At St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School we aim to provide a high-quality history education for all our pupils. Our history curriculum enables our pupils to gain the knowledge and skills needed to develop a secure and coherent understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We want them to be able to make links between the past and our lives today as well as be able to identify some of the causes and consequences of historical events. Through inspiring our pupils and igniting their curiosity we will help them to think critically and foster in them a love for independent research. We want our pupils to develop the confidence to ask perceptive questions, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
We use the national curriculum statutory requirements in history to create our long term plans. These plans outline the history topics/units each year group will cover over the course of the academic year. Our long term plans also include some of the non-statutory history topics and objectives. We have chosen to include other non-statutory objectives that help to build, deepen and compliment the statutory aspects of our history curriculum. This is to make our pupils’ learning in history progressive and link with other learning they have conducted within and across the subject.
We also create short term plans for the planning and delivery of our history curriculum. We use these plans to break down the statutory and non-statutory objectives into a sequence of well thought out lessons which build on our pupils’ previous learning. Our short term plans contain the detailed, age appropriate, content to be taught that will enable our pupils to meet the key objectives. These plans also set out the particular knowledge and skills focuses for each session. We use a separate ‘progression in history skills’ document to identify the particular skills to be taught within each unit and across the key stages.
When delivering our history curriculum we make links, when appropriate, to work in other subjects such as geography, English, R.E. and science. In a typical history lesson our pupils are provided with time to:
- review and consolidate previous knowledge
- discuss objectives, key vocabulary and success criteria
- identify and develop (build on) historical knowledge and key skills
- take part in independent and collaborative tasks
- self-evaluate and review their learning and that of others
Throughout the year we also provide opportunities for our pupils to increase their cultural capital by arranging educational visits to places of historical interest and importance, including museums and galleries. This is so our pupils are able to make sense of history and put periods within their historical contexts. Our Black History week, whole school focus is another way in which we do this. Every class will focus on a particular central figure who is easily associated with a particular historical event.
Throughout the Autumn term our Year 6 pupils have the opportunity to work closely with the National Army Museum where they begin to understand the role archeology, artefacts and research play in historical enquiry and perspective. They also have the chance to take over the museum for the day and present the galleries and exhibits to the public. We also encourage class teachers to arrange for visitors to come to the school either as actors, as part of workshops or members of the community who can share their historical experiences and knowledge with our pupils.
The impact of our history curriculum on our pupils means that the majority of pupils:
- achieve age related expectations in history at the end of the academic year
- retain and retrieve the knowledge and skills that are pertinent to making sense of history
- understand and use the key skills of chronological understanding
- build on and maintain a good understanding about how the world has changed over time
- demonstrate a growing knowledge and understanding of events in the past, historical interpretation and historical enquiry.
- be inspired by what they have learnt and continue to develop their love of history
- work collaboratively and independently to become more effective historians
- enrich their knowledge and understanding of a particular historical period through visits and visitors
- learn lessons from history to influence the decisions they make in their lives in the future
We also conduct formal assessments on key aspects of the topic at the end of each unit and use this information to help form part of our monitoring of the progress made within history by each pupil. Although these assessments are carried out on a termly basis, teachers evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding throughout lessons and on a week by week basis and adjust short term plans and activities accordingly to meet the needs of our pupils. Having this approach not only enables our pupils to learn, know and remember more but also helps to prepare them for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.