“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
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 history 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
gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts: 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
Making History Learning Meaningful and Memorable
|What we do||Why we do it|
|Clearly sequenced and carefully mapped knowledge and skills progression||Knowledge and skills are sequences, mapped vertically, and horizontally to ensure all children are taught, develop and master a deep understanding in history.|
|Need to know information and explicit vocabulary||Key dates, facts and vocabulary for each historical focus are set out on knowledge organisers.|
|History beyond the academic||History focuses often provide the ‘hook’ on which we ‘hang’ our learning! Children are encouraged to use a wide range of sources and draw on skills from art, music, technology, dance and drama, film and the outdoors, to present their historical knowledge and understanding.|
|Trips and visits||Children are given the opportunity to visit historically significant places across Wiltshire and the UK. Historical areas of study are chosen so that our children can relate to the world immediately around them, so local history is particularly important. Expert visitors are organised to inform and inspire children as well as providing the opportunity to develop teacher’s knowledge and expertise.|
|Home Learning||In KS2, historical home learning projects are given to consolidate, build on and extend learning.|
|Support for all to access the curriculum||History lessons are carefully planned to match learning tasks and activities with pupils learning needs in mind. This enables all children the opportunity to succeed and master historical objectives.|
|Culture where it’s ok to be wrong!||History is subject to influence, viewpoint and bias. Therefore, children are encouraged to develop their own opinions and ideas, and to questions sources and facts. Therefore, mistakes or misunderstandings are looked at as learning opportunities and a building block on which to develop knowledge.|
The history curriculum has been carefully mapped out and built to ensure there is progression and repetition so key learning, knowledge and skills is embedded.
Our History curriculum develops children’s learning and understanding of five key concepts, which they build as they journey through the school. Children are taught to:
Develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history.
Note connections, contrasts, trends over time.
Develop appropriate use of historical vocabulary and terms.
Address and devise historically valid questions about change, cause and effects, similarity and differences and significance.
Identify and recount events from the past from a range of historical sources.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group history curriculum under the guidance of the subject leader. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements for their classes.
When planning history lessons, staff will:
Take the history objectives from the skills progression map.
Create a topic overview, mapping out when and how the history objectives will be taught.
Build a knowledge organiser with key facts, knowledge, dates and vocabulary needed to be covered during the topic.
Ensure progression of skills are used throughout lessons and across topics.
Use a range of activities and tasks to enable children to show their knowledge and understanding.
Continually assess children’s knowledge and skills through a range of techniques allowing them to direct and build children’s understanding at the pace they need.
Assessment of History
Assessment of history St Michael’s is a multi- facetted approach. We need to recognise the limits of placing any summative judgement against the children’s knowledge of history because the validity of this data is relatively low. We equally need to be wary of purely looking at the outcomes from within a lesson, and judge the performance of children, rather than what has been committed to long-term memory.
Formative Assessment / Responsive Teaching:
Verbal responses from pupils within the lesson
Written outcomes from the pupils’ work
Retrieval practice at the start of each lesson
Double Page Spread Assessment
Children have the opportunity to plan, research and present their own understanding and learning in the form of a double page spread at the end of each topic. Double Page spreads can come in many different forms and we use them to assess children’s mastery of the subject. For example:
The creation of multiple choice quizzes
·Designed board games
·A record of interview questions and responses
Pupils’ voice provides a key focus when reviewing past learning, assessing the retention of knowledge and developing future activities. Annual pupil conferencing allows us to monitor the impact of our History teaching and enables us to improve engagements and inspire passion for the subject in our pupils and give pupils the opportunity to direct their own learning.
All staff work closely together when assessing and moderating progress in History. The History Leader oversees moderation staff meetings where we assess children’s Double Page Spreads and Learning Journals against the skills taught. We follow a key concept or learning thread across the school to ensure we monitor the progression of skills taught and ensure all children have the opportunity to embed these vital skills and knowledge.
The History Leader also tracks the impact and coverage of History learning through monitoring planning, completing lesson observations and looking in books. They will then support staff, if necessary, through coaching and feedback to implement improvements and ensure an enriched and inspiring curriculum across the whole school.