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Leighton Middle School



 We want to inspire children by introducing pupils to the wide breadth of human experience by studying past societies and help them to gain a greater understanding of the world we live in today. We do this by encouraging vital skills such as knowledge and understanding; explaining and analysing key information; evaluating different interpretations of the past; reaching judgements to be able to form arguments; and by doing research so they may communicate clearly their points of view as individuals and independent learners. This is achieved by focusing on the significance of different events, cause and effect, change and continuity and the use of source evidence to help with historical enquiries.

Through the range of topics taught, whether British, European or wider world history, we seek to celebrate achievements and personal excellence and shine a light on the suffering of diverse peoples and cultures and recognise the British values as they have evolved of mutual respect, tolerance, diversity, freedom of speech and peace. 


In Key Stage 2, History is taught via one lesson per week and there is generally one topic per term. This provides a foundation of knowledge and skills for pupils to understand key events from the past and through these schemes of work we can help to develop literacy skills using strategies from the school’s reading focus such as modelling reading, through reading aloud and breaking texts into smaller chunks and by discussing key vocabulary. We begin to make use of source analysis and looking at different historical perspectives. In Year 5 we study The Vikings, Early Islamic civilisations and the Victorians focusing in particular on the impact of the Industrial Revolution.

In Year 6 we study Ancient Greeks, Black and British, WWI Trenchlife and a local History study.

As we move into Key Stage 3 Year 7 also have one lesson per week but there is more depth to the study as we look at a single period of British history but through a number of different aspects. We study Medieval Realms starting with the Norman Conquest in 1066, then study aspects of Medieval life such as the Black Death and it’s impact and the consequences of the Peasants’ Revolt; the relationship between the Church and the Monarchy and ending with the Power of the Church and the Crusades.

In Year 8 there are two lessons a week in which we cover the religious divisions in Britain during the Tudor and Stuart period, the English Civil War and the Inter-regnum; Witchcraft – as a case study of a specific event in the 17th century and moving on to the Slave Trade and how this leads to the Civil Rights movement and links to the Black Lives Matter movement.

We teach through a variety of activities in order to support different learning styles with differentiation and extension in all lessons. We aim to make lessons interesting and engaging, and through the resources and material we provide, a learning environment which will enable all pupils to make progress. Lessons and resources are shared across the teaching team and we look to make cross-curricular links e.g. the WWI unit in Year 6 aims to give a background knowledge for the study of WWI poetry in Year 7 English.  


 Pupils in KS2 are given assessments which allow them to demonstrate their learning in the topic – their knowledge and understanding of key events and people; their recognition of different time periods and use of dates and key subject vocabulary; the impact of these societies and start to make links to the modern world in which they live.

At KS3 pupils are given assessments which will help them to imbed the skills they have learnt to a higher level in preparation for their move to upper school and the skills which they will need for their GCSE curriculum. These skills include the recall of core knowledge, use of primary and secondary sources as evidence to support points of view, analysis of evidence for reliability and links or themes between topics. The study of History helps to give pupils a greater sense of their cultural past and how we have reached the position of the world as it is today.

Curriculum Overview

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Year 5

Year 6

Year 7

Year 8


I understand chronology and how the past is divided into periods of time.

 I can pick out some similarities and differences between periods of time I have studied.

 I can make some use of significant dates.

 I can remember the events, people and their actions for the topic I am studying.

 I can give reasons for what happened in the past for the topic I am studying.

 I can suggest reasons for the different ways in which the past is shown.

 I am beginning to recognise that the past can be seen in different ways.

 I am beginning to see how to use evidence to support what I have said.

 I can use information from a range of sources.

I am beginning to use the information to write in a more structured way.

 I can understand there are similarities and differences between periods of time and can use relevant dates.

 I am beginning to make connections between features of different periods of time.

 I can use my knowledge of the topic I have studied to describe key features.

 I can describe the main events and what happened as a result for the topic I am studying.

 I can recognise that the past can be seen in different ways by different people.

 I am starting to decide whether a source is reliable and useful as evidence.

 I can use some sources as evidence to support what I have said.

 I can use relevant information from a range of sources.

 I can use information in a structured way including dates and key terms.


 I can confidently identify similarities and differences between periods of time and know many significant dates.

 I am starting to compare and contrast past periods of time.

 I can recognise trends or patterns of change over time.

 I can use my knowledge of the topic to describe key features and relate them to other time periods.

 I can describe the main events and what happened as a result, making links between different periods of time, for the topic I am studying.

 I can recognise that the past can be seen in different ways by different people and why they might have different opinions.

 I can use some sources of evidence and suggest whether it is reliable.

I can select and use relevant information in my work from a range of sources for the period I am studying.

I can produce an extended piece of writing making appropriate use of important dates and key terms.




I can make links between the key features of periods of time.

I can use my knowledge of historical events/people to reflect on how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.

 I can compare and contrast past periods of time.

 I am starting to explain trends or patterns of change over time.

 I can explain the causes and consequences of an event, making links between the different causes.

 I can understand why there are different views about the past and I am starting to evaluate these opinions.

 I can use a variety of sources as evidence for the arguments I have described.

 I can assess historical sources of information for reliability, making a comparison of more than one source.

 I can produce a well-structured piece of extended writing, including my own opinion.



Year 5

Year 5

In Year 5 the first topic will be about the Vikings as this links with topics which pupils will be familiar with from Lower school such as the Romans or Anglo-Saxons. We will look at the sort of reputation the Vikings have and try to decide whether that reputation is deserved. This is part of our theme on Invasion and settlement of Britain.


In the Spring term the children will look at the role of Early Islamic Civilisation in helping to advance knowledge and understanding as a centre for learning. This will contrast with the Viking period in Britain which was at a similar time.


The focus will then move to a more recent historical period with the Victorian industrial revolution. This is a significant period of rapid technological and social change in British history which had impacts on the people of Britain but also in the wider world of the British Empire.


Autumn term – Vikings (789CE -1066CE)

Spring term – Early Islamic Civilisation (762CE – 1258CE)

Summer term - Victorian Industrial revolution (1750-1900CE)


Invaders or settlers

Society; Empire

Society; cultural change


In this unit, children will continue their learning about British history with a study of the medieval period. They will:

·         Explore the thread of invasion and settlement by referring to their lower schools about the Roman and Anglo-Saxon.

·         To understand how the Viking longship helped them to raid Britain

·         To explore the attacks on monasteries in Lindisfarne.

·         To analyse the raids on Lindisfarne and evaluate the different points of view.

·         To know that over time Vikings started to settle, finding the land more suited to farming than the forests and mountains of their homeland.

·         The children will look at how successful the Vikings were in being able to take over Britain but also how the Vikings brought their families with them, they settled, traded and named local places which still exist today.

·         Children will investigate a theme about Viking life such as Sagas, Norse gods, Runic writing, famous Vikings, Viking life.


In this unit, we will learn all about the Golden Age of Islam.

·         We will understand he rise and fall of the Islamic Empire- from its expansion to become an empire to its eventual decline with the Mongol sacking of Baghdad.

·         By examining and evaluating a range of sources, we will gain a deeper understanding of what life was like for ordinary people in the Abbasid caliphate

·         We will make comparisons of Baghdad with another Islamic city – Cordoba.

·         We will look at the House of Wisdom and their attitudes to reading, learning and science.

·         This will help us make comparisons between life in the Islamic Empire and in contemporary Britain.

·         recognition of British values like tolerance for people who are different to ourselves.

In this unit, we will learn about

·         How society was defined into different classes in Victorian Britain and what life was like for people in different social classes.

·         The significant changes of this era and consider how they affected people –focusing in particular on how life changed for children in terms of work, education and health;

·        Migration from the countryside to the towns as machines were able to do the jobs of people and work was more available in towns in factories.

·         To learn about the impact on life for children in Victorian times was very different to in today’s Britain.

·         To recognise how train travel and technological advancements brought about significant changes for people living in this period, with travel further afield being made more affordable.

·         To explore the British Empire and whether it benefitted the countries which Britain held as colonies.

Year 6

Year 6

In Year 6 the first topic will be about the Ancient Greeks. This will explore the classical period of Ancient Greece and links with pupils’ study of Ancient Egyptians at lower school.


In the Spring term pupils will learn about the development of Black people and their history in Britain over the last two millennia. They will appreciate how attitudes have developed and changed and know the impact that empire, migration, slavery and discrimination have had on Black people in Britain.


In the Summer term, in order to facilitate the English departments teaching of War poetry in Year 7, we will learn about the circumstances of life in the trenched in World War I. This will be followed by a local study unit focussing on initially our school’s history and then the historic sites in the town.


Autumn term – The Ancient Greeks (800 BCE-146BCE)

Spring term – Black and British (Romans 253CE- Tudors – slavery – modern Windrush Empire)

Summer term – First half -Trench life in World War I (1914-18)

Second half term – Local History


Power; culture.

Society; Empire

1.       Conflict

2.       Understanding the History of our local environment.


Our modern world owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. In this unit, we will explore:

·         Where and when is Ancient Greece

·         How the environment influences Greek culture.

·         Analysing pottery to make an assessment of Greek life.

·         The role of women in Ancient Greece.

·         To compare Greek city states of Athens and Sparta.

·         Analyse the Battle of Marathon and the tactics used to defeat the Persian army.

·         Evaluating the value of the Parthenon following the Peloponnesian.

·         Compare the Ancient Olympic Games to the modern Olympics.

·         Assess whether the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur could be based on real life.

·         Understand the significance of Ancient Greek science, philosophy, and government (justice system & democracy) which continue to influence our daily lives and the modern world.

This unit looks at the history of Black people in Britain.

·         Recognise that the earliest evidence of Black people in Britain comes from Roman times.

·         To examine the evidence found by archaeologists challenge ideas about the roles of Black people.

·         Infer information by looking at the roles of Black people in Tudor period. Use the example of John Blanke.

·         To assess the impact that the slave trade made to Britain and the experiences of Black people.

·         To examine the role which Black people played in the World Wars and the lack of recognition.

·         To examine the post-war experiences of Black immigrants to Britain from the Windrush generation.

·         To assess whether there has been improvements in the last 60 years.

As background for children in relation to their study of World War I poetry in English this unit will allow children to understand:

·         The circumstances which brought world to conflict in 1914.

·         The role of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in triggering the war.

·         Look at the propaganda which persuaded men to join up.

·         Read first hand accounts of what it was like to live in the trenches.

Study of the local history of our school and Leighton Buzzard:-

·         A tour of our school and the history of our site.

·         Looking at source document of the sales particulars of our school and how it has changed

·         Research about the historical sites in our town.

Year 7

Year 7

As we start Key Stage 3 we study in more detail the Medieval period 1066-1485. In Year 7 the first topic will be about the Norman Conquest. This links with topics which pupils have studied in Lower school such as the Romans or Anglo-Saxons but also The Vikings from Year 5. We will look at how William I was able to conquer first at the Battle of Hastings but then as he takes control of the country This is part of the themes of Conflict and Invasion.


The children will also learn what life was like for peasants, how the Black Death (1348) affected medieval England and why it led to the Peasants Revolt in 1381.


In the third term the children will learn about the power struggle between the church and the monarch for the loyalty of the peasants. This is a theme which will be seen again in the English Reformation in Year 8.


Autumn term – The Norman Conquest (1066-1089CE)

Spring term – Peasant Life, the Black death and the Peasants Revolt (1348-1381CE). Then the murder of Thomas Becket (1170CE)

Summer term – Look at the power of the church in the medieval period, and the Crusades.


Invasion ;Power; Conflict

Society; Conflict

Society; religion; conflict


In this unit, children will continue their learning about British history with a study of the medieval period. They will:

·         Explore the thread of conflict and invasion through their study of who wanted the throne of England in 1066.

·         What happened in the Battle of Hastings and how Harold died.

·         Why William was able to beat Harold.

·         The feudal system and how this helped William to keep control of the country after he became king.

·         Castle building how they were attacked and how they developed over this period from motte and bailey castles to fortified manor houses.

·         Look at how much continued as before and how significant the changes were.


The children will build on their learning from the Autumn term by looking at:-

·         What life was like for peasants.

·         The Black death – beliefs about how it was caused

·         The reactions of people and the cures which were attempted as a result of their beliefs.

·         Consequences for the people who survived and whether this can be seen as a disaster or not.

·         Look at the causes of the Peasants’ Revolt.

·         What happened during the Peasants’ Revolt.

·         Look at different descriptions about the death of Wat Tyler.


In this unit, we will learn about

·         Murder mystery on the death of Thomas Becket.

·         Use different source evidence to establish what happened and who should be blamed for Beckets death.

·         The role of the church in medieval England.

·         The ways in which the church said you could get to heaven.

·         The life of a monk/nun.

·         What were the crusades and why did they happen.

·         The conflict between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin.


Year 8

Year 8

As the children move into Year 8 we study the Reformation and Henry VIII’s break with Rome; whether Mary deserved her nickname Bloody Mary and what led to the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642.


In the Spring term we will focus on the study of Oliver Cromwell and what happened during the Interregnum. Our study of the Tudor and Stuart period concludes with a short study on witchcraft which was at it’s peak through the early part of the 17th century This is part of the themes of Power and Conflict. It also links to lower school topics about Henry VIII and the Upper school where Elizabeth I and the Tudors are studied at GCSE.


In the final term of Year 8 our attention moves to the study of a topic on slavery and the legacy for civil rights. Children will learn about Britain’s role in the slave trade and the campaign for abolition, they will learn about the circumstances in which slaves were transported, and life and work on the plantations. We will look at how slavery was abolished after the American Civil War but how black people were still subject to discrimination through the Jim Crow laws. We will then look in detail at some of the ways in which people campaigned for equality such as the Montgomery bus boycott, Brown v the board of education and the Little Rock 9. We will examine the role and impact of groups like the NAACP and the KKK and individuals such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks.


Autumn term – The Reformation, Bloody Mary(1517-1558CE) and the Causes of the English Civil War( 1625-1642CE)

Spring term – Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum

Witchcraft (1649-1660CE)

Summer term – Slavery and Civil rights (1600-1960s)


Power; Religious Conflict

Power it’s impact on Britain; Society -Role of women and scientific understanding

Society, Power and racial conflict


In this unit, children will continue their learning about British history with a study of the early modern period. They will:

·         explore the circumstances which led to Martin Luther’s creation of the Protestant church.

·         Examine the differences between the protestant and catholic churches.

·         Examine what caused Henry VIII to break with Rome.

·         Explore whether Mary I should be known as Bloody Mary looking at how she tried to convert the country back to Catholicism.

·         Explore the long and the short term causes of the English Civil War.

·         Look at the power struggle between Charles and parliament.

·         Charles ability to raise and spend money compared to modern system of taxation.

·         Examine the religious tension caused by Charles desire to please his catholic wife against Puritan objections. Compounded by Charles’s belief in the God given right to rule in the Divine right of Kings.

·         To make a judgement as to which factor was the most important in starting the Civil War

The children will build on their learning from the Autumn term by looking at:-

·         What life was like for people in the period of the Interregnum 1649-1660.

·         Examine Oliver Cromwell’s actions to decide whether he was a hero or a villain.

·         Cromwell’s role in the trial and execution of Charles I.

·         His role in the parliamentarian army, creating the New Model Army and the victory at the Battle of Naseby.

·         Cromwell becoming Lord Protector and the power that gave him to rule with the help of 11 major generals.

·         To examine the different perspectives of Cromwell through his role in Ireland and Drogheda.

·         Cromwell and the Commonwealth’s reaction to other religions such as Jews and Quakers.

·         Restoration of the monarchy

·         The Glorious Revolution.



·         Who were the most vulnerable to accusations about being a witch.

·         How they tested if you were a witch.

·         Look at a case study of the Trial of the Pendle witches.

·         Look at the factors which caused the rise of witch trials in the mid 17th century.

·         Examine the role of Matthew Hopkins: Witchfinder General in exacerbating the witch craze.


In this unit, we will learn about

·         The slave trade triangle.

·         The circumstances of the Middle passage.

·         How slaves were sold at auction; the treatment of black people in a similar way to animals or livestock.

·         What life was like for slaves on the plantation.

·         The way in which slaves were disciplined using a primary source.

·         Runaway slaves and the role of people like Harriet Tubman in creating the Underground railway.

·         The impact of campaigners like Olaudah Equiano , William Wiberforce and Granville Sharp to bring about abolition.

·         The impact of slave resistance and people like Toussaint L’Overture in helping to establish the first black run independent Caribbean island in Saint Domingue.

·         The difference between Northern and slave owning Southern states which led to the American Civil War.

·         How much changed for black people once they had been emancipated after the introduction of the Jim Crow laws.

·         The impact of the Second World War where black men were fighting for European freedom but were not free from discrimination in America.

·         The circumstances and effect of Brown v Board of education.

·         Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott

·         Little Rock 9 and the challenges they faced in order to go to school.

·         Martin Luther King and the March on Washington.

·         Compare Martin Luther King to Malcolm X’s beliefs about how to gain equality.

·         Look at the history and impact of the KKK as an organisation which tried to slow the achievement of civil rights for black people. But also, the NAACP which helped to support black people in their challenges.

·         Discuss the more recent incidents of racial tension in America – the beating of Rodney King which leads to riots in Los Angeles; the shooting of Trayvon Martin which leads to the establishment of the Black Lives Matter movement. Riots in Fergusson, Missouri where the death of Micheal Brown at the hands of police sparked massive protests; and the death of George Floyd.



British Values

The study of History helps to promote British Values through: the study of the political history we can see the development of British democracy from the Norman conquest onwards. Pupils learn about the tolerance and mutual respect for faiths and beliefs through the study of topics such as Greek Gods, the Reformation, Early Islamic civilisation and slavery. Pupils are encouraged to think about their own circumstances when making comparisons with the past. They are taught that there are a variety of perspectives and that they should value the right of others  to hold a different opinion to their own. Diversity is considered through the continuity and change seen in the broad curriculum which pupils are taught.




Leadership and management skills


Planning and research


History teaching allows pupils to reflect on events and people which have happened in the past, to make judgements about the actions taken and suggest ways in which they could have done things differently. Pupils will also be given the opportunity to reflect on assessments and use the feedback they have been given to improve - a key skill in any career.

Throughout the lessons in the history curriculum pupils are asked to develop their ability to put forward their ideas clearly, either verbally or in writing. They also learn to listen to others in order to assess the points which others are making.

Pupils have the opportunity with their learning partners, in group work and independently to show leadership ability and to manage their homework so that it is returned on the appropriate date.

Children are taught how to plan and structure their writing for assessed pieces of work but also through scaffolding and modelling of answers. They are regularly given opportunities to research information relevant to the topics being studied. This gives them the opportunity to learn key skills for the workplace such as seeking information from a variety of sources, analysis and interpretation of that information and reporting their findings.

Pupils learn to work co-operatively with each other such as pooling their information in their research for the local history topic in Year 6.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development (SMSC)





History is about curiosity about the past and pupils desire to know and understand more about how we as a people and as a country came to be where we are. The idea of truth is central to the study of History and is taught through their understanding of interpretations about the past. A good understanding of values and beliefs can be seen through pupils study in Year 7 of the beliefs which drove men to go on Crusades in the Middle Ages but also through the study of the Reformation in Year 8. The ability to be able to empathise with people from the past is something which is regularly encouraged. To see other points of view.

History lends itself to supporting moral education and the development of young people. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their own personal values and the values of society which have changed over time. Moral decisions by individuals such as such as Oladah Equiano, by governments and societies are central to the study of the English Civil War and slavery.

Social issues and the needs of different groups are common themes in the study of History. They are explicitly recognised on a regular basis. The collective history of individual groups are explored during both KS2 and KS3. Examples would be the reputation of the Vikings (Y6); the role of women in Greek society (Y6); the role of the peasants in British society (Y7); and the study of the development of Black people in America (Y8).

Much of the History curriculum teaches pupils an appreciation of the influences which have shaped the cultural heritage of Britain and the wider world. For example, the building of the Parthenon and the influence that has had on architecture they can see within their school environment; the impact that the Islamic civilisation has had on such things as the development of the numeric system we still use today; and the development of the constitutional monarchy. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their own cultural assumptions and values through the study of key events and individuals.