At Rolleston Primary School, we have specifically designed our History curriculum to enthuse children’s curiosity about the past and reflect on it, making meaningful links to the present day. We are committed to not only developing learner’s historical knowledge but also focusing on the specific historical skills needed to understand what it means to be a historian and to develop a secure chronological narrative. We strive to ensure that the teaching of History encourages children to ask and answer questions about the past, analyse sources of evidence, think critically, understand interpretation and perspective and create informed judgements from their knowledge and skills.
At Rolleston, History is delivered weekly as a discrete subject as well as being exploited cross-curricular whenever possible. During History lessons, it is made explicit to children that they are learning history skills and lessons are designed to specifically promote progress in this area.
Our History curriculum has been carefully designed to ensure that children receive a broad and rich amount of content as well as giving them the best possible opportunity to succeed in developing history skills. The coverage of history in KS1 allows children to explore changes in their own lives and their families’ lives, look at the lives of significant individuals and start to look at important events beyond living memory (first aeroplane and Great Fire of London). The Great Fire of London is the last unit taught in year 2 as it allows itself to introduce elements of historical enquiry that the children will then build upon in KS2. In KS2, history is taught under three strands (that run through each year group): A British Invasion, a key era post 1066 and Ancient/prehistoric history. All units within these strands have been carefully designed to go in chronological order to help children embed a sense of time and how periods of time can relate to one another.
To ensure our History curriculum covers the skills outlined in the National Curriculum, progression is planned in knowledge, skills and vocabulary. To promote the progression of skills, lessons are carefully designed to focus on a specific enquiry question where children will gain the skills and knowledge to successfully answer the question. Additionally, a thread of key themes such as: monarchy, invasion, settlements, trade and crime and punishment run through our curriculum to allow children to relate periods of time to one another so that they can start to compare similarities and differences, change and continuity and significance.
Due to our history units being in chronological order as well as having key themes that run through units across the school, prior learning is always referred to and built upon allowing children to make clear comparisons between periods of time. Our lessons ensure that skills are revisited and consolidated before introducing new skills and challenge. Key vocabulary is planned into our lessons and revisited through our oracy policy.
Key vocabulary is explicitly displayed on working walls as well as timelines being used in the classroom environment to be referred to during learning. Within the school, there are a variety of fiction and non-fiction books relating to each history topic to further develop children’s historical understanding. Additionally, model artefacts and other sources of evidence (e.g. letters and pictures) have been purchased to enhance historical enquiry lessons allowing children to gain a secure understanding of how information from the past is gained and develop skills of interpretation.
History is assessed through teacher judgment and monitored by the subject leader. A progression grid of skills has been designed to support teachers in their assessment and have a clear understanding of what children need to learn. Children are assessed at the start and end of units to show their progression and end of unit tasks are carefully selected to allow children to use their history skills and knowledge to form a judgement to an overarching historical enquiry question that runs through a whole sequence of lessons.
The impact of having a carefully designed curriculum and lessons and history being promoted across the school through displays and assemblies will increase the profile of history. Whole-school and parental engagement will be improved through the use of history-specific home learning tasks and opportunities suggested in lessons and overviews for wider learning. We want to ensure that history is loved by teachers and pupils across school, therefore encouraging them to want to continue building on this wealth of historical knowledge and understanding, now and in the future. The impact will be monitored through pupil voice that will show a progression of understanding and confidence when discussing history, books and final pieces of work to showcase skills learned and ongoing monitoring of the subject leader. The subject leader will continue to support and work with teachers to ensure history is being taught at the highest possible standard.