History at Sparken Hill...
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.
What are we trying to achieve for our children in History?
A high-quality History curriculum should inspire pupils' curiosity to know more about the past. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people's lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. It also helps children gain a sense of their own identity within a social, political, cultural and economic background. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement through our enquiry based approach.
At Sparken Hill, the History curriculum has been carefully sequenced so that as pupils progress, they gain a coherent knowledge and understanding about the history of Britain and how it has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. Through an understanding of and experience of using the methods of historical enquiry, we want the children to become critical thinkers, learn lessons from the past and gain lifelong analytical skills.
They will leave SHA being knowledgeable about key people, events and time periods from the past and will be able to weave these together to form historical narratives.
How is the curriculum delivered?
Following the 'Development Matters' guidance in EYFS, our Nursery and Reception children gain an 'Understanding of the World; people and communities; the world and technology' and come into KS1 with the foundations laid for History.
At Sparken Hill, we implement a History curriculum that; meets the objectives outlined in the National Curriculum. Therefore we ensure that:
- Is progressive throughout the whole school, with three distinct milestones of KS1, LKS2 and UKS2. Each milestone we will cover different topics within these topics it will include the concepts: chronological understanding, knowledge and understanding of the past, historical interpretation, historical enquiry, organisation and communication.
- It is delivered on a half-termly timetable, where History and Geography are taught alternate half terms or interwoven to strengthen the links and amplify learning. As such, approximately 30 hours of History is taught each academic year & has progressive skills from each threshold embedded into each unit, providing opportunities for retrieval practice of prior knowledge and vocabulary.
- It provides whole class differentiation through questioning and various methods of recording is enhanced by trips and visiting experts where appropriate.
- Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from working with a range of primary & secondary sources.
- Through school they will 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.
- Lesson are underpinned by chronology. Both the overall narrative of history and internal narrative of a lifetime, event or full period are vital to piece together the complex and intertwining history that we teach.
- Has progressive skills from each threshold embedded into each unit, providing opportunities for retrieval practice of prior knowledge and vocabulary.
What difference is the curriculum making? How do you know whether pupils know what you think they know?
Our History Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and planned to demonstrate progression. Children will become more analytical and improved critical thinkers, making informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past. They will develop understanding of how historical events have shaped the world that they currently live in, enabling pupils to place themselves and their families in the world. Pupils will be engaged in a valid historical enquiry or puzzling key question through which the learning grows over the sequence of lessons.
We measure the impact of our History curriculum using the following measures:
- Evidence from children's books will show a broad and balanced History curriculum, demonstrating appropriate pitch and challenge. Standards in History will be high and will match standards in other subjects such as English and Maths.
- Our Long-Term Plan (LTP) will show a clear progression of knowledge and skills across Key Stage 1 and 2 that builds on prior knowledge.
- Pupil discussion about their learning.
- Termly teacher judgements track progress and inform subsequent planning. (Following our History Progression map, this document follows the year group through the school so teachers can see what has been covered.)
- We also track & monitor individual progress through our key performance indicators on a termly basis.
Within our curriculum design the below historical concepts sit at the core to ensure full coverage of each subject.
We have our very own bespoke timeline that shows all the topics we study, as well as significant events and people. At the start of every topic each class will visit the timeline to see where the period of history they are studying fits in relation to their prior knowledge, to see the links between events, their sequence and understand the duration of these periods. Using key vocabulary throughout e.g. chronology, decade, century, millennium, event, period, era, BC/AD (BCE/CE).
We also use specific timelines in class as a teaching tool to show the significant events during that period and the part of the era we are studying, this can then be referred back to throughout the term. It helps to embed disciplinary concepts such as ‘Cause & Consequence’ & ‘Similarity & Difference’. For example in Year 3/4 we will use a timeline to place ‘Stone Age tools’ on to show how they have might have changed through the era’s and help to explain why.
We look at a range of primary and secondary sources in order to identify ways how we find out about the past and then make our own interpretations of the past. We can look at concepts like 'continuity & change' and 'similarities and differences'. Handling artefacts allows our pupils to use their senses and strengthen their understanding of different aspects of their topic. It also has allowed pupils to develop questioning and problem solving skills. It allows us to also understand how we learn about the past and evaluate their reliability.
Take a look at our whole school coverage...
Whole School History Journey
We have identified a set of substantive concepts ‘Golden Threads’ that children will revisit more than once through the different topics. For example children will look at concepts such as empire and power in key stage 1 in ''Dungeons & Dragons' looking at 'William the Conqueror' and his invasion of England and then how he was crowned the King. Then in LKS2 we would look more deeply into why the Saxons were defeated by the Normans and why they wanted England so much. Then in UKS2 in World War II we look at the development of the British Empire & the challenges it faced.
Whole School Curriculum Coverage
This document shows the broad and balanced History topics we teach, which is matched to the 'National History Curriculum objectives'. Where there is a linked Geography unit our planning enables these to run concurrently or previous or following half term to it to allow the strong curriculum links.