William Reynolds Primary School, we recognise the importance of stimulating the pupil’s interest and developing their understanding about the past, both in Britain and the wider world. Pupils will develop their enquiry skills, using evidence available to them, which they will use to draw conclusions about what life was like in the past, helping them to understand the world today.
Our three principle aims – following the National Curriculum in England - for History are for pupils to:
- know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
- gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
We are committed to encouraging children to enjoy asking and answering questions about the past, as well as making full use of resources to support their learning.
The core of our history curriculum is the National Curriculum for England.
The Ofsted research review for History (July 2021), explained the importance of having ambitious goals for history in terms of broad substantive concepts that pupils should learn and the disciplinary knowledge about how historical accounts are created. The pupils are able to engage meaningfully with the past through their topic knowledge and develop a secure overview of the main developments and periods in order to make sense of their knowledge.
The curriculum has been specifically sequenced in a logical progression to ensure that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before: Early Years to Year 6. This enables our pupils to know more and remember more. End points are clearly identified for each year group; time allocation has been carefully considered to provide children with opportunities to master key concepts.
The sequence develops pupils’ historical knowledge overtime through a range of key concepts. The key concepts allow pupils to build upon prior learning of the past and apply this knowledge to their current area of learning. Often this is through their understanding of historical enquiry and their ability to ask and answer questions about the past.
History is taught daily of a morning, in two half-termly areas of study as well as through many cross-curricular links. Pupils benefit from this way of working as it allows for a more in-depth study where they can explain more about what they are learning and why.
Every year group has a yearly Curriculum Map that outlines the key areas of history which will be taught throughout the year. This ensures that adequate amount of time and coverage is allocated to each key area.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in history, detailed Medium Term planning supports teachers to plan a sequence of progressive weekly lessons and over time, giving the children time to master new concepts. Within this document the following is evident:
- Key stage concepts - KS1 - Events & changes and significant people. KS2 - settlements & social history, crime & punishment, invasion & empire and Communication & invention – this supports the pupils to build on their substantive knowledge.
- Specific year group objectives and vocabulary are presented to ensure planning for correct coverage.
- Historical strands – historical interpretation & knowledge; chronological understanding; historical enquiry and managing historical artefacts & sources to ensure that all areas of the National curriculum are covered.
Teachers short term planning is developed using the medium-term plan to ensure all objectives are taught. This planning includes assessment for learning opportunities, the learning objective for each lesson, linked success criteria and differentiated tasks to meet the objective.
Within the EYFS curriculum history is developed through ‘Understanding the World’. Within the Foundation Stage, pupils learn about similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences as well as understanding the past through characters, settings and events encountered through books read in class & storytelling. Also, they talk about the lives of people around them and their role in society.
In Key Stage One, pupils are taught about changes within living memory; events beyond living memory and the lives of significant individuals and historical events from the past.
In Keys Stage Two, British history is taught in chronological order this supports pupils with their chronological understanding. Additional to British history, we teach the Achievements of the earliest civilizations – an in-depth study of Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Mayans as a non-European society study. A local study is carried out in Ironbridge and surrounding areas looking at the Industrial Revolution.
We provide a variety of opportunities for history learning inside and outside the classroom. Educational visits are another opportunity for the teachers to plan for additional history learning outside the classroom. Our pupils explore local museums, historical sites, and have visitors into school to share history learning and have hands on experiences. Speaking and listening opportunities are planned for, including debate, to develop their use of historical vocabulary.
Within the lesson, teachers check pupils understanding effectively, addressing any misconceptions swiftly and conversations surrounding their viewpoints take place. The curriculum is designed and delivered in a way that allows pupils to know more, find out information and remember more.
As school, we subscribe to the Shropshire Library Service which provides us with a range of quality texts linked to the historical area of learning. Pupils read for meaning throughout lessons when carrying out research to retrieve information from historical sources. Artefacts are also acquired from this service to provide a kinaesthetic learning experience.
Our pupils develop a sense of belonging in the world through the study of history.
The impact of our curriculum is that:
- Pupils have secure chronological knowledge
- Pupils confidently ask and answer questions about the past
- Pupils apply previously taught learning of key concepts to current learning
- Pupil voice demonstrates that they enjoy history and recall their learning over time.
- Pupils can explain which sources are most useful and identify relevant information to support their research
- Pupils are prepared for their next stage of education
- Planning and subject knowledge is supported by CPD for teachers.
Pupils are prepared for a successful life in modern Britain and understand the role, contribution, and importance of different groups of people. Our curriculum supports pupils to contextualise their own experience and identify within the history of their local community, Britain and the world.