History at Overleigh St Mary’s C of E Primary School
Through our History curriculum, we strive to inspire pupils’ curiosity and knowledge about the past. Through the teaching of History, we endeavour to teach children to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
At Overleigh, we are guided by the National Curriculum for History (2014). The National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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’
- understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
We intend for our children to have real life experiences and learn about History in an active and creative way and therefore visitors, trips and cross-curricular links form a fundamental part of our curriculum.
Children explore key concepts as they move through the school. Our curriculum is laid out in such a way that the children will initially learn about their immediate history, that being their family and location. This will be a starting block in EYFS and built upon as they enter Key Stage 1. Once this is consolidated, they will gain a wider experience of global history. As a child moves through our school, their historical knowledge and understanding will deepen as it would have been built on the foundations laid in the previous years. The concepts that children explore are revisited in different units allowing children to apply new knowledge to the concept in order to prepare them for future learning and life. For example, children use the local area to look at how buildings have changed in Key Stage 1, study of the impact of the Romans on Chester in Lower Key Stage 2, through to looking at an in depth study of the locality through time in Upper Key Stage 2.
We teach history as a discrete subject. Where it benefits learning, we use opportunities to apply in English, and each week we apply our English skills through writing linked to the humanities. Our key vocabulary for each unit is identified in medium term planning, and children will learn 6-8 subject and topic specific pieces of vocabulary per unit. The children will also develop knowledge of key facts in each unit, beginning with five key pieces of information in Year 1, building up to 30 pieces of key information in Year 6.
In Key Stage 2, we have three core strands of learning for each unit.
- Technology and inventions
We implement our curriculum using planning that prioritises five key elements of knowledge and understanding:
- Historical Chronology – an understanding of the time and order of historical events and civilisations
- Historical Concepts –for example, how things change over time
- Historical Interpretation – an understanding of how the past can be viewed in different ways
- Historical Enquiry – asking questions and knowing how to find out more about a particular subject
- Historical Communication – using the key vocabulary for the unit and subject
Our History Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to ensure progression. Our teachers measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A knowledge check at the beginning of each unit to see what the children already know
- Link each of our core strands to previous learning, to compare and contrast and to review understanding
- Start lessons with a recap of key knowledge and understanding from the previous session
- Provide opportunities each lesson to use the key vocabulary
- Focus a minimum of one lesson in each unit on historical enquiry and questioning
- Provide opportunities for open-ended tasks, to allow the more able to demonstrate their greater knowledge
- Assess children at the end of the unit against key knowledge and learning
The leadership team check that this impact is being secured through monitoring the subject on a regular and frequent basis. The method of monitoring supports the ongoing development of the curriculum. This includes:
- Staff subject knowledge, which is audited each year to ensure knowledge is secure, and additional support provided if necessary
- Termly staff meetings to discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of topics with the subject leaders. From this, medium term planning is amended and adapted to ensure the curriculum remains relevant for the children
- A ‘pupil voice’, which is conducted at the beginning and end of each year to allow pupils to contribute to their curriculum content
- Bi-termly monitoring of work against the medium-term plans, so that inconsistencies can be addressed
- Tracking of content against the long-term plan of the school, to ensure the full breadth of the curriculum is met.
The impact of this is to ensure that children at Overleigh are equipped with historical skills and knowledge, which will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.