“History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” – David McCullough
History Lead - Mrs Chrissy Khan
At St Dennis Primary Academy, we aim for a high quality, expansive history curriculum which inspires children’s curiosity about the past. We want our children to understand local, British, and wider world history. We also want them to know where they fit in through learning about the history of their families, their community, their town and their country so they have a better understanding of their own culture, develop a sense of identity and belonging and understand the process of change and its effects. Studying our ancestors helps us have a better understanding of how we live today. Furthermore, the study of the history of other cultures helps them understand the relationships between different groups, diversity and develop an appreciation of the culture and attitudes of societies other than their own.
History is a subject rich in powerful knowledge, so our curriculum is structured to inspire a depth of knowledge with the development of key historical skills and concepts. We aim to nurture curiosity and a life-long love of history through inspiring experiences. We want our pupils to relish and love learning about history so children gain knowledge and skills, not just through experiences within the classroom, but also through the use of fieldwork and educational visits, enabling them to deepen their understanding of who and what has shaped our world today.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in history, we implement a curriculum that is sequentially planned throughout the whole school.
In the Foundation Stage the main aim is to develop a sense of chronology and an understanding of key vocabulary linked to the passing of time. In line with EYFS curriculum, the children are encouraged to talk about themselves and how they have changed over time. They share stories, handle artefacts and look at pictures to identify similarities and differences and begin to talk about changes. They are encouraged to ask older people, particularly their families, about the past and are introduced to other cultures. Enquiry is a key skill in history and we approach the planning of history in this way.
In Key Stage 1 and 2 history, we follow the breadth of the programmes of study of the National Curriculum for history. This aims for children to build knowledge, understand the big ideas and processes of history, and gain an increasingly mature and informed historical perspective on their world. We use the Chris Quigley structure to ensure we implement a coherently planned history curriculum underpinned by our drivers. The four ‘Threshold Concepts’ of 'investigate and interpret the past', 'build an overview of world history', 'understand chronology' and 'communicate historically' are repeated many times. Each threshold concept has its own facets of knowledge which help to strengthen these. This enables children to reinforce and build upon prior learning, make connections, and develop subject specific language. This provides the vertical accumulation of knowledge and skills. Milestones define the standards for the threshold concepts and provide clarity about what is to be learnt in each Key Stage. We also have critical knowledge, skills and understanding that childern should achieve before moving on.
We also talk about key skills of being a historian and these are in children’s books as a reminder.
To support learning, children also have a knowledge organiser in their books and on display with key learning facts, timelines and vocabulary. They also take one home so they can share their learning at home. These can also be found on year group pages.
Further history is taught through some of our Dazzle Day topics, including a topic on St Dennis that explores the history of our local area.
Where appropriate, links to other areas of the curriculum are made and key events such as the Olympic Games. Significant dates and individuals are researched and studied when and as they arise.
In Key Stage 1, themes centre around changes within and beyond living memory, studies of the lives of significant individuals from the past and the history of our local area.
In Key Stage 2 specific time periods are studied such as the Romans and Egyptians. Connections and comparisons are made through key themes, and different historical interpretations are introduced. Children are encouraged to complete their own research.
When planning for each topic, teachers use a progression map of historical skills that identify the key knowledge, chronological understanding, interpretation, and enquiry skills for their year group.
All children have access to a wide range of sources from which to gather information and they are encouraged to record their understanding in a variety of interesting and innovative ways.
Our history curriculum is further enriched with real artefacts from museums, visitors, and visits perhaps to a museum or a site of historical interest.
Examples of KWL grids
Year 1 enjoyed role playing the life of Grace Darling and acting as if they were her through hot seating. They asked and answered questions using their prior knowledge.
Year 2's 'Stunning Start' was a coronation to help them to understand the theme of the monarchy.
Year 6's 'Stunning Start' was an evacuee day. They then visited the Bodmin Keep Museum to explore artefacts.
Year 6 'Memory Masters' where they revisited learning from Year 5 to see what they had remembered.
- Children enjoy history lessons and look forward to finding out more
- Children learn research skills that they use independently to further their own enjoyment and fascination about the topic or subject
- Evidence of work shows a range of topics covered and meaningful cross curricular links
- Standards in history are high and match standards in other subjects such as English
- Teacher judgements are discussed and moderated both internally and externally at subject cluster meetings with local schools
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- Formative assessing of children’s understanding of topic (including vocabulary) before, during and after a unit is taught through a range of methods including mind maps, KWL grids and low stake quizzes
- Summative assessment through on-going learning and Proof of Progress tasks to assess whether understanding of milestones is basic, advancing or deep
- Images and videos of the children’s practical learning
- Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice) with their books
- Annual reporting to parents of standards across the curriculum
- Marking of written work in books
At St Dennis Primary Academy, British values are embedded in the history curriculum. Children explore issues such as democracy in their historical context and relate them to the modern day through studying periods such as Ancient Greece. This enables them to understand how, over time, changes happened and to evaluate their impact. By looking at the achievements of famous British people in Key Stage 1, children develop an awareness of how they have influenced and shaped the country in which we live. This includes an appreciation of their work. Teaching children to respect and value diversity is encouraged in the day to day teaching and learning through showing respect for different viewpoints and ideas as well as in the ability to work effectively together both individually and in groups.