At Okehampton Primary School it is our intent that the history element of our curriculum will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world and inspire pupils’ curiosity about the world around them. In history, as in all subjects, we are adamant that children who are at risk of underachieving have their needs skilfully and consistently met to protect them from this risk.
As our pupils progress, they will become equipped to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, use subject specific vocabulary, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. We want 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 their own identity and the challenges of their time. We aim to deliver the curriculum in an engaging way, making use of experience days, trips, artefact handling and making the most of our diverse local heritage sites.
At Okehampton Primary School, we implement a progressive history curriculum which builds on prior knowledge and skills year on year. Pupils will revisit historical skills and knowledge in order to embed and deepen understanding, retrieval quizzes are used at the start of each lesson to achieve this. At the beginning of each new history topic, teachers refer to timelines to develop children’s understanding of chronology. We also develop and practice more complex terminology that is referred back to frequently. Each topic is introduced with reference to the chronology of previous topics (including those from previous years). Consideration is given to how the wide range of abilities will be catered for within each lesson, as well as how learners will be supported as part of the school’s commitment to inclusion. Cross-curricular links are woven into a unit, providing pupils with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge in other subjects.
The impact of our history curriculum is that our pupils demonstrate a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, in addition to being curious to know more about the past. By the end of year 6, children have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Use evidence to distinguish fact from fiction or discuss the likelihood of accounts being true. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Egyptians. In their studies in History, pupils ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective, empathy and judgement. They are equipped with historical and analytical skills for life as an adult in the wider world and are ready for the secondary curriculum. Most of all, pupils will appreciate history as a tapestry of many stories from all over the world, to be linked with many aspects of learning and not just as one discrete subject.
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.