Long Term Planning

Please note: this guide was written before the 2014 National Curriculum and some of the advice may no longer be relevant.
For more up-to-date guidance see:


Long-term history plans represent a map of when children in each class will be studying history during the course of a year. They enable an overview of what history will add up to for children over a year - and also over a key stage.

Ensure that all children have a recurring experience of history throughout primary school. Ideally, they should have some history teaching every term, for continuity. Even if you have restricted time for history, literacy lessons offer multiple opportunities for learning history as well as English (many of the lessons on this site were taught during the literacy hour, or have a strong literacy component).

For each key stage, ensure you have planned for covering the full requirements of the Department for Education.

Breadth and balance

In each key stage, plan for learning about people and events from a variety of perspectives: from the family and local to the British (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland) and wider world.

For example, Victorian Britain is the natural choice for including Ireland. (See for instance Irish potato famine). Roman Britain included Wales, and their destruction of the druids' power on Anglesey provides a specifically Welsh focus. Scotland is very much part of Tudor history through Mary, Queen of Scots. Tudor times, Victorian Britain and Britain since 1930 all include important aspects of the wider world. On this website see
Empire through coins
Spanish Armada
Ghetto diary

A range of perspectives

Another aspect of breadth and balance: across each key stage, plan for learning across a range of perspectives: Political, Economic, Religious, Social, Scientific/Technological, Cultural/Artistic. They do not all have to be included in each unit, but it is worth mapping their occurrence over a key stage. Many lessons on this site incorporate one or more of these perspectives. For example:

Political: Ancient Greek government; Gunpowder Plot; Boudicca; Spanish Armada; How the Tudors came to power.

Economic: Roman market; Viking trade networks

Religious: Gunpowder Plot; Sumerian mystery.

Social: Tudors portraits: Who am I?; Down the mine; Children in factories; Fulwell windmill; Evacuees; Houses artefacts from the past; Castles homes in the past; Roman baths; Children in Victorian Britain: Henry at boarding school.

Scientific/Technological: Ancient Greek ideas: science; Archimedes and the Kings crown; Building the pyramids; Brunel and Clifton Suspension Bridge; Old and new telephones exemplar.

Cultural/Artistic: Egils Saga; Tudor Tempest; Greek myths.


Build in progression by increasing the complexity of thought, depth of knowledge and application of historical skills expected. For more about this see Progression 


Include at least one visit (to a museum or historic site) every year for each year group. Visits are important because they enable children to touch, feel, smell, listen and experience things in three dimensions. Through visits children can glimpse the scale and texture of real lives in the past.

See the teaching method Sites and the environment, the exemplar A visit to Petworth House, and the KS1 lesson Roman baths.


Identify where history units might be integrated with other history units, units from other subjects or larger topics/themes.

See Organising history within the curriculum

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