History at Overleigh St Mary’s
At Overleigh St. Mary’s Primary School we aim for all children to be Informed, Articulate and Empowered. We believe that, through the study of history, children make sense of their world and enrich their understanding of it. Our History curriculum seeks to engage children’s curiosity about Britains’ past and that of the wider world. We aim to equip children with the knowledge and understanding of key aspects of our own History, as well as help them develop the skills they need to make connections to their own histories and evaluate historical sources of evidence. All children, including those with SEND or disadvantaged groups, fully access the History curriculum. This may include additional adult support, adapted work outcomes, taught vocabulary scaffolds, enquiry scaffolds or adaptions to materials, including chronological aids such as timelines, to support children in becoming effective, efficient and curious historians.
Through our history curriculum, children are able to gain historical perspective and develop a growing sense of chronology and placing their knowledge into these timescales. The use of cumulative timelines in our knowledge organisers helps children to better understand how their learning fits into history topics studied in previous years. Additionally, our curriculum makes full use of the immediate and wider local area which enables children to develop a deep understanding of the rich history of their locality.
Our curriculum gives children the opportunity to articulate their learning through the teaching of subject specific vocabulary and focussed talk during lessons. This helps to develop their ability to ask questions, make connections and interpret evidence from a wide range of historical sources and texts. The overall aim being to give children the tools to deepen their understanding and support historical recounts.
Our curriculum aims to empower children to think critically, evaluate evidence and arguments to enable them to develop perspective and judgement about the way the past is represented and the potential bias in historical accounts. In particular, we seek to reflect the diversity of our community through our curriculum to enable pupils to see themselves in history. Resources and topics are selected to provide a more accurate, more inclusive and more intercultural representation of the past. For example, when studying the suffragettes in Year 2, the curriculum not only focuses on Emmaline Pankhurst, but also focuses on other key figures at the time such as Mary Seacole.
Children will also explore history within contexts that connect to their own lives e.g. significant events and people from the local area. This gives them a better understanding of the area that they live. For example, in Key Stage 1 our curriculum focuses on the lives of significant local people such as George Mottershead (the founder of Chester Zoo).
We also aim to empower all those who have SEND or are disadvantaged to fully access the history curriculum. This may include additional adult support or use of visuals for instructions. Structured sentence stems and taught vocabulary scaffolds children in discussions so that all are able to access the topics to their own level/ability.
Our History curriculum lays out the sequential steps to be taught so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and pupils can work towards clearly defined high quality outcomes. We have a strong emphasis on chronology with each year group spending time at the beginning of each history unit to assess where this topic fits in relation to that which has previously been studied. The use of cumulative timelines in our knowledge organisers furthers this with the timeline for each year group getting progressively larger as the children get older.
We encourage visits to the local area and use of local artefacts to promote contextualised learning. With a rich history in Chester, our curriculum aims to give children a chance to explore our local area through these visits. In year 3, for example, children spend time focussing on the importance of Chester to the Romans and not just the importance of Roman Britain. This emphasis on contextual learning is a common thread to our curriculum and begins in EYFS where children begin their journey in history by studying their world and the significant people within it.
We teach history as a discrete subject, although will link to other subjects/areas where it benefits learning. Our key vocabulary is highlighted in our knowledge organisers and is revisited at the start of each lesson to check if there are any misconceptions. These knowledge organisers are then left on tables during lessons so that pupils are able to further their own learning and independence.
Area of history
Understanding the world – People and communities - My family
Understanding the world – My world - My school
Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally - Great Fire of London
Changes within living memory – 1990s
The lives of significant individuals – King Charles III
Significant historical events and people in their own locality – Chester Zoo and George Mottershead
The lives of significant individuals – Neil Armstrong and Christopher Columbus
Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally – Rosa Parks and Emily Davison
Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
The achievements of the earliest civilizations (Shang Dynasty /Indus Valley / Ancient Sumer) and a depth study of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history –Mayan civilization
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
Local history study / local geography study – Chester through time
A study of an aspect or theme in British history – Crime and Punishment
A study of an aspect or theme in British history – WWII
Our history learning in Key Stage 1 and EYFS starts by giving children knowledge about their local environment and the United Kingdom. They explore their place in the world and begin to understand concepts such as time. This progresses into Key Stage 2, where children extend their knowledge and understanding beyond their local area and explore periods of history beyond living memory. This is achieved by looking at our curriculum in four different strands:
- Events, people and changes
- Interpretation, enquiry and using sources
All children, including those with SEND and other vulnerable groups, will have access to the full breadth of the curriculum with work being adapted through the adaption of materials, vocabulary support and historical enquiry equipment, or through expected work outcomes, by the class teacher.
In History, children will be provided with opportunities and experiences to reach the desired national curriculum expectations by the end of Key Stage 2. Our teachers measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A beginning of unit test to check current understanding of the topic(s).
- ‘Sticky learning’ starter tasks that reinforce previous learning and understanding.
- Opportunities to explore all key vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson.
- Link each of our core strands to previous learning, to compare and contrast and to review understanding.
- Provide opportunities for open-ended tasks, to allow the more able to demonstrate their greater knowledge
- Assess children at the end of the unit against key knowledge and learning
The leadership team check that this impact is being secured through monitoring the subject on a regular and frequent basis. The method of monitoring supports the ongoing development of the curriculum. This includes:
- Staff subject knowledge, which is audited each year to ensure knowledge is secure, and additional support provided if necessary.
- Termly staff meetings to discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of topics with the subject leaders. From this, medium term planning is amended and adapted to ensure the curriculum remains relevant for the children.
- A ‘pupil voice’, which is conducted at the beginning and end of each year to allow pupils to contribute to their curriculum content.
- Bi-termly monitoring of work against the medium-term plans, so that inconsistencies can be addressed.
- Tracking of content against the long-term plan of the school, to ensure the full breadth of the curriculum is met.
The impact of these are measured through regular formative and summative assessment. The aim being that children are curious to know more about the past and ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. It is key that children become increasingly aware of how historical events have shaped the world that they currently live in.