History Vision Statement
“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”
Our vision for History at St Elizabeth’s is to develop the children’s cultural awareness, moral understanding and open-mindedness of the ever-changing world they live in and in doing so, empower our children to be responsible and resilient members of their society. We want our children to be: reflective and knowledgeable about the past, both of their own and other people’s; to be able to make informed and liberal choices now and in their future and to acquire a lifelong curiosity and interest for history.
History is all around us. It plays an important part in our curriculum here at St Elizabeth’s and we value the rich local history that surrounds our school. 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 provides a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. What they learn through history can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values. Here at St Elizabeth’s, our intent, when teaching history, is to stimulate the children’s curiosity in order for them to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding. We want to equip our children with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the history National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences in later life.
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity and co-operate with one another. 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 as we celebrate themed days in order to enrich the children’s understanding of the wider world and raise awareness of injustices still present today. For example, Year 6 have a Victorian themed day whereby children and staff come to school dressed as Victorian men, women and children and are in role for the duration of the day. This is to give them a real feel as to what school life was like during the Victorian era. To supplement this learning experience, Year 6 will visit Quarry Bank Mill to look at both the Victorians and Slavery. They will visit the Mill, the Apprentice House and the Georgian family home. This shows us how the Victorians lived but there is also an exhibition on the slave trade and the Transatlantic trade.
Each year our school celebrates Black History Month in October and this year, from Early Years to Year 6, the children focused on a black professional and studied how their contributions and breakthroughs have impacted our lives and societies today. We enrich the children’s time in our school by delivering memorable experiences and provide opportunities that may be out of reach, which piques their interests and passions. An example of this was when the children were able to fully immerse themselves in West African culture through an African Drumming workshop as part of Black History Month 2022, whereby each child played their very own djembe drum and learned to sing typical West African songs. Using traditional African djembe drums, children created sounds and music from the African continent. Our connected topic based/enquiry curriculum is woven into other subjects within the same theme. This means that these types of experiences also enrich other subjects. Year 2 study Kente Cloth in their weaving topic in Art and complete a case study on the Maasai tribe in Geography. In terms of Music, they learned how to make different sounds on a unique percussion instrument and talked about tone, pace and tempo on the djembe drum. Every child immersed themselves in a different culture whilst experiencing a feeling of unity as part of a drum circle. This echoed the theme of Black History Month – Time for Change: Action not Words. The theme is all about bringing the black community together with allies and pushing those allies to give more than just words to support the cause, which is something we fully support as a school community.
Furthermore, Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. The 27th January marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. In observance of Holocaust Memorial Day, the children will have the opportunity to celebrate the life of Fay Healey, a Holocaust survivor and retired lollipop lady at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School. The intent is to bear witness to those who endured genocide, and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition. To enrich this learning experience, Year 3 are visiting Princes Road Synagogue to inform their understanding of Jewish places of worship and to promote interfaith tolerance. Additionally, Year 4 and 6 children will attend the Plaza cinema, Crosby, to watch the film, The Island on Bird Street. The film is the true coming of age story of a Jewish teenage boy who tries to survive in a Polish ghetto after his family are taken to a concentration camp.
Our History curriculum will equip the children to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgment. For example, Year 1 identify what has changed since their grandparents were young through exploring toys and television programmes from the 1960s and discover how our school has changed over time by interviewing local senior citizens that provide the children with first hand experiences and knowledge. The children learn how to become inquisitive through asking lots of questions to expand their learning.
At St Elizabeth’s, we believe that by providing children with an inspiring and rigorous history curriculum, we can go some way to empower children to be knowledgeable and empathetic citizens. Our intention is to provide insight so that these valuable life skills will help them to prepare for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. It will encourage them to think creatively to solve problems both as individuals and as members of a team. By researching, exploring and analysing the past within a variety of contexts, they will consider their own and others’ heritage, wants and values in an ever-changing society. Finally, it will provide them with experiences of real-life contexts. We know that they will be inspired by the stories of explorers, historians and inventors that they will study across different year groups and we intend that they will hold on to the knowledge and skills they learn so they can have the opportunity of contributing to the future creativity, wealth and cultural-capital of the nation.
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 St Elizabeth’s, and not just simply recall facts about the past. They will be able to put their learning into context using chronology and tap into prior knowledge which is built upon as they journey through their primary years. In History, children will find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusion. To do this successfully, as historians, they will have the opportunities to research, interpret evidence including primary and secondary sources, and have the necessary skills to argue for their point of view – skills that will help them in their adult life. As part of a topic/enquiry-based curriculum, it allows opportunities for cross curricular links to be made to ensure the children have as many opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills all year round. To ensure this, teachers will plan and/or display the following:
- A timeline that should include add-ones from previous years teaching/ start with learning the basics of chronology so that students can construct an understanding of events over time
- A knowledge organiser, which highlights sticky knowledge, key learning and vocabulary
- A cycle of lessons for each topic taught, which carefully plans for progression and has opportunities for cross-curricular links. For example, Year 6 research slavery in order to produce independent arguments, discussing the pros and cons with strong supportive evidence for their views. Year 2 research the lives of significant individuals, leading to writing diaries as Christopher Columbus, discussing feelings and emotions on his achievements and comparing aspects of life in different periods
- The use of artefacts, secondary and primary sources to enhance knowledge and skills
- School trips and visiting/interviewing experts who will enhance their learning experience
- Project based homework to further develop independent research skills using sources
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our subject leaders. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning- schema. For example, in Year 5 when the children explore ‘Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world’- they also tackle understanding the similarities and difference of Ancient Greek cities democracy and culture, explore Greek pottery in Art and Design, enjoy Greek themed cookery in Design and Technology. They hold Ancient Greek Olympics in P.E and study Myths and Legends in English.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every history lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning which helps provide the best possible support for all our pupils, including challenging our more able children. 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 built on each year. Staff use formative assessment grids to assess the children’s knowledge and skills in History, which will inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform a summative assessment judgement for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. Through the high quality-first teaching of History taking place, we will see the impact of the subject in different ways e.g. through books, lesson observations and/or learning walks, assessments and pupil/parent and staff voice. Work will show that a range of themes are being covered, concepts are revisited and our connected curriculum is apparent. Assessments and monitoring will show standards in History will be high and will match standards in other subject areas.