History at John Ball


This page was updated: September 2021
Next update due: September 2022
Subject Lead: Katie Thilthorpe

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” Paul Buck

“A high quality education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupil’s curiosity to know more about the past.” New National Curriculum 2014

The aim of history teaching at John Ball is to develop in our children an interest in the people and events of the past.  By the end of their time here we hope that our children can apply this knowledge and curiosity to the analysis of both what has happened in the past and to current events.

Local History

John Ball is blessed by a broad and fascinating local history; from myths about the Black Death in Blackheath, Royal tales from Greenwich and the wealth of historical stories around Lewisham.  We are committed to working with local historical associations and community groups to help our children understand the wealth of history around them.

History 1


The History Curriculum 

The History curriculum was updated in 2014 and our curriculum reflects this.  By the end of their time at John Ball pupils should be able to describe and explain past events based on evidence and their own imaginative reconstruction. 

How is it taught?


We are fortunate to have access to London’s wealth of museums and historical sites so that the children and learn about and handle original artefacts and take part in exciting workshops.

Some trips planned this year

  • Horniman Museum
  • London Museum
  • Local Area Studies – Blackheath and Greenwich
  • Roman ruins in Greenwich park

Cross curricula links

Historical topics are often covered by or merged with other topics.  In KS1 the children will learn about key figures in Victorian history through their writing as well as their history lessons.  The children will also explore history through art whether it be cave paintings in Year 3, hieroglyphics in year 4, Greek crafts in Year 5 and considering how war is represented through art and literature in year 6. 


We will often invite in actors and companies to do workshops and plays for the children – bringing their topic to life in a fun and exciting way. 


The Geography Curriculum 

“Without Geography, you’re nowhere!” – Unknown

“The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.” –President Barack Obama

At John Ball, we believe that through learning Geography, children should develop an awareness of a broad range of geographical topics to understand a world beyond maps and borders.  We progressively build on children’s geography learning by ensuring we introduce a variety of knowledge about places, peoples, cultures and history of the world in which we live and interlink this with geographical skills.The curriculum for geography at John Ball aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop knowledge of the location of globally significant places
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world
  • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length

Geography is taught as part of a cross-curricular themed approach. However, specific geographical topics are taught in each year group.

Click here to view our whole school curriculum for Humanities