Substantive Concepts at KS2 & KS3

Clio et cetera

A while ago I ran a small online project to bring together a list of substantive concepts that we think children ought to learn in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Ashby and Lee describe what a substantive concept is fairly well in this extract:

“Substantive history is the content of history, what history is ‘about’. Concepts like peasant, friar and president, particulars like the Battle of Hastings, the French Revolution, and the Civil Rights Movement, and individuals like Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie and Mahatma Ghandi are part of the substance of history.”1

The aim of this project was to collect from history teachers the sorts of substantive concepts – such as ‘peasant’, ‘friar’ and ‘president’ – that we want our pupils to encounter throughout their time in history education. I asked for these to be divided into words that should first be encountered in Key Stage 2…

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