Mr T Does History Logo

Skills & Concepts

History is not just facts! It has its own distinct set of skills and concepts that must be taught to give children a ‘coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world’.

My approach to teaching history is based upon a careful and considered balance of skills and content. The content is covered and linked together to form a clearer understanding of the past using carefully crafted enquiry questions. The knowledge is linked using the knowledge threads listed in my planning and specified in aim 6 of the NC2014. Along this increasing knowledge base, the children gain a greater understanding of history as a subject discipline. The skills are taught and applied using direct instruction, scaffolds, worked examples and guided practice.

Every lesson is underpinned by chronology. Both the overall narrative of history and internal narrative of a lifetime, event or full period are vital to piece together the complex and intertwining history that we teach.

Key Concepts

Currently, the two terms used are substantive and disciplinary concepts. OFSTED have actively stated we do not need to use these terms but understanding the differences between them is important:

Substantive knowledge – the historical facts we teach that form the narratives of the curriculum. Aim number 6 is useful to set out the breadth of the curriculum and 3 guides on specific abstract concepts we should include.

Disciplinary knowledge – this is how we make use of the facts that are learned. Simply, these are the concepts that term a list of facts into historicised knowledge. These can be found in aim 4 and 5 that specify the use of historical enquiry and historical concepts.

Suggested Skill Progression Documents

The two progression documents listed below are good start points and work within the NC specification. They should be implemented in conjunction with the substantive knowledge taught and tailored to be as bespoke as possible. 

Rising Stars Progression Framework – sign up to the website for free to access. 

Jamie Byrom’s HA document – free access here.