There is no doubt that History plays an important part in our school curriculum and judging by the response we receive, is popular with all our pupils as they tell us how much they LOVE learning about different peoples and their way of life. We aim, through our approach to such an important subject, to inspire their curiosity and enable our pupils to be (crucially) actively involved in the topics they LEARN.
Our curriculum provides our pupils with a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We want them to develop a clear historical perspective so that they can DARE to think beyond their own experiences, piece together their growing knowledge and fit this into different contexts. In this way they learn to respect how people and events in the past have shaped the way that we LIVE now. We encourage them to THINK about what they are learning and CARE about the conclusions they make.
Our history curriculum is taught through topics which are chosen following the requirement of the National Curriculum but with a common thread of historical concepts running through them all. The key concepts taught across each topic are;
Our history curriculum is further enriched through regular opportunities for all of our pupils to visit museums and sites of historical significance and to take part in workshops led by specialised visitors to our school.
In Foundation, the children are taught through the “Understanding of the World” element of the Early Years Curriculum. They are asked to observe how changes occur over time and the impact those changes have. They also look at themselves and their families and talk about the chronological aspects of the changes they can see in themselves. They use evidence from photos and anecdotes to compare then and now.
At Key Stage 1, pupils learn how the past is different from the present; why and what this looks like. Our pupils handle artefacts and look at pictures so that they begin to build a visual memory bank of the past and use simple historical words and phrases. We value the importance of stories in our history teaching as this places important historical content into contexts and language that the pupils can identify with. Pupils listen and respond to stories and use sources of information to help them ask and answer questions. They are then taken on Educational Visits to consolidate these findings and bring them to life.
On a rolling Two Year Programme they visit either Western-Super-Mare (with the focus on The Pier and the differences between Victorian holidays and holidays that we have today) or Windsor Castle (this time the focus is on our Monarchy and the changes in all aspects of society since the 1950’s).The pupils also learn about the History of Transport and the significance of the events and figures surrounding The Gunpowder Plot.
At Key Stage 2, as our pupils continue to build their knowledge and understanding of the past, they also learn to become more critical thinkers. They learn that the past can be represented and interpreted in different ways and so they develop their ability to investigate and reflect on different versions of events. They begin to pose and investigate their own questions about the past and they share their ideas in many creative ways including writing, art, drama and ICT.
In Year3/4 the pupils follow another Two Year Rolling Programme where they study: The Stone Age ( visiting Hill End Outdoor Education Centre), The Ancient Greeks and Local History with the focus on life in Victorian Times (where the children benefit from a fantastic association with our Local History Group) one year and: The Romans, The Normans and Ancient Egypt (with a special History Day designed to embed the customs and beliefs of the Roman people by wearing their dress, eating their food and following their traditions) and visit a local castle, such as Warwick, for the Normans Unit.
In Year5/6 the pupils again have a Two Year Rolling Programme, covering The Ancient Civilisation of the Mayans and a local history study of Stratford. In the year following this, they study The Vikings (are invaded for the day by a marauding Viking, who helpfully delivers workshops and engages the children in role play), The Saxons and The birth of The United States of America as a country, focusing on the Slave Trade. This programme of study is supplemented in Year 6, when the children learn about the history of the Lynmouth Flood when they travel to Devon for their Residential Visit.
Our history education enables our pupils to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It inspires our pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. We aim that our teaching will equip our pupils to develop the wisdom to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps our pupils to respect and 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.
We would hope that the children leave our care with a life- long enthusiasm for the subject of History and continue to question, analyse and learn.