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History

"History does not give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future."

Robert Penn Warren.

Intent

At Lime Walk Primary School, the design of the History curriculum has the idea of “understanding the past in order to understand our present and face our future” at its epicentre. Overall, we aim for children to be able to explore and discover the key events, people, civilisations and societies from a range of eras in the past, and compare and contrast these with how we live today.

We encourage children to approach each unit with a mind-set of curiosity, linking the past with our world today and in addition to asking “what” we know, asking questions about “how” we know. We believe this will greatly broaden a child’s understanding of the past, and foster a love of learning about historic people, places and events. Each unit covers a specific time period, and as such, children are able to build their knowledge of the past and develop their skills in a variety of contexts

The History curriculum has been carefully designed so that knowledge and skills are built upon throughout a child’s learning journey. It is a curriculum accessible to individual learning needs and provides a very rich array of teaching and learning opportunities and styles. It encourages children to question what we know, how we know it, and what the most reliable sources of information might be. This encouragement of questioning and critical thinking begins as early as Key Stage One.

Throughout their history learning journey, the children will build upon their knowledge by revisiting various themes across the units of work (technological advancement, empire, societal and cultural change, monarchy, exploration and invasion and settlement), allowing them to develop their historical knowledge and skills across a variety of historical contexts. 

Implementation

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children begin to understand the concept of history and the past through discussions about their own lives and the lives of their families. They discuss members of their families, and their unique roles in society. In this way, they begin exploring the concept of the past-tense. They discuss important family events and look at pictures to support their telling of these stories, a skill further built upon when looking at historical people and events in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. The children also begin to look at characters and figures from the past, and explore similarities and differences.

In Key Stage One and Two the children will cover a unit of History once per term. The school uses the Twinkl PlanIt schemes for most units, using the key ideas from these and adapting them to suit our individual classes. The way the units have been selected ensures that each part of the National Curriculum is covered in the implementation of these units. In Key Stage One, the children delve further into what the past is, and begin to look at the similarities and differences between their own lives, and the lives of the adults in their family. They use this knowledge of the past to then begin exploring key events in Britain’s history, as well as looking at significant people who had an impact both nationally and globally.

The children will make comparisons with their own lives and begin to build a sense of chronology when discussing these events, understanding where these significant events and people fit within a chronological framework. In Key Stage Two, the units have been carefully mapped out so children are taken on a historical journey beginning in Year 3 and ending in Year 6. The units are mapped chronologically, so that children can continually build on their historical knowledge as they progress through the Key Stage. Throughout their learning journey, the children are developing a variety of skills that are mapped carefully to ensure progression. Many of these skills are revisited in different contexts throughout a single year, ensuring the children can apply the skill across any era studied.

The children also continue to develop the skills in comparing, questioning and critical thinking, analysing sources to decide if what we know is accurate based on where the information was gathered. The vocabulary developed across each unit also allows children to identify and then apply new language to different periods of time being studied. Ultimately, the children are given many different opportunities to build on their skills as young historians, as progression of skills and chronology are at the heart of the curriculum.

Impact

The impact of our curriculum and teaching can be seen in the children’s books. The children complete a variety of tasks that, altogether, allow for a deep understanding of each topic and opportunities to present their knowledge in a variety of ways. This includes research tasks about past events, periods or societies, writing in role as people from the past, and comparing and contrasting elements of the past not only with their own lives today, but with other past time periods.

Children are also always given the opportunity to reflect on their learning, discussing and questioning elements of each lesson, which develops critical thinking skills.

The learning is informally assessed in each lesson through discussion about the content and through talking through the children’s work with them each lesson. Often, teachers can clearly see the depth of a child’s knowledge by exploring how much depth in which a child can talk about the lives of certain individuals and societies from the past, with questioning and critical thinking skills being developed in this way as they move through the school.

By the end of their time at Lime Walk Primary School, through the contexts of the wide variety of units the children have explored, children should all leave with the ability to discuss, infer and ask questions about the past, and be able to make comparisons of these with their own lives in the present day, allowing them to think about their futures. 

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