History is all around us. 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. 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 our pupils learn through history can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values. At Leigh Primary School our intent, when teaching history, is to stimulate the children’s curiosity in order for them to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding.
At Leigh we use Ark Mastery for History which has four core pillars underpinning the discipline of Historical learning:
- 1. Historical enquiry exposes pupils to key questions and gives them the opportunity to ask their own questions.
- 2. Historical enquiry relies on pupils acquiring sufficient historical knowledge.
- 3. Alongside this knowledge, pupils are given the opportunity to develop historical concepts: evidence, interpretation, cause and consequence, change and continuity and significance. Historical concepts provide the structure that shapes the practice of history. These will be revisited multiple times throughout the year and progress across year groups.
- 4. Finally, pupils learn to communicate historical findings in a sequenced, coherent manner both in verbal and written form.
Identifying and combining these core pillars work towards the overall goal of history education – gaining clear historical perspective. With clear historical perspective pupils will be empowered to be active global citizens: understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
In Key Stage 1, pupils develop their understanding of the past – beginning with familiar objects and places within living memory before moving beyond living memory. Pupils study toys, transport and the seaside in Year 1. They then further develop their understanding of the past by studying the lives of significant individuals both nationally and internationally as well as studying a significant event beyond living memory. Pupils study Kings and Queens, The Great Fire of London and significant individuals who have made a difference in Year 2.
In Key Stage 2, the curriculum divides into two main strands. A study of Britain's past and a series of studies focussing on civilizations and people around the world. When studying British History, units are taught chronologically from the Stone Age in Year 3, to the Roman invasions and an in depth study into Roman Britain in Year 4, to the Anglo-Saxons, Scots and Vikings and ending with the Battle of Hastings in Year 5.
After this chronological study of British History, pupils move to studying three isolated units, each chosen because of their significance: The Industrial Revolution, WW1 and WW2. Pupils then end Year 6 with a chronological study of how groups of people have stood up for their own rights and the rights of others in order to influence change – Making our Mark. Units about world civilizations have been linked to the geographical studies of continents focussed on in each year group. These civilizations often overlap with one another and comparisons will be made between the civilizations but also with the different periods of British History occurring at the time. The pupils gain an overview of the locations of the earliest civilizations before studying Ancient Greece, the Maya, Baghdad in its Golden Age and the Ancient Egyptians. When studying the Ancient Egyptians pupils investigate how a later archaeological discovery can change our interpretation of the past and question whether artefacts should ever be taken from their country of origin.
Our history curriculum is taught each Friday during our curriculum focussed days. Children work in their individual year groups to learn history as we feel that this best supports their progression as learners. We use a curriculum designed by Ark Mastery Ark Curriculum Plus, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to transforming education in the UK.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. It is important that the children develop progressive skills of a historian throughout their time at Leigh Primary School and do not just learn a series of facts about the past. In History, pupils look at evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusion. To do this successfully, as historians, they need to be able to research, interpret evidence, including primary and secondary sources, and have the necessary skills to argue for their point of view; skill that will help them in their adult life.
By the time the children at Leigh Primary School leave our school they will have developed:
- A secure knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from the historical periods covered.
- The ability to think critically about history and communicate confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
- The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, forming and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
- A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements.
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.
The EYFS framework is structured very differently to the national curriculum as it is organised across seven areas of learning rather than subject areas. History in the Early Years is mainly taught through ‘Understanding the World’. The EYFS Framework states:
'Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.'
In planning and guiding what children learn, we reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust our practice appropriately. Historical Enquiry links to the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning by:
- Identifying similarities and differences.
- Knowing that information can be retrieved from books, the internet and people.
- Beginning to ask and answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions in response to stories or events.
Children will learn about areas of significant historical interest within their local area. In addition, they will learn about current topical historical events such as changes within the monarchy and important sporting events.
They will also experience the following:
- Visits within the local area: including trips to Hever Castle, War Memorial during Remembrance Day.
- Online workshops to develop understanding of a topic.
- Opportunities to explore artefacts from a specific period of history.
- Learning about and celebrating historical events such as Bonfire Night and St. George’s Day.