At St Agnes’, we believe that an engaging and relevant history curriculum inspires children to want to know more about the past and to think and act as a historian. Children have opportunities to investigate and interpret the past; to understand chronology; to build an overview of Britain’s past as well as that of the wider world; and to be able to communicate using technically accurate vocabulary.
In line with the national curriculum 2014, we aim to ensure that children acquire a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past, and that of the wider world. Children are encouraged to follow lines of historical enquiry; to think critically; evaluate evidence and develop judgements. They begin to understand the complexities of societies and the impact of change on these. Crucially, they can compare life in the past to that of their own experiences, identifying the challenges of both.
The history curriculum has been devised to make full use of resources within the immediate and wider local area, thereby enabling children to develop a deep understanding of the history of their locality.
Our history curriculum is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning, and our curriculum units are built around key themes that are revisited to ensure children can make sense of the links between different historical time periods, draw parallels and identify contrasts. These themes are as follows:
In so doing, our intentions are that children know more and remember more.
By the end of their schooling at St Agnes’, children possess a broad historical knowledge and can demonstrate skills that include the following:
- Relate current studies to previous studies and make comparisons between different times in history;
- Use dates (including relevant terminology for timeframes) precisely and accurately when talking about the past;
- Place events, people and changes within a chronological framework.
- Recognise that there are many representations and interpretations of an event/historical period through studying a range of sources and categorising them by reliability;
- Carry out an historical enquiry, using a range of sources to show how evidence is used to make historical claims.
- Develop awareness of the social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of societies and peoples studied, including how these are influenced by historical events over time;
- Give reasons for main events and changes.
- Identify changes within and across different time periods;
- Analyse trends and frame historically valid questions;
- Make appropriate use of dates and historical terminology, including abstract terms such as empire, parliament and peasantry.
- Compare and contrast aspects of the past with aspects of life in the 21stcentury;
- Understand that the work of individuals and events can have a lasting impact on future societies and technological advancements.
Key Stage 1
Pupils develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented. Across Key Stage 1, pupils are taught about:
- changes within living memory;
- events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally; The Great Fire of London;
- the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements; George Stephenson
- significant historical events, people and places in their own locality; Grace Darling
Key Stage 2
Pupils 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. They note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
Across Key Stage 2, pupils are taught about:
- changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
- the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
- Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England
- a local history study; The Great Fire of Gateshead
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066; The Victorians
- the achievements of the earliest civilizations; an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Greece; a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
- a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history; a study of the Golden Age of Islamic Civilisation
History is taught in discrete blocks, so that children achieve depth in their learning. Lessons begin with a key question that provide a hook for stimulating learning. Teachers give a clear focus to the requirements of the national curriculum objectives for history – these are specifically referenced alongside the key question for each lesson. Children are given a variety of experiences both in and out of the classroom where appropriate to create memorable learning opportunities and to further support and develop their understanding.
Pupil progress is assessed at the end of the teaching and learning of curriculum units using a range of formative assessment activities including assessing pupil outcomes against key skills and knowledge criteria. Pupils are also given opportunities to demonstrate the application of their learning through responses to our ‘Big Ideas’ challenges that are set at the end of each curriculum unit. These are designed to provide children with an opportunity to reflect, refine, extend and make links with their learning. Subject leaders and coordinators hold regular pupil conferencing activities to determine how children are making sense of historical themes across year groups and key stages over time; how they know more and remember more.