Knowledge Note begins with a learning question which focuses on the key content to be learnt and understood. Knowledge Organisers and Knowledge Notes are dual coded to provide pupils with visual calls to aid understanding and recall.

Our historians will be given a variety of experiences both in and out of the classroom, where appropriate, to create memorable learning opportunities and to further imbed knowledge. We also aim to make use of resources within the immediate and wider local area enabling children to develop a deep understanding of the history of their locality. 


A guiding principle of the history curriculum is that children become more historically ‘expert’ with each study and grow a broadening and coherent understanding of the past, ensuring their historical knowledge is not fragmented. Vocabulary, both specific and associated, is taught alongside and within history units. Teachers will use the information gathered through formative assessment to address gaps and to provide additional challenges for children as required and appropriate. This is most effective when done immediately and at the point of learning.