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Heartwood CE VC Primary and Nursery School
Learn to Love – Love to Learn!

We are historians...

'People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.' Marcus Garvey 

At Heartwood we plan History so that each year the children are progressively going further back in time along a timeline. History is led by Penny Carter who has a GCSE in History. She shares her knowledge and experience with the Heartwood team to develop their History teaching and practice. 


In the EYFS, children learn about the present day and the recent history in terms of their lives and growing from a baby. This provides the year 1 children with the foundations to start to explore the history of their parents and  Swaffham in living memory. This is then progressively followed by in-depth study of significant events and people  locally and wider throughout each year group- preparing them to History at secondary level and to be life long Historians.

    History long term plan


    History enrichment weeks are planned progressively throughout the year to enhance cultural capital, experiences, knowledge, understanding and vocabulary. These include Dinosaur week, Gunpowder plot- (Year 1), World War week

    and any significant local, national and world events. We take part in Black History month and children all learn and are inspired from studies on significant people. In the summer term we take part in Gyspy, Traveller and Roma history month across the school.


    COVID Recovery 

    In response to the potential impact of the pandemic on history, at the beginning of each unit if History teaching we built in time to teach and discuss and deepen knowledge of previous History from our curriculum map  


    We teach History with key substantive and second-order concepts that children use throughout their learning in each year group to make connections and links with their prior learning and prepare them for what they are learning next. 

    These concepts are:

    • Power and Governance (kings, queens and leaders)
    • Religion
    • Peace and War 
    • Communities 

    How do we teach History?

    Through the Mantle of the Expert drama and story based approach, we take the children back in time on a commission. Planned knowledge and vocabulary drives the learning. Children are enriched with vocabulary and given planned opportunities to apply knowledge learned. We stimulate the children's curiosity in order for then to engage in learning and create future historians. 

    We give the children planned opportunities as historians to research evidence including primary and secondary sources and have the necessary skills to argue for their point of view; a skill that will help them in their adult life.


    We enhance learning experiences through trips and visitors:


    NurseryReception Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6

    Visits from


    carers and family 

    Visits from

    the parents

    and the community  

    Local visit-

    history of Swaffham town


    school at Gressenhall


    Edith Cavell experience visit 

    Ancient house- Tudors 


    War memorial in Swaffham 


    Visit to St Peter and Paul's church

    West Stow- local  Anglo- Saxon village 


    Gressenhall- WW1 

    Swaffham Museum- Egyptians 


    Norwich castle


    Roman experience visit

    Stone age experience visit 



    Heartwood History Progression

    Our History curriculum includes 3 whole school units taught progressively across the across the school. These are: 


    • Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot in the Autumn term 
    • Black History in the Spring term 
    • Gypsy, Romany and Traveller History in the Summer term 

    Mantle of the Expert 


    At Heartwood we use the Mantle of the Expert drama based approach to support children with making connections with their learning and internalising in the long-term memory. This is used in geography and history units. 


    Mantle of the Expert does not mean the students are magically endowed with expertise. In the real world they are still children.  It is only inside the fiction they work ‘as if’ they are experts. That is in the sense that they take on the powers and responsibilities of a team of experts, working on important assignments, caring about the things they do, and taking pride in their status.


    The creation of a fictional context where the students experiment with making decisions, taking on responsibilities, and meeting challenging situations, is a kind of ‘safe zone’ within the classroom. Unlike in the real world, where children would rarely, if ever, have the kinds of experiences generated by MoE, in an imaginary world they can explore, discuss, and evaluate them as if they were real. 


    Stories are important for the organisation and retrieval of knowledge. Stories have been used as pathways for memories for tens of thousands of years- long before the invention of writing.


    Mantle of the Expert is an approach that organises curriculum learning- knowledge, vocabulary and understanding- through stories created with the students in the classroom. These generate pathways in the process.

    Fundamentally this what the approach is all about.

    Diversity in the History Curriculum 


    It is important and crucial that we have diversity threaded through our History curriculum. Not only do pupils need the 'mirror' to see themselves in the curriculum, they also need the 'window' to wider diverse characteristics and groups, learning from the history people have created and legacies that they have left.  


    At Heartwood we have been proud to educate large numbers of pupils from the Gypsy, Romany and Traveller communities. In our History curriculum children learn in-depth about the wonderful history of the GRT communities through a progressive enquiry week. 

    The curriculum also includes an in-depth study on Black History and celebration of key individuals in History. 


    In addition to these enquiry weeks we ensure that we have planned a wide diverse group of key individuals throughout the whole curriculum in all subjects, which also seeks to overcome and stereotypes. 



    Ensuring all can access and flourish in History

    Making a Difference

    Through the history curriculum we use the knowledge of the past to discuss why decisions and actions were taken and what we can learn from these to be respectful citizens and make a different to our community and beyond. This includes an emphasis on tolerating differences, respecting their community and living in peace. 


    We carry out acts of kindness. often child-led, including supporting charities such as the Royal British Legion and taking part in Remembrance. 

    The National curriculum 

    We teach history through the National curriculum supported by a clear knowledge, skills and vocabulary progress. 


    History in the National Curriculum can be summed up in just a few statements: ordering events in time; finding differences and similarities; writing and talking about the past; using different sources for information; asking and answering questions. All classes in each year group will do all of these at some point and aim to link ‘then’ with ‘now’.


    Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

    The early learning goals at EYFS are very much focused on the memories of the child. It may be that they are asked to remember a special event or routine or custom for their family. They may talk about differences between different family members or different generations.




    3 & 4-year-olds will be learning to:

    Children in Reception will be learning to:






    • Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher. 


    • Begin to describe a sequence of events, real or fictional, using words such as ‘first’, ‘then...’



    Understanding the World

    • Begin to make sense of their own life-story and family’s history.
    • Understand the key features of the life cycle of a plant and an animal.


    • Comment on images of familiar situations in the past.
    • Compare and contrast characters from stories, including figures from the past.


    Past and Present

    • Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society.
    • Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
    • Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.



    The Nicholas Hamond Academy 

    Our curriculum is designed to prepare the children for the next stages in their education in each subject. Our curriculum map plans to support the declarative and procedural knowledge needed for the children to access and thrive in history in KS3.


    TNHA History Curriculum Map KS3


    TNHA History Curriculum Map KS4

    Implementation of History 

    Tudor Times 

    At Heartwood CE VC Primary and Nursery School we have been immersing ourselves in History the Tudors. The children have loved learning about the lives of people from our past and how very different life was.


    We have been learning through a drama-based approach called Mantle of the Expert. The children take on the role of ‘experts’ and are taught their History through a series on tasks based on an imaginary task/job. For example in Year 4 the children have been learning all about Henry VIII by being Tudor house restorers (experts) and preparing a run down Tudor house to become a Tudor museum. They have learned about Tudor houses, the people that worked there, their lives, King Henry VIII and how powerful he was, how he changed the church and how priests were scared to practice their faith.

    The children have loved their learning and have been engrossed with the drama aspect. It has been great to see how much they have learned and how the drama has brought the History to life.


    Year 4 were also lucky enough to visit Ancient House in Thetford to experience more of Tudor life. The Year 3 children will be having a Victorian Day in school to learn all about life as a Victorian child, and how different it is to school today.

    WWI at Gressenhall

    Year 4 went back in time to World War 1 at Gressenhall Workhouse and Museum. They learned all about what life was like for different people during the war. The children experienced life in the classroom with everyone facing forwards and using slate to write on, life as a soldier on the frontline, life as a war time nurse, and life on the farm where food and supplies were essential to the war effort.


    Edith Cavell- Year 2

    Remembrance Day


    Every year we hold a 2 minute silence in school to remember all of those people who played a significant part in previous wars. Through the concept of Peace and war, the children learn age appropriate facts about the wars and the significance to our lives. We have a week in November where the children all progressively learn about aspects of the war and the heroes who served in them. 

    Each class made their own poppies to remember the fallen soldiers. 

    Bonfire Night

    KS1 had a fantastic time learning about why we celebrate Firework's Night on the 5th November.

    The children learnt about the story of Guy Fawkes, acted it out, retold the story, wrote wanted posters and even made their own Guy to place on the fire. They placed the events on the timeline and compared to present day.

    They finished the celebrations with a sparkler in the forest. 

    We are proud to be members of the Historical Association. 

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