History is all around us. At St Mary’s the study of history ignites children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Through finding out about how and why the world, our country, culture and local community have developed over time, children understand how the past influences the present. Local history and heritage are an integral part of our children’s learning as it allows them to look at what was happening in their local area and then move from the ‘local’ to the ‘national’ and often onto global events. History enables children to develop a context for their growing sense of identity and a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. What they learn through history can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values.
In line with the National Curriculum, the curriculum at St Mary’s aims to ensure that all pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, which helps to stimulate pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Topics are carefully planned, informed by the National Curriculum and linked to previous learning. Our curriculum facilitates learning which enables the pupils to become grounded in their local history, deepen their understanding and knowledge of a certain time period they study before launching into a much broader and global perspective.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in Foundation Stage to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.
To ensure that pupils develop a secure knowledge that they can build on, our history curriculum is organised into a progression model that outlines the skills, knowledge and vocabulary to be taught in a sequentially coherent way. Chronological understanding, historical understanding, historical enquiry, interpretations of history, organisation and communication and local history knowledge are all mapped out in medium term planning to ensure that pupils build on secure prior knowledge. Teachers model explicitly the subject-specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills relevant to the learning to allow them to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts. Meaningful cross curricular links are made with other subjects to strengthen connections and understanding for pupils while exploring historical contexts. Children are given opportunities, where possible, to study artefacts leading to enquiry, investigation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation and presentation. At St Mary’s teachers plan for effective use of educational visits and visitors, to enrich and enhance the pupil’s learning experience and the history curriculum, to create memorable learning opportunities and to further support and develop their understanding.
Outcomes in topic and literacy books evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking and questioning and children demonstrate a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. They ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
History assessment is ongoing throughout the relevant cross-curricular themes to inform teachers with their planning lesson activities and differentiation. The class teacher keeps track of the progression of each individual child in their class through the use of the History Progression maps - marking initials next to which pupils are working towards, expected or greater depth. The subject leader monitors progression maps and carries out book looks in order to control the quality of teaching and learning across the school.
Children’s enjoyment of history lessons is achieved by creating a syllabus that engages, motivates, questions, provokes debate, and ultimately inspires our young historians to have a thirst for more historical knowledge.