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St Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Primary School

Where charity and love are, God is there


History has a prominent place in the curriculum at St Nicholas of Tolentine. We have created an ambitious programme that is diverse and meets the needs of the learners in our school. We feel strongly that children need to see themselves represented in the curriculum in order to value themselves and see themselves in a broader historical context.  As such, we have developed our own schemes of learning with our children and our city at the heart of it.


In line with Catholic Social teaching and the Equalities Agenda, we ensure our curriculum teaches our children that we must learn from the past in the context of our community.



At St Nicholas of Tolentine, we see the understanding of historical time as a learning process within each child. Research shows that, rather than an episodic model of teaching periods of history in chronological order, children develop their own understanding of chronology from within. In order to support this important stage of children’s development and understanding, we begin by teaching our youngest children to learn about their own personal histories and allowing this understanding to grow as the children grow. In EYFS, children begin by sharing their knowledge of significant individuals in their own lives through their work on their Understanding the World topics. In Year 1, the same theme grows whilst children study the topic of Toys, giving them the opportunity to make links between their own experiences and those of their parents and grandparents. It is vital that children are able to discuss and sequence these important ideas before moving on to understand other topics in History.


Throughout Key Stages 1 and 2, strong links are made between each event and period of time studied through the use of timelines. A strong emphasis is placed on vocabulary in all of our history teaching, with children given opportunities to articulate their opinions and questions using age-appropriate vocabulary that progresses each year. Our yearly focus on local history in Term 3 further supports children’s understanding of recent history as many significant Bristolians studied have strong links with our school and community. This helps children to see themselves represented and make comparisons between recent and ancient history.




The following historical concepts are woven throughout our curriculum: monarchy, settlement, democracy, trade, justice and freedom. See our curriculum map below for when these are covered.


Curriculum 2021-22

History is taught for 2 out of the 6 yearly terms, with each year group studying history at the same time. There are strong links with English, with each class studying a book related to the topic with opportunities for extended writing in a variety of text types.

We ensure that children are provided with the necessary skills to become critical learners. This involves enquiry-led learning where children dive deeply into investigations, exploring a variety of sources and formulating their own opinions.

Term 1 – We are Historians

Term 1


Year 1 / Reception

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Topic question

The history of toys and our personal histories.

What did the Victorians invent?

Event: The great Exhibition 

Why did the Vikings invade Britain?

Why were the Greeks important?

Who does the treasure of Benin belong to?

What was it like being a child during WW2?



Monarchy, Democracy, Trade

Settlement, Democracy, Trade


Monarchy, Trade

Monarchy, Democracy

Whole School text

Flotsam by David Wiesner​

Class Texts

Dogger by Shirley Hughes​


Toys In Space​ by Mini Grey

Ada Twist: Scientist by Andrea Beaty​


Wallace and Gromit Inventions (video)​

Arthur and The Golden Rope​

The Vikings: Raiders, Traders and adventurers! ​


Who let the gods out?

Falling out of the sky: Poems about ancient myths​

The Genius of the Benin Kingdom by Sonya Newland ​

​War Boy By Michael Foreman​

The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II​

Term 3 – We are Historians of Our City

Each class will study a significant individual, exploring and debating their contribution to the city of Bristol. We launched this exciting celebration of local history with our topics in Term 6 2021 after working with UWE and local historians. We want children to discover the lives of ordinary people who have made a difference to the local area, contributed to the city and made Bristol what it is. Children understanding their place in the history of the locality is an essential starting point in developing their awareness of how this relates to their personal and family history.

Term 3


Year 1 / Reception

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Topic question

How did Ada Vachell help people in Bristol?

What contribution did the Fry Family make to Bristol?

What contribution did Carmen Beckford make to Bristol?

What contribution did George Muller make to Bristol?

What contribution did Steve Stacey make to football?

(20/21) Should Colston be remembered?

(21/22) Was the Bristol bus boycott worthwhile?


Justice, Freedom

Trade, Justice

Settlement, Democracy, Justice, Freedom

Settlement, Justice

Settlement, Justice, Freedom

Democracy, Justice, Freedom

Whole School text

Belonging/Window by Jeannie Baker​

Class Texts

What happened to you? by James Catchpole​

Mermaid by Cerrie Burnell​

Grendel: A Cautionary Tale About Chocolate​

Michael Rosen: Chocolate Cake​

Coming to England: An Inspiring True Story Celebrating the Windrush Generation​ by Floella Benjamin 


Caribbean Dozen: Poems from Thirteen Caribbean Poets by John Agard​

The Unadoptables by Hanna Tooke.

​Fantastic football poems by John Foster​

Kicking A ball by Alan Ahlberg​

Jaz Santos vs. The world ​

What is politics and why should I care about it?​​ by Michael Rosen

The Lifters by Dave Eggers​​

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah​

History Photo Gallery