“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Subject Leader: Mrs Lauren Jones
Abbeyfields Curriculum Driver – History
The primary objectives of teaching History at Abbeyfields are to:
- foster in children an interest and curiosity in the past
- enable children to know about significant events and people in British history, and to appreciate how things have changed over time.
- develop a sense of chronology.
- help children understand society and their place in it so that they develop a sense of their cultural heritage.
- develop in children the skills of enquiry, investigation, evaluation and interpretation
- develop an understanding in children that differences are not a barrier to achievement
History at Abbeyfields allows our children to develop a real sense of chronology and to understand how the past has influenced their lives today.
We teach our children to investigate people and events from the past and by doing so, develop their skills of enquiry and interpretation, alongside the key concepts of:
- Similarities and differences
- Continuity and change
- Significance and impact
Through studying a range of people from the past and present, who have had an impact on our world today, children are taught to challenge past stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background and are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.
How is the content of the History curriculum chosen?
Whenever possible, we teach through specific units of work, and links to other subjects are made where possible to enable our children to embed and revisit learning, make connections and develop a greater depth of understanding within the subject. The content is chosen in order to make effective links with key cross-curricular themes, reflect expectations in the National Curriculum programmes of study and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework, and engage and inspire children’s curiosity and interest in history.
The content may be adapted to meet the needs or interests of specific cohorts or link to specific events, which are taking place in the community or wider world at the time.
How do we ensure progression of knowledge and skills?
Teachers are clear on the learning and expectations for each year group, as this has been carefully selected and mapped out so that children are building on prior knowledge and skills each term and each year. Within planning documents there are opportunities for differentiation in order to meet the needs of all learners.
How do we teach History at Abbeyfields?
A long term plan for History maps out the coverage of the discrete teaching and learning opportunities for children to develop and embed specific skills and key knowledge in history. The knowledge content is carefully selected and skilfully taught alongside the key skills and historical concepts, which are threaded throughout the History curriculum. This allows children ample opportunities to revisit, reinforce and embed learning.
New vocabulary is taught, with the key emphasis on common words and phrases relating to passing of time. Although we actively introduce and are ambitious with the language we use, we understand the importance of not over complicating this language with very young children, but ensuring underlying principles and meanings of the words are taught and understood.
Within each History lesson, children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Questioning is used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts, skills or knowledge are introduced.
Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills and knowledge, across a series of lessons, as well as across the year.
When children are learning about a subject through discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that today they are going to be ‘historians.’ They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within this subject.
In History we:
- ask and answer questions.
- put dates and events in chronological order.
- understand and learn about important events and people from the past.
- identify things that are the same or things that are different between now and in the past.
- identify how the past has changed things today.
In accordance with the National Curriculum Key Stage 1 children will be taught about:
- Changes within living memory, which are used to reveal aspects of change in national life.
- Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally.
- The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.
- Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
At Key Stage 2 (Y3 and 4):
- Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age.
- The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain.
- Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots.
- A local history study.
- A study of an aspect or theme in British History that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.
- Ancient Greece-a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world.
In addition to discrete teaching in this subject, opportunities and links are made to history knowledge, skills and concepts throughout the year, ensuring that elements of the history are accessed by children continually as part of the curriculum on offer.
Local and national events are taught and referred to in an historical context, and used as ‘mini’ learning projects e.g.Black History Month. The lives and history of significant people nationally and globally are carefully chosen across subjects and year groups so that children are continually developing a sense of the past and the impact of people on our lives today. In Year 4, for example, children explore the life of a local significant figure, Emily Wilding Davison, and her impact upon the rights of women nationally. Significant historical news is discussed in class and whole school assemblies, BBC Newsround is used as a stimulus in Key Stage 2.
Chronological understanding has clear links to the mathematics curriculum, for example ordering and sequencing in Number, and time in Measurement. Opportunities and links to other subjects are also exploited. Within the Geography curriculum, for example, the Year 2 unit of work ‘Coasts’ directly connects to the study of the life of Grace Darling.
Texts relating to historical events and people are planned to ensure progression and ambition between year groups.
This enables children to practise their skills throughout the year and use the language they have learnt which is associated with the past.
Teaching History in the Early Years
In Early Years (EYFS), children look at their own lives and the lives of those closest to them. They describe special events and we aim for them to use past, present and future forms accurately when doing so. Books and stories are used as a way to introduce history topics and act as a stimulus for the children when comparing similarities and differences from the past.
Planning and teaching in EYFS is similar to that in Key Stage 1. The children are expected to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. This is often beyond the expectations that are set out in the end of year Early Learning Goals as we prepare our children with the knowledge and skills that they will need in history, ready for year 1. As well as topic work and the discrete teaching of skills and knowledge, children in EYFS are given the opportunity to continually practise and embed their skills and language, through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
How do we know that our children are making progress?
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills are made by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents. At the end of a block of discrete teaching (or term) subject leaders gather an overview of children’s outcomes in each subject area. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school.
Our curriculum drivers are central to our curriculum. How do we promote reading, vocabulary acquisition, holistic education and diversity?
Our history curriculum introduces children to a range of new descriptive, technical and conceptual vocabulary, which they become confident in using. It allows them to practise formulating and asking appropriate questions and encourages them to articulate informed responses using evidence from a range of historical sources. It allows our children to enhance and embed their reading skills. They read from sources of evidence and write about elements of the past from different perspectives.
Our history curriculum allows children to study a range of people from the past and present, who have had an impact throughout History, as well as a range of countries, cultures and traditions. They learn about and are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background. They are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement. History opens up our children’s eyes to the wider world. They discuss how historical events, times and figures have impacted and shaped our own history, and contributed to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation and the wider world.
What wider opportunities are provided for our children?
Children have the opportunity to participate in regular visits to places with historical links, as well as work with visitors in school to enhance their understanding of history. For example, external drama workshop providers, for example ‘Tanya the Greek housewife’, work with the children, so that they can begin to understand what it was like to live through a historical event or another period in history. Visits around the locality and participating in local events, allow children to reflect on and learn about the history of their locality.