History at All Souls' CE
History Curriculum Rationale
At All Souls’ we are historians! We want our children to love history. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be archivists, museum curators, archaeologists or research analysts. We want them to embody our core values. The history curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their historical capital. We want our children to remember their history lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the historical opportunities they are presented with! Recently, as part of their learning on ‘The Great Fire of London’ Year 2 pupils visited Staircase House in Stockport to explore the events of 2nd September 1666 in a grade II listed building from 1460. They were able to discuss the importance of eyewitness accounts as historical evidence through the words of Samuel Pepys. Bringing history alive is important at All Souls’ CE Primary School.
The history curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the history National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. For example, in the spring term some of our Year 6 children visited the Town Hall as part of our involvement in the Holocaust Memorial events. The children were privileged to listen to memories of three Holocaust survivors. One of our children said: “I am so glad that I got to hear these stories. It makes me understand what it was really like for people during the Holocaust.”
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great town to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the history curriculum. For example, in the autumn term the whole-school celebrated ‘Remembrance’ as a theme and as part of this themed week, our pupils remembered and honoured those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. The children explored why remembrance is part of modern British life, culture and heritage. They impeccably observed a two-minute silence and explored how the poppy is a symbol of remembrance. We are extremely proud of our pupils, who ensured that no-one is forgotten and united to honour all who suffered or died in war.
We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
An annual audit of the history curriculum was conducted. Following the findings from this audit, the history curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. Our local studies across school reflect the cultural heritage of our cotton mill industry enabling pupils to visit Mutual Mill and Crimble Mill alongside visiting a working mill in Cheshire – Quarry Bank Mill. Equity and equality are also important themes throughout our curriculum with studies on inspirational women.
History subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in history and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:
- To gain a coherent knowledge and chronology of Britain’s past and the wider world
- To ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement about events in history
- To appreciate the complexities of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups of people as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time
- To know and understand the history of our islands as a coherent, chronological narrative from the earliest times to present day
- To know the significant aspects of ancient civilisations, and the expansion and dissolution of empires
- To develop an awareness of concepts such as: continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance and use them to make connections
- To understand methods of historical enquiry
- To understand connections between local, regional, national and international history
Staff and the SLT organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our subject leaders. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. All subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. For example, in Year 4 when the children explore ‘Anglo Saxons and Scots’ –they also read and discuss the old English epic poem of ‘Beowulf’ in English. Our children are taught through connected knowledge.
Teacher and pupil booklets containing the sequence of learning for a history theme ensure our pupils access appropriate knowledge, practise retrieval and develop vocabulary. Each lesson has the learning objectives, appropriate activities and lesson end points to ensure clarity of what knowledge and skills need to be retained and revisited. Pupils in Key Stage 2 demonstrate their understanding of a theme through an extended piece of writing.
We encourage staff to teach a bi-weekly history lesson. This was a notable change after the history audit. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to history and that historical subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every history lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in history are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use history formative assessment methods to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in history. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in history includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.
At All Souls' CE Primary School, we are
History programmes of study:
Key Stages 1 and 2
Purpose of study
A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils 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.
The national curriculum for geography 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
By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.
Schools are not required by law to teach the example content in [square brackets] or the content indicated as being ‘non-statutory’.
Subject content – Key stage 1
Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching about the people, events and changes outlined below, teachers are often introducing pupils to historical periods that they will study more fully at key stages 2 and 3.
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life
- events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]
- the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]
- significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Subject Content – Key Stage 2
Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.
Pupils should be taught about:
- 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
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
- a local history stud
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
- the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
- Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
- a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300