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 autumn term our Year 6 children visited the Liverpool Museum as part of our involvement in the horrific treatment of enslaved Africans during slavery. The children were privileged to listen to memories of past slaves and the artefacts of torture used, recalling the impact slavery had on the port of Liverpool and our surrounding area. They gain the misconceptions of the enslaved African’s and an appreciation of their knowledge, strength and culture and how racism must not continue.
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. For example, Year 1 explores what has changed since their grandparents were young exploring board games, television programmes and our school by inviting in our local senior citizens. In Year 6, Croxteth Hall is visited to enhance pupils understanding of class divisions and roles during the Victorian era as. In Year 3, they visit Chester Dewa Museum with interactive learning experiences about Romans in Britain and their archaeology, taking a march through the streets of Chester as a Roman Centurion looking at Roman ruins and artefacts. 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.
Our History curriculum will equip the children to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgment. It forms part of our topic based/enquiry curriculum and, as such, is taught along with other subjects on the same theme.
Our 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. The aim is to develop both the knowledge and skills to develop a broader depth to learning and to eliminate gaps in learning for all students, giving lifelong experiences, excitement, curiosity and empathy as historians. As part of a topic/enquiry based programme, it allows opportunities for cross curricular links to be made to ensure the children have many occasions where by they can apply their knowledge and understanding.
As part of this planning process, teachers plan the following:
- A timeline that should include add-ones from previous years teaching/ start with learning the basic timeline so that students can construct an understanding of events over time, even the youngest students.
- A knowledge organiser which outlines knowledge (including vocabulary) all children must master, which is shared across year group.
- A cycle of lessons for each subject, which carefully plans for progression breadth and depth for each year group linked to prior learning- schemas are strong. 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 of Columbus and Armstrong.
- A low stakes quiz which is tested regularly to support learners’ ability to block learning and increase space in the working memory to consider application.
- Teaching provides opportunities for pupils to advance and deepen their learning.
- Trips and visiting experts who will enhance the 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. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develops 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 and, explore Greek pottery in art and design, enjoy Greek themed cookery in design technology, Ancient Greek Olympics for P.E and use Myths and Legends in their English lessons. Our children are taught the right, connected knowledge.
Our short-term plans are produced on a weekly and daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.
We encourage staff to teach a 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 grids 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. The last history monitoring took place on 8th April 2020. 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.