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History is evident all around us. The study of history ignites children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Through finding out about how and why the world, our country, culture and local community have developed over time, children can understand how the past influences the present.

Within history lessons at Ralph Butterfield Primary School, children develop a passion and enthusiasm for the subject due to their growing sense of identity and developing understanding of the chronology and concepts that run through history. By understanding periods, events and people from the past, our children gain cultural capital and have a greater appreciation of today’s world and their place within it. History, on a global scale, as well as a personal scale, builds awareness of children’s own heritage and enables them to be aspirational about the role they can play in the future.

Our ambitious history curriculum allows children to develop substantive and disciplinary knowledge throughout the key concepts in a logically progressive way. We aim to also inspire a curiosity and fascination about history that will remain with them. “A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world” (The 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England).

In addition, given our location close to the city of York, which has many historical links to key periods of British history, we aim to ensure that history teaching and learning at Ralph Butterfield Primary School has a wide application to the immediate locality, teaching the children to enjoy learning about key periods of the past and to have a better understanding of the ever-changing society in which they live. 

The history curriculum at Ralph Butterfield Primary School is progressive and fully inclusive, as scaffolding techniques are used throughout to ensure that the learning is accessible to all.

The aims of teaching history in our school are:

• To enable children to be knowledgeable about significant events in British history and in the history of York as well as to appreciate change over time

• To inspire children’s curiosity to discover more about the past and to develop an understanding that enables them to enjoy all that history has to offer as well as a secure understanding of the chronology of significant time periods and societies in Britain and beyond

• To develop in children the skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation, debate, interpretation, problem solving and presentation so they may successfully continue to develop their own interest in the past  

• To think critically and analytically and be able to differentiate between source types and explain how and why interpretations of history may differ

• To inspire children to develop curiosity about the history of their local area, to be knowledgeable about key events, significant buildings and eminent people from the past within their local area and to equip them with the skills to further their knowledge of the local area

• To have some knowledge and understanding of historical development in the wider world

• To help children understand society and their place within it, so that they develop a sense of their cultural heritage

How our school values are embedded in history


 Please click here to view our history progression 



Children will develop empathy for what life would be like for people living in the past. Children will investigate as historians to develop their empathy, compassion and respect as well as debate decisions made in the past.




Children will develop perseverance with historical enquiry based tasks. Children will develop a thirst for historical enquiry through fun and adventurous ways to promote their historical ambition.




Children will become increasingly enthusiastic to learn about the past and will be determined to ask questions and analyse information through sources.




Children will develop the ability to question the authenticity and reliability of sources and accounts of the past. Children will develop investigatory skills to debate and question the authenticity, reliability & validity of sources and accounts of the past.



What this looks like for children at Ralph Butterfield Primary School

History at our school consists of an ambitious and exciting curriculum that encompasses our school values, which run throughout everything we teach. Our whole school curriculum has been built from the ground up, with history taking centre stage as a ‘driver’ for some units of work throughout the school; this means that work is built around the history focus. This creates meaningful cross curricular links that embed teaching and learning in a range of subjects, to help our children become enthused in their learning and remember more.

Children take on the role of a historian to dive deeper into the subject and in the true style of this role, they are continually using their growing knowledge and understanding to link key concepts to other time periods as well as developing their disciplinary knowledge – showing great resilience and determination as they go. Not only do children develop their skills as a historian but they develop their sense of our British Values and how these have changed over time to what we know them as today, furthermore, the children naturally compare and contrast these with other societies throughout history.

At Ralph Butterfield Primary School, we want to develop a passion for history and allow the children to become immersed in their learning. Therefore we bring it to life through exciting and engaging assemblies, inviting expert visitors into school, purposeful and age-appropriate school trips, exciting augmented reality opportunities and pivotal focus times:

· Assemblies are led by our amazing staff and external visitors to highlight moments in history, for example Remembrance Day was explored through a story and then discussed to highlight the significance within history.

· Florence Nightingale and a Roman Soldier have visited our school! On these days, the children have enjoyed developing their knowledge through questioning, activities and exploring artefacts.

· Parents/carers have also been inspired by our history, e.g. by building the pyramids out of sugar cubes! This was a fantastic phase event in which we saw children and grown-ups testing their Egyptian knowledge together. 

· Our children have been enthralled on recent school trips that have included a historical scavenger hunt around York City Centre; learning the history of chocolate by going to The Chocolate Story and learning how chocolate was intertwined in the development of York; visiting The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, going back in time to see how York was impacted by the Industrial Revolution.

· We have talked to Guy Fawkes! After learning the chronology surrounding the events, the children then came up with insightful and probing questions to ask the man himself, gathering his versions of the events as well as linking it back to our core values. This gave our children the closest opportunity to gather historical evidence and sources via augmented reality.  

· Our children enjoyed ‘Celebrating Our Sisters’ for ‘Black History Month’. They found it interesting and valuable to learn the whole picture from slavery to the Windrush to now. We developed a sense of knowledge of how opinions and values have developed and changed over time.

No matter the era, we instil a high level of respect when learning history, whether it be as individuals or working as part of a team; our children learn the importance of understanding that all opinions are valid and to be heard, as well as developing their own inquisitive minds.




"Thank you for all the hard work you all put in, our daughter settled into the school really well and we know that’s down to you all."