Why we teach History
Our History curriculum aims to inspire our pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. It helps them to understand the diversity of societies around the world as well as their own identity, and the process of change. Studying history helps children to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence and develop perspective.
History provides us with a context from which to understand ourselves and others. We see models of good and responsible citizenship and are able to learn from the mistakes of others. History improves decision making and judgement. It helps us to see patterns that might otherwise be invisible in the present and provides a crucial perspective for understanding (and solving) current and future problems.
How we teach History
Our Curriculum Drivers in History
As pupils learn about the lives, cultures and beliefs of people at different times, they develop understanding and respect for people with different views. Studying history helps us to see how the past has shaped our beliefs and attitudes today, whilst learning about inspirational people in the past helps children to appreciate the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our ancestors.
Our History curriculum helps us to understand how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world and includes the study of significant civilisations in Europe and further afield, including the Mayans and Ancient Egyptians. Pupils also learn how history is shaped by geography, for example: how the development of Ancient Greece was influenced by its mild climate, mountains and sea. Studying World War 1 and World War 2 enables children to discuss relationships between different countries.
In History, we learn why and how things have changed over time and find out about significant people, events and innovations which have been pivotal in shaping the world as we know it today.
Pupils learn to investigate, compare, evaluate and analyse. They reflect and make connections between different periods and places as they are encouraged to build on their natural curiosity and to question and challenge evidence. Exploration in the past is also a key theme in several topics, for example Darwin’s voyage of discovery around the world and the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
How our curriculum is structured
Our History curriculum follows the requirements of the EYFS Framework and the Key Stage 1 and 2 National Curriculum programme of study. These aim to help children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. To establish clear narratives within and across the periods they study, noting connections, contrasts and trends over time.
We have chosen nine key concepts of History to repeat throughout the curriculum. (In brackets, you will see other important related concepts.) In order to master the 'big ideas' of History, and to secure deep learning over time, we revisit these regularly; this may be discreetly, through making connections with another subject, or explicitly, through a History-focussed topic.
community & culture - (architecture, art, civilisation, communication, economy, inspiration, myth, nation, religion, settlement, story, trade)
conflict & disaster - (conquest, liberation, occupation, military, peace, plague, surrender, treaty, war)
exploration & invention - (discovery, migration, navigation, progress, tools)
hierarchy & power - (country, democracy, empire, equality, government, law, monarchy, oppression, parliament, peasantry, politics, prejudice, slavery, poverty, protection, tyranny )
cause & consequence
change & continuity
similarity & difference
evidence & interpretation (eye-witness, source)
We also recognise the importance of vocabulary in supporting pupils to articulate more complex ideas, and each milestone introduces a range of precise historical vocabulary which is systematically taught as part of each topic.
Children in the reception year start to learn about history as part of ‘Understanding the World’ when finding out about the lives of older members of their immediate family and about their own past. They are able to comment on images of familiar situations in years gone by, for example Victorian children playing with toys, and listen to stories that are set in the past.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, pupils continue to develop their awareness of the past, learning vocabulary that relates to the passing of time and everyday historical terms. They develop an awareness of chronology and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They are taught about changes within living memory and events further into the past that are significant nationally and globally, for example: the Great Fire of London, as well as significant events, people and places in their own locality. Pupils also find out about significant individuals which enables them to compare life in different periods, for example, Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria. They begin to frame their own questions about the past and to understand that the past can be represented in different ways.
Key Stage 2
Pupils continue to develop their chronological knowledge of British, local and world history. Careful planning helps them to establish clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They note connections, contrast and trends over time and increase their historical vocabulary using historical terms appropriately. Pupils regularly address and sometimes devise questions about change, cause, similarity, difference and significance and construct informed responses from the study information from a range of historical sources.
Using units selected from the National Curriculum, teachers ensure that lessons combine overview and in depth studies to help pupils understand both the chronological overview and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.