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.

History is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by the implementation of Bjork’s desirable difficulties, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect with significant periods of time, people, places and events.

History strategically incorporates a range of modules that revisit, elaborate and sophisticate key concepts, events, people and places.

Autumn Spring Summer

Year 1


Changes within living memory


The lives of significant people (Mary Anning and David Attenborough)

More lives of significant people

(Neil Armstrong, Mae Jemison, Bernard Harris Jr., Tim Peake)


Year 2


Events beyond living memory (Great Fire of London)


Significant historical events, people, places in our locality

Significant historical events, people, places in our locality


Revisit – Events beyond living memory


Year 3


Stone Age – Iron Age

Stone Age – Iron Age


Rome and the impact on Britain


Rome and the impact on Britain



Year 4

Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots


Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of

Edward the Confessor

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

Ancient civilisation – Egypt or Shang Dynasty



Ancient civilisation – Egypt or Shang Dynasty


Year 5


Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece


Comparison study – Maya or Benin and Anglo-Saxons


Comparison study – Maya or Benin and Anglo-Saxons


Year 6


Local History Study – how did conflict change our locality in World War 2?


Windrush generation

5 significant monarchs or

Battle of Britain



The sequence in KS1 focuses on young children developing a sense of time, place and change. It begins with children studying Changes within living memory  to develop an understanding of what has changed within the living memory of the community. This chronological knowledge is foundational to the  understanding of change over time.

Pupils study the Lives of significant individuals, focusing on David Attenborough and Mary Anning. Chronology and place in time steers the understanding of  the context in which these significant individuals lived. Terms such as legacy are introduced and used within the context of each study. This study is revisited and enhanced by studying the Lives of further significant individuals, including Neil Armstrong, Mae Jemison, Bernard Harris Jr. and Tim Peake.

In KS1, pupils study local history through significant events, people and places. The locality is further understood by knowing about the places, the buildings, the events and the people that tell a story of the past.

Events beyond their living memory. Here, pupils draw upon early concepts of chronology and connect it to more abstract, but known, events in the past focusing on the Great Fire of London.

Significant historical events, people, places in our locality is studied to develop an understanding of the history and how it shaped the place we live.

There are further opportunities for pupils to revisit and retrieve prior learning with a focus on ‘Events beyond living memory’.



In lower KS2, pupils study the cultural and technological advances made by our ancestors as well as understanding how historians think Britain changed throughout the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. Archaeological history guides us to know how early humans were creative, innovative and expert at surviving in changeable environments. Having an in-depth understanding of Iron Age Britain offers solid foundations for the study of how Rome influenced Britain. This foundational knowledge is built upon and used to support long-term retrieval to contrast culture and technology. Pupils are able to draw upon prior understanding to support and position new knowledge, therefore constructing much more stable long-term memories. Substantive concepts such as invasion, law, civilisation and society are developed through explicit vocabulary instruction, another central component of CUSP.

Studies of how Britain was settled by Anglo-Saxons and Scots gives a focus on cultural change and the influence of Christianity. Pupils study how powerful kings and their beliefs shaped the Heptarchy of Anglo-Saxon Britain.

CUSP also focuses on the Struggle for throne of England through a study of the Vikings, their origins, conquests and agreements with English Anglo-Saxon kings to settle and dwell in the region known as Danelaw.

Ancient studies include a focus on Egypt or the Shang Dynasty.



Ancient history includes the study of Ancient Greek life and achievements. Children learn about the influence Ancient Greece had on the western world. The understanding of culture, people and places are central to these studies. CUSP History connects these studies with prior knowledge of what was happening in Britain at the same time. The effect of this is to deepen and connect a broader understanding of culture, people, places and events through comparison.

Later in KS2, knowledge of Anglo-Saxons is revisited and used to connect with a study of the Maya civilisation or The kingdom of Benin. The study compares advancement of the Maya culture and innovation to that of the Anglo-Saxons around c. AD 900. Here, location, settlement, people, culture and invention are compared and contrasted.

Recent history is studied in the context of how conflict changed the locality in the Second World War. Modern history is also studied through units such as the Windrush Generation. Knowing about slavery, Caribbean culture and the injustice of the past enlightens pupils to understand why events happened and how these pioneers faced racism, discrimination and prejudice. PSHE and SMSC are vital components of the history curriculum – challenging racism and prejudice in all its forms. This is an integral feature of CUSP that spotlights the lessons we can learn from the past.