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 examine 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.
Key Stage 1
Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other historical sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented and by whom. Pupils should be taught about:
• Changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life.
• Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally, for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries.
• The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods.
• Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Key Stage 2
Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources, investigating and questioning these sources where appropriate.
Pupils should be taught about:
• Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
• The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
• Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
• The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
• A local history study
• A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
• The achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
• Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
• A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
History teaching focuses on enabling children to think as historians. We place an emphasis on examining historical artefacts and primary sources of information. In each key stage we give children the opportunity to visit sites that are local and of historical significance. We encourage visitors to come into the school and talk about their experiences of events in the past.
We recognise and value the importance of stories in history teaching and we regard this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past. We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they should always ask searching questions, such as ‘how do we know?’, about information they are given.
We recognise that there are children of widely different history abilities in all classes, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
We achieve this in a variety of ways by:
• Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses.
• Setting tasks of increasing difficulty (not all children complete all tasks).
• Mixed groups and grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group.
• Providing resources of different complexity depending on the ability of the child.
We use the National Curriculum for History as the basis for our planning in history, but we have adapted this to the local context by building on the successful units of work already in place. We ensure that there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and we build planned progression across the year so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school. Termly themes link History and other curriculum subjects where appropriate and these are identified on the class plans.
To ensure the coverage of History, each year group teaches specific History topics as well as embedding the subject into daily teaching. Long-term plans identify individual History units taught across the year group phases and follow a two-year cycle. . In addition to this whole school projects are planned at key opportunities with a Historical focus (such as a local history study) where the whole school enjoys studying one topic together. History is taught by individual class teachers who take responsibility for planning, resourcing and delivering this area of the curriculum.