Borrowdale CE Primary School
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History and Geography

We call it our book-based curriculum. Our planned History and Geography curriculum consists of 21 units that are designed in such a way that they are naturally linked to the texts used in the English curriculum. The knowledge, skills and understanding of both English and the History / Geography topic are therefore important to the activities. One of the main aims is to improve pupils’ writing throughout the curriculum as well as guaranteeing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of historical and geographical concepts.


Just like in the ‘real’ world, the boundaries between the subjects are less pronounced because the learning in different subjects is connected through the context of the text. It makes learning more meaningful, memorable and functional. What better way to learn about the Stone Age than experiencing what life was like through the eyes of the main characters in a quality text?


Most units cover half a term’s learning and focuses on a key concept through a lead question followed by further investigative questions to delve deeper into the concepts. Below are the units we currently teach in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2:

Curriculum Overviews: updated 2024

Some of our memorable moments:

History Curriculum Overview:


1.A.2 What has changed since your grandparents were young?

Key knowledge

  • Know about the games and toys their grandparents played with
  • Know about what life was like at the time when their grandparents were young
  • Know what schools were like when their grandparents attended primary school
  • Know what their grandparents watched on tv
  • Know what their grandparents did after school
  • Know how to make a moving toy

National Curriculum requirement: Pupils should be taught about changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life.


1.B.2 What do we know about the Victorians and the way they lived?  

Key knowledge:

  • Know about an event or events that happened long ago, even before their grandparents were born
  • Know what we use today instead of a number of older given artefacts
  • Know how the lives of Victorian children were different to their lives
  • Know who Queen Victoria was
  • Know that many Victorian children had to work in poor conditions from a very young age
  • Know that Victorian schools were different to schools today
  • Know what children did when they played
  • Know that the lives of rich Victorians were very different to lives of poor Victorians

National Curriculum requirement: Pupils should be taught about events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.


2.A.1 From the first Stone Age people to the end of the Roman occupation: How did Britain change? (part 1)

Key knowledge:

  • Know how Britain changed between the beginning of the Stone Age and the Iron Age
  • Know the main differences between the three periods: the stone, bronze and iron ages
  • Know what is meant by ‘hunter-gatherers’
  • Know that the earliest people who lived in Britain were part of the Stone Age
  • Know that stone age people built shelters to keep them safe and warm
  • Know most Stone Age people hunted for their food
  • Know that men, women and children had very different lives during the Stone Age
  • Know how we have found out about the past
  • Know that Stone Age people communicated in a different way to the way we do


2.A.2 From the first stone age people to the end of the Roman occupation: How did Britain change? (part 2)

Key knowledge:

  • Know how Britain changed from the end of the Iron Age to the end of the Roman occupation
  • Know how the Roman occupation of Britain helped to advance British society
  • Know how there was resistance to the Roman occupation and know about Boudica
  • Know about at least one famous Roman emperor
  • Know that the Romans came to Britain 2000 years ago
  • Know that the Romans conquered Britain but left Britain with many important features, such as roads
  • Know that the Roman army was very powerful and had many weapons
  • Know that Roman gladiators would fight for entertainment


2.A.4 & 2.A.5 Why were the Ancient Greeks ruled by their Gods?

Key knowledge:

  • Know some of the main characteristics of the Athenians and Spartans
  • Know about the influence the gods had on Ancient Greece
  • Know at least five sports from the Ancient Greek Olympics
  • Know that Ancient Greeks believed in a number of Gods
  • Know where Greece is and point to it on a map
  • Know that the Ancient Greeks were an advanced civilisation
  • Know that the Ancient Greeks were responsible for starting the Olympic movement
  • Know that Ancient Greeks have been associated with the birth of democracy
  • Know how the Ancient Greeks impacted on our lives today


2.B.1 How can we recreate the wonder of Ancient Egypt?

Key knowledge:

  • Know about, and name, some of the advanced societies that were in the world around 3000 years ago
  • Know that the Ancient Egyptians were a very advanced civilisation
  • Know where Egypt is
  • Know that the Ancient Egyptians were ruled by pharaohs
  • Know that the Ancient Egyptians built very sophisticated tombs for their pharaohs called pyramids
  • Know that we know a great deal about the lives of Ancient Egyptians because of what has been found in the pyramids
  • Know that the Ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs and experts have been able to translate them
  • Know that the powerful Ancient Egyptians had many slaves


3.A.3 Who were the Anglo-Saxons?

Key knowledge:

  • Know how Britain changed between the end of the Roman occupation and 1066
  • Know about how the Anglo-Saxons attempted to bring about law and order into the country
  • Know that during the Anglo-Saxon period Britain was divided into many kingdoms
  • Know that the way the kingdoms were divided led to the creation of some of our county boundaries today
  • Use a timeline to show when the Anglo-Saxons were in England
  • Know about Anglo-Saxon settlements and the way they lived, including hierarchical features
  • Know about the link between Anglo-Saxons and Christianity
  • Know about Alfred the Great
  • Know about Anglo-Saxons’ art and symbols
  • Know about the Scots invasion from Ireland to the North of England


3.A.4 Were the Vikings always victorious and vicious?

Key knowledge: 

  • Know where the Vikings originated from and show this on a map
  • Know that the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons were often in conflict
  • Know why the Vikings frequently won battles with the Anglo-Saxons
  • Know why the Vikings came to Britain
  • Know where the Vikings first landed in Britain
  • Know that the Vikings were formidable worriors
  • Know what life was like for Viking children
  • Know why the Viking longships were ideal for invading other lands
  • Know about Viking food and weapons and about the misconceptions there are about the Vikings



3.A.6  What was the impact of the war on Britain?

Key knowledge: 

  • Know the dates that WW2 started and ended
  • Know about the main events that led to WW2 beginning
  • Know about the significant leaders such as Hitler and Churchill
  • Know the names of the countries that supported Britain
  • Know the impact that the war had on ordinary people

National curriculum requirement:

History Key Stage 2:

  • Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
  • A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066


3.B.4 Why was the Islamic civilisation known as the Golden Age? (non European society that provides contrast with British history)

Key knowledge: 

  • Know about the impact that the Islamic civilisation had on the world
  • Know why they were considered an advanced society in relation to that period of time in Europe
  • Know where the Middle East is and particularly, Baghdad
  • Know that the house of wisdom was similar to a modern university or library
  • Know that the Islamic civilisation around 900AD was known as the Golden age because of the positive things they brought the world
  • Know that Islamic civilisation was the first to introduce hospitals to the world and was advanced where medicine and education was concerned
  • Know about the prophet Muhammad and know key facts about his life
  • Know how and why the Golden Age came to an end.


3.B.5 Why should Britain be ashamed of slavery?

Key knowledge:

  • Know how Britain was involved in the slavery trade
  • Know about the way slaves were moved from Africa to America
  • Know that it took many years of petitioning before the slave trade ended
  • Know about the work of William Wilberforce and others to bring an end to the slave trade
  • Have an understanding of slave auctions
  • Know about the way slaves were treated
  • Know about the suffering that went on during the transportation

KS2 History:

A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066

Geography Curriculum Overview:


1.A.4 Why can’t penguins live near the equator? (location of hot and cold areas)

Key knowledge: 

  • Know where the equator is and point to it on a globe
  • Know where the North and South Poles are and point to them on a globe
  • Recognise some of the more familiar weather symbols
  • Know which animals live close to the equator, North Pole and South Pole
  • Know how animals living in the North and South Poles keep warm
  • Know which clothes they would wear on hot or cold days
  • Know why people tend to like hot places for their holidays
  • Name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans

Key skills:

  • Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the UK as well as other countries, the continents and oceans
  • Use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language (left/right, near/far) to describe the location of features or routes on a map


1.A.6 Where did and do the wheels on the bus go? (the UK and its countries)

Key knowledge:  

  • Know their address, including their postcode
  • Know how to read a simple map
  • Know the names of at least six cities in the UK
  • Know what happens at an airport
  • Know what happens at a train station
  • Know the names of some famous buildings (in London)
  • Know that London is the capital of the UK
  • Know the differnces between a village, town and city
  • Know what old trains, cars, buses and planes looked like (History)


1.B.4 Where would you prefer to live: England or Kenya? (contrasting localities)

Key knowledge:

  • Know the names and locate the seven continents and five oceans of the world
  • Know the main differences between a place in England and that of a place in a non-European country
  • Know that their live is different to so many other children in the world
  • Know that the climate in England is very different to so many other places in the world.
  • Know that the animals living in the wild would be different in countries outside the UK
  • Know that the type of fruits and vegetables grown depends on the country’s climate


1.B.6 Why do we love to be beside the seaside? (human and physical features)

Key knowledge:

  • How to identify the following physical features: mountain, lake, island, valley, rive, cliff, forest and beach
  • Explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city or village
  • Know what they could find in a rock pool
  • Begin to recognise the type of work that a seaside resort brings
  • Know what a lighthouse is for
  • Know why some seaside resorts have lifeboats.


2.A.3 Why is planet Earth in danger? (climate change)

Key knowledge: 

  • Know what global warming is
  • Know what they can do to protect the planet
  • Know why it is important to recycle
  • Know about the potential damage caused by plastic waste
  • Know why the rainforests are in danger
  • Know something about endangered species
  • Appreciate how important electricity is


2.B.5 Why do so many people go to the Mediterranean for their holidays?

Key knowledge: 

  • Know at least five differences between living in the UK and a Mediterranean country
  • Use maps to locate European countries and capitals
  • Locate the Mediterranean and explain why it is a popular holiday destination
  • Explain how the lives of people living in the Mediterranean would be different from their own
  • Name some well-known European countries
  • Name and locate the capital cities of neighbouring European countries
  • Be aware of different weather in different parts of the world, especially Europe
  • Identify key features of a locality by using a map


2.A.6 Where would you choose to build a city? (settlements) 

Key knowledge: 

  • Know that most of the major cities of the world are located close to a river
  • Know the names of many of Europe’s capital and major cities
  • Know the difference between living in a city, town or village
  • Know why it was important for major cities to be situated by or on a river
  • Know about the unique transport systems in some of the major cities in the world
  • Know why many cities have high rise flats or skyscraper buildings
  • Know what attracts visitors to a major city


2.B.4 What makes the Earth angry? (physical geography, disasters)

Key knowledge: 

  • Know what causes a volcano to erupt
  • Be able to label a volcano
  • Know what a Tsunami is and what causes one
  • Know about the impact a volcano has on the lives of people living close by
  • Know where some of the most well-known volcanic regions of the world are
  • Know how an earthquake occurs
  • Know what an aftershock is
  • Know what causes a tsunami
  • Know why we have extreme weather in the UK


2.B.6 Why would you choose to live in London? (comparative study)

Key knowledge: 

  • Know why we have capital cities
  • Know the difference between a major city and a town or village
  • Know the geographical vocabulary associated with cities, including capital, urban, etc
  • Know the names and purpose of many of London’s famous buildings
  • Know what we mean by monarchy
  • Know how to use water colours when capturing images
  • Know the names of other European capitals
  • Know why most significant cities are situated next to a river


3.A.1 Why should the rainforests matter to all of us? (physical geography)

Key knowledge: 

  • Know what is meant by biomes and what are the features of a specific biome
  • Know the terms: emergent layer, canopy, understory and forest floor and be able to label them on a diagram
  • Know where many of the world’s rainforests are situated
  • Know about the endangered animals in the rainforests
  • Know about deforestation and the arguments for and against deforestation
  • Know where the Amazon is located
  • Know about the people that live in the Amazon rainforest and about some of the unique plants there


3.A.2 Why has Brazil got one of the world’s fastest growing economies?

Key knowledge: 

  • Know key differences between living in the UK and a country in South America
  • Know how to use graphs to record features such as temperature or rainfall across the world
  • Know the names of many South American countries
  • Know why Brazil has a potentially thriving economy
  • Know the features of Brazil, including its capital, population and dominant language
  • Know about issues such as the street children in Brazil
  • Know about the climate of Brazin and how it compares to the UK
  • Know what natural resources Brazil has, including fruit
  • Know basic information about at least four other South American countries