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Clerkenwell Parochial CofE Primary School

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At Clerkenwell Parochial, we believe that the teaching of History is a key element in the development of a child’s understanding of the world they live in today. It is also instrumental in the development of a child’s identity, both within their own community and as a global citizen. Our own rich history within the context of our local area enriches us further, providing us with a narrative for the changing face of our own locality and of London over the last four-hundred years.


The importance of History is fully recognised at Clerkenwell Parochial; we believe that History is an important tool in enabling our children to understand change and societal development throughout time, as well as analysing key decisions that were made and their impact. History also provides a model of good citizenship and children are given the opportunity to explore their own understanding of this.

We aspire to develop keen historians through the use of well-structured enquiries that allow the children to investigate the past and explore its effect on the present day. Our effective teaching promotes the acquisition of key historical knowledge and skills, building upon prior learning and encourages the children to think for themselves. To give our children the greatest chance of success within each lesson, we facilitate a culture of investigation, problem solving and reasoning. We believe that the best learning takes place when children’s historical knowledge and historical thinking is developed to the point where they can begin to analyse and evaluate past events to form their own conclusions. This sets them firmly on the path to historical understanding. We also expect children to be using and applying their Literacy skills across all the Foundation Subjects, including within History.


Our topics are chosen from and informed by the National Curriculum; they have been chosen with the children’s interest in mind, as well as taking into account the exciting history linked to our own school and local area. Across the school, we have incorporated elements of local, British and World History. The units are developed in such a way to link the past to the children's own lives and context within London and Britain. Each topic is taught in an exciting way in order to help knowledge ‘stick’; this includes the use of artefacts, information books, guest speakers, themed entry points and educational visits, making use of all London has to offer.


The following key skills are developed from Year 1 to year 6:

Each unit of History is underpinned by a ‘Big Question’, which each child should be able to answer at the end of the topic. This question enables children to see where their learning will lead them and it also prompts them to consider what they already know about the topic, as building on prior knowledge is instrumental developing historical thinking and understanding, as well as developing ‘sticky’ knowledge.

Each year group is covering the following in History this year, identified by their ‘Big Question’:


Year 1


  • The Explorers - ‘How do we know about Antarctica?’
  • Toys Through Time (with local area study) - ‘What toys did the adults in my life play with?
  • Seaside Holidays - ‘What was it like to live by the sea then and now?


Year 2


  • The Great Fire of London - ‘How was London impacted by the Great Fire?
  • Life in the Victorian Times (with local area study) - ‘How has Grace Darling made the world a better place?
  • Civil Rights Movement - ‘How did Rosa Parks make the world a better place?


Year 3 and Year 4


  • The Ancient Greeks - ‘How have the Ancient Greeks influenced our world?
  • Rivers (History and Geography cross-over, with local area study) - ‘Why is London situated by the River Thames?
  • The Stone Age - ‘Who was the first to live in Britain?


Year 5


  • The Tudors - ‘Would you rather have been upstairs or downstairs at Hampton Court Palace?
  • Life in the Victorian Times (with local areas study) - ‘what was Clerkenwell like when Charles Dickens came here?
  • The Wind Rush - ‘Would you have rushed to be on the Wind Rush?


Year 6


  • World War II - ‘What were the main events of the war and who was effected?
  • Crime and Punishment (with local area study) - ‘How has Crime and Punishment changed through the ages?

Whole School Local Area Project

Whole School Local Area Project 1

At Clerkenwell, we have been are exploring our school’s heritage through a fascinating History and Geography project entitled ‘Clerkenwell: Who Do You Think You Are?. This is a whole school project that will enable the children to delve into what makes Clerkenwell the school it is today and why it is so unique, feeding into our school’s vision. As part of this, we are looking at the architecture of our local streets, key historical figures linked to our school (Charles Dickens!), transport through the times, the social and economic issues faced by the area, how the area received fresh water and why, our local churches, Victorian school life and Crime and Punishment in the Clerkenwell area. Each teacher in the school is heading one of these areas and each class will spend one Friday morning over the course of Spring 1 with each teacher to cover everything. This project will develop our children’s sense of identity as part of our school and as citizens within the context of our locality.