We want our children to have a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Our lessons should inspire children’s curiosity so that they want to know more about the past and how this influences the present. Our history lessons give children space to ask open-ended questions, think critically, weigh up evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. By the time children leave our school they should have remembered the significant people, places and events. They should understanding the complexity of change, the diversity of societies and the relationships between different groups. Most importantly they should understand the role they have to play in society and the challenges they have to face in their time.
In ensuring high standards of teaching and learning in History, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. History is taught as part of a termly or half termly topic. Planning for History is a process in which all teachers are involved, to ensure that the school gives full coverage of the objects set out in The National Curriculum and the Early Learning Goals for ‘Understanding the World’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
History teaching at our school involves adapting and extending the curriculum to match all pupils’ needs. Where possible, History is linked to class topics. Due to mixed age classes within our school, History units are taught on a 3 or 4 year rolling programme. This ensures skill progression between year groups and ensures content coverage, working on the notion of end points in learning. Teachers use the school’s History Progression document to ensure progression is planned in for each year group within the mixed aged classes.
History teaching focuses on enabling children to use evidence to draw conclusions about the past. Educational visits and visitors are another opportunity for the teachers to plan for additional history learning.
Children’s history learning starts with the history that is closest to them and builds backwards, from our own family history, local history to Victorians and ancient civilisations. An understanding of their family roots and where they fit in the world is a starting point we love to explore with children before examining history further back in time.
Exploring changes within living memory also starts with the familiar, looking at changes in British history over a certain period of time before exploring the same period in a different part of the world. More in-depth studies allow children to develop their understanding of the parts of history beyond the living memory from The Gunpowder Plot in KS1 to Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans in KS2.
Progression within the curriculum is clear: it starts with what is familiar to children and extends outwards. Progression in using sources of evidence is incorporated into the units, with local visits in KS1 including our village and Skipton Castle to KS2 conducting their own archaeological digs and seeing artefacts first-hand from the Romans, Ancient Greeks and Egyptians.
Key historical vocabulary is mapped and used within the planning; allowing children to build a rich bank of language. Links are built with other subjects, predominantly, but not exclusively with reading, writing, art, music and geography.
Within history, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on ‘exploring’ and ‘discovering’ to help children gain a coherent knowledge of understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. We aspire to promote children’s independence and for all children to take responsibility in their own learning, therefore our lessons are designed to promote self and peer assessment opportunities.
We also measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Assessing children’s knowledge and understanding of parts of history before and after the unit is taught through prior learning and end of unit tasks.
- Summative assessment of pupil discussions about their learning.
- Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.
- Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
- Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers.
- Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.
- Marking of written work in books.