Our aim is to provide a high quality, engaging History curriculum, to inspire a fascination and curiosity about our local, national and world history. History at St Chad’s Primary School ensures that our children will leave school with a secure understanding of the chronology of British history and that of the wider world. Our curriculum has been carefully planned and structured so there is a clear progression of knowledge, skills, understanding and vocabulary. Our curriculum allows our children to become curious learners, developing a deep understanding of the historical concepts taught, meaning they will be able to use and apply their prior knowledge and make links to new learning. Through our topics, we strive to provide interesting and exciting historical experiences which promote historical thinking; developing an appreciation of the past and ensuring children become analytic thinkers by evaluating a range of primary and secondary sources. A question focused approach encourages our children to ask questions, weigh up evidence, scrutinise arguments and develop their own judgement of historical periods. Our fully inclusive, bespoke curriculum exposes all children to this teaching, therefore cementing our ethos of ‘no child left behind.’
History at St Chad’s begins in the EYFS. In the early years, children start to understand key concepts such as chronology and similarity and difference. They do this by exploring the ‘past’ and ‘now’ in the context of their own and their family’s history. They also understand the past through the settings, characters, and events they encounter in the books which they read in class.
The key knowledge, concepts and skills learnt in EYFS are built upon in Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 1, our children continue to develop an awareness of the past by using historical vocabulary and they learn about some of the ways we can find out about the past. They study significant events and people from the past and identify the similarities and differences between different eras. Chronology is key when our children learn a new topic therefore when children are introduced to a new time period, they understand where this fits into the timeline. We ensure that in Key Stage 2, our children continue to develop their understanding of chronology by studying a wider range of British history, local history and world history. Historical enquiry skills are developed further as they ask and answer meaningful questions, think critically and make connections between topics.
At St Chad’s we deliver a high-quality topic-based approach to ensure history is taught as either a half-termly or termly topic, focusing on the statutory requirements stated in the National Curriculum.
Carefully planned topics ensure there is a progression of historical skills and knowledge across the school, with teachers planning engaging lessons that follow our progression of knowledge and skills document. Each history lesson starts with a retrieval practice activity to ensure children’s learning is continuously revisited and is stored in their long-term memory and to ensure teachers can address misconceptions early on. It also enables our children to make connections between the historical topics that they have learnt previously. Knowledge acquisition is also assessed at the end of the whole topic when children complete a Topic Knowledge Wall quiz. In each history lesson, we also use ambitious and subject-specific language. Key words are introduced or recapped at the start of each lesson. To ensure children are confident with the historical skills that they are learning, a skills mat is also referred to at the start of each lesson.
The centre of our history curriculum is the use of deep thinking questions as lesson drivers. These deep thinking questions allow the children to weigh evidence, scrutinise arguments, make connections and develop their own judgement.
In addition to our history curriculum, our children have wider opportunities to experience history. Children are able to experience ‘WOW Days’ which hook them into a topic and educational visits and visitors play a key role in helping children to understand history in the context of real life. To encourage learning at home, our half termly learning logs are also sent home, these are topic based and enable all children to access activities which draw on their creative skills and passion for learning more about a subject.
By the end of their primary education at St Chad’s, our children are curious to find out more about the past and have a joy for history that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Our children are able to articulate and demonstrate that they have developed the historical knowledge, language and skills to help them understand the history of the Britain and the wider world. Our children demonstrate a good understanding of human attitudes and experiences, the ability to undertake a historical enquiry, and are able to make links between historical events and the world in which they now live. They can talk confidently about the historical topics that they have been exposed to. Children’s knowledge and skills develop progressively as they move through the school, not only to enable them to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum but to build on a deeper understanding to prepare them to become competent historians.