We want to inspire and excite our children to learn about the past, both in Britain and the wider world. We want them to be engaged critically, creatively and empathetically with the beliefs, struggles and achievements of past societies, events and cultures. We strive to develop our children’s awareness of chronology and connections between people over time, fostering an appreciation that ‘a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots’ (Marcus Gawey). Throughout our teaching, children learn the skills of historical enquiry, and understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. They should be able to describe and explain the past based on synthesised narratives, imaginative reconstruction and arguments based on evidence. We expect our children to recognise that history, whilst being a record of what happened and why, may be open to interpretation. As our children progress through each Key Stage, we want them to acquire coherent knowledge, and be amazed by significant people and events, thrilled by the excitement of exploration and invention, saddened by conflicts and uplifted by triumphs.
There is a curriculum scheme of work for history and each year group has a scheme of work which is split into two parts: the skills and concepts to be covered, and medium term plans. By the end of the academic year, all skills and concepts should be covered at least once through units of work taught. For each history unit, teachers follow a teaching sequence which has four focuses: pre-assessment (including generating and RAG rating topic-specific vocabulary), chronology timeline work (including the use of Timebox timeline), subsequent key question enquiry-led lessons focusing on historical concepts/skills, and post assessment (including RAG rating of topic-specific vocabulary). Suggested timings are provided as part of medium-term plans, as some teaching focuses will require more time than others depending on the needs of the class. However, a minimum of six lessons must be taught with at least one piece of extended writing produced, one enrichment experience provided to bring history learning to life and one explicit link made to British Values. Each history unit has a resource box, and teachers should order relevant topic boxes from SLS.
To ensure continuity and progression throughout the school, learning intentions must be worded as enquiry questions and success criteria must demonstrate an understanding of one or two key historical skills: chronology, continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity/difference, significance of events/people and historical interpretation. It is crucial that teachers carefully identify the content carefully within their area of study which lends themselves to the development of particular historical concepts/skills. To support this process, teachers use Outstanding History lessons, PlanBee files and CGP books.
Teachers differentiate lessons to ensure equal access for all children, and to actively engage and inspire children through enrichment experiences. These experiences include the use of artefacts, trips, historical reconstructions or environmental learning in the form of music, drama, dance, debate and ‘museum’ displays, which can be evidenced in children’s books or class floor books.
Each year group’s skills and concepts coverage sheet ensures attainment and progression both within and across year groups. Areas of study are taught sequentially, and each history unit begins with timeline work. In addition, each year group uses their Timebox timeline to build on children’s prior chronological understanding.
Enquiry-led lessons are based on the National Historical Society’s ‘Sandwich Approach’, and work in books should demonstrate informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.
Teachers complete four assessment tasks: pre-assessment to recap on and assess prior learning; post-assessment in the shared area with clear next steps; highlight their year group’s skills and concepts coverage sheet for monitoring purposes and to evaluate medium term plans suggesting practical improvements and at the end of a unit note those children significantly above or below expectations and any areas of strength or areas to be addressed for the class as a whole in the next history unit.
The subject leader monitors books, ensuring schemes of work are taught with a focus on skills and concepts to be developed, the enquiry approach and the teaching of historical vocabulary. A portfolio of work will also be kept showcasing the school’s immersion into history, progression in chronology and historical enquiry.