What does History look like at St Luke’s?
We have carefully designed our history curriculum to provide a programme of study, which enables pupils to achieve the aims of the National Curriculum before the end of Year 6. The content has been selected specifically to help them gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Where possible, children learn about the past through primary, first-hand sources, for instance, artefacts and photographs and secondary sources such as websites, articles and information texts. We also make use of our local area to pursue historical inquiry as well as discovering how life and society have changed over time and subsequently impacted our current lives.
Opportunities are planned in for pupils to explore a range of worldwide historical figures and learn about how their achievements or actions have impacted society today. We aim to broaden their understanding of the past, but also 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.
Underpinning our history curriculum are key questions and historical skills designed to enable pupils to ‘work historically’ exploring topics, building on prior knowledge, asking perceptive questions, thinking critically, weighing evidence, sifting arguments, and developing perspective and judgement. It also enables pupils to understand how historians investigate the past, and how they construct historical claims, arguments and accounts. To ensure learning is processed into the long-term memory regular low steak quizzes are used to revise and recall key knowledge.
The curriculum is progressive, including substantive knowledge, topics, concepts and skills that pupils must learn to accelerate later learning. Certain curriculum content, such as key concepts, are repeated throughout so that pupils can encounter it more than once, in different contexts, and secure in their long-term memory. For example, in Year 1, pupils study the lives of significant individuals and their international achievements such as Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole. They then continue to explore the great impact women have had on society and how the roles of women have changed over time. Studying the likes of Amelia Earhart in Year 2, Anne Frank and Fatima Al-Fihri in Year 5 and Malala Yousafzai and Emmeline Pankhurst in Year 6. They will see Florence Nightingale again in Year 6 when they study the history of medicine. Other concepts that run throughout the curriculum are monarchy, government and democracy.
Our Early Years curriculum is taken from the statutory framework. At St Luke’s we ensure that all areas of EYFS learning are important and interconnected using planned, purposeful play and a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. Your child will start to gain the historical knowledge that they’ll build on throughout their primary school years as the learning in Reception is closely linked to the learning in Year 1. Many of our history topics are built on the learning done in the ‘Understanding the World’ area, looking at ‘Past and Present’. We begin with looking at our personal history and teach the children to talk about the lives of the people around them and learn more about their roles in society. We look at similarities and differences between things in the past and now, using their own experiences as well as through the use of engaging and purposeful texts shared in class. Through these books, the children will build an understanding of the past through settings, characters and events explored during storytelling. Children then continue their learning and further develop their understanding independently in the environment around them, we give them hands on opportunities to observe, ask and answer questions and become inquisitive. By introducing our youngest children to historical objects and photographs as well as key vocabulary, we are able to develop their inquisitive nature. This further develops their ability to find similarities and differences between the past and the present, helping to prepare them to be eager historians when they get to Year 1!
Key Stage One and Key Stage Two
All pupils in years 1-6 receive a minimum of 1-hour History teaching a week, alternating half-termly with Geography. All History lessons start with an activity that links to prior learning, enabling the children to recall information, key vocabulary and concepts taught in previous lessons. This activity helps them with their new learning, something that is particularly important as a result of the pandemic. Key vocabulary is displayed in class and explained to support the children’s learning and any new skills are modelled by the teacher before the children begin to apply these independently or as a part of a group.
In all History lessons, this is what you might typically see:
How have we responded to the pandemic?
We know how important it is to give pupils the time they need to repeat or practice some of their learning so that they can remember it in the long term when they progress through school and onto High School. Following on from the pandemic, we have revisited our History overview in order to identify gaps in pupil’s knowledge and skills. Teachers used this information to inform planning, ensuring that any foundation skills and vocabulary that had been missed were included in planning and the delivery of teaching so that all children are given the opportunity to be successful in their learning. Our History curriculum highlights links to prior learning within history and geography and we have identified links to future topics so that teachers are aware of how the children’s current learning links into learning to follow.
Our pupils love taking their learning outside of the classroom too, being able to explore what they are learning in different surroundings which is why we have loved the return to taking our pupils out on educational visits to places such as the Fusilier’s Museum and have lots more planned ahead! We are currently planning enriching experiences, including trips and visits to enhance our history curriculum. This will be developed throughout the 2021-2022 academic year according to COVID-19 restrictions and the needs of our children.
How can I support my child’s learning in History?
Before we start a new History topic, your child’s ‘knowledge organiser’ will be available for you on the school website. This will tell you what your child will be learning in History that half term and will give you the key vocabulary that your child will be using in class. Another great way to support learning in History is to get out and about in Manchester and the North West, you could visit some of these superb venues:
Manchester Museum – located in the University on Oxford Road, it is very family friendly and has lots of fantastic exhibitions, there are also the ‘Big Saturday’ events with a new topic being covered each month and it’s free!
Imperial War Museum
People’s History Museum
BBC Bitesize also has lots of information on their website which will also help with our History curriculum and they have little quizzes which children love to do.
Reading and History
We increasingly use high-quality non-fiction texts to further enhance the learning experience, for example, year groups in Key Stage 2 frequently dip into Steve Noon's ‘A Street Through Time’ to help visualise times in history. This enables our pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a topic through Reading and Writing. Lots of the sources used and information children have to use in history are written down and the children need to be able to read them, as well as using the fantastic texts we have in our school to support the teaching of history!
Assessment in History
We know that it is important to monitor children’s progress in school across the curriculum, one way to do this is through assessment and teachers are continually assessing the children in all types of ways so they can help them progress further with their learning. Assessment in History is carried out within each lesson and at also at the end of the topic that is being covered.
All Key Stage One and Key Stage Two classes complete an assessment at the end of each topic and these can take a variety of forms e.g. quizzes, information leaflets and fact files that assess what has been taught that half term. This will then inform teacher assessment for History at different points in the year and helps us to understand where there are gaps in learning. These assessments also help the teachers understand what knowledge the children have remembered from previous year groups. We also carry out deep dives into history, where we ask groups of children about their learning, including key questions from different topics. This is a fantastic way for the children to share their knowledge and excitement about history.
Have a look on Twitter at the fantastic history work going on at St Luke's: #Stlukesburywidercurriculum
RECOVERY CURRICULUM – COVID 19 (September 2021 latest update)
Throughout school closures, history was still taught via remote learning through live lessons across KS1 and KS2. However, we recognise that learning will have been lost due to the pandemic.
Since returing to school in March 2021, summative assessment informed teachers of specific topics within the history curriculum that needed reinforcing or teaching in more detail. A bespoke curriculum was then created to enable these gaps in knowledge to be addressed and for children to have opportunities to explore key events or eras.
Teaching history remotely meant that opportunites for children to work historically were very limited. For example, pupils were unable to explore primary and secondary sources of evidence which reduced opportunities to develop skills in concluding and evaluating such evidence.
Therefore a priority for Autumn term is to provide children with experiences to explore primary and secondary sources, such as handling real life arefacts, visiting museums or places of historical interest and reading and watching accounts of historical events.