Curriculum Overview and Policy
Download: History Policy 2023-2024 [PDF]
Intent – History
Our aim at St Oswald’s Primary School, when teaching history, is to ignite and stimulate the children’s curiosity, allowing them to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of the history of Britain and the wider world.
Through researching how our country, culture and local community have developed over time, children understand how the past influences the present. History enables children to develop a context for their growing sense of time and place, and a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. What they learn through history can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values to help shape the future.
To ensure that pupils develop a secure knowledge that informs future learning, our History curriculum is organised into a progression of skills that incorporates the knowledge and vocabulary to be taught at each stage of their school journey. Chronological Understanding; knowledge and interpretation, Historical Enquiry; Organise, Evaluate and Communicate Information are all mapped out to ensure that pupils build on secure, prior knowledge. To ensure coverage, each of these strands are carefully mapped out on a long-term plan, with medium-term plans focussing on content knowledge, vocabulary and skills in more detail. History is delivered through subject specific teaching organised into blocks under a theme, with cross-curricular links to other subjects made to strengthen connections and understanding for pupils.
Our intent is to promote a love of history and so where possible, we encourage learning to move away from the classroom to include educational visits, utilising our culturally rich city and museums.
Implementation – History
At St Oswald’s, our curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children; regardless of background, ability or additional needs, to become the very best version of themselves.
In EYFS, children explore history through exploring the world, looking at their life timeline and sequencing main events in their life.
History at St Oswald’s is taught in rotation with Geography with the exception of our Opening Worlds Scheme, which is followed in year 3, 4 and 5. Here, year 3, 4 and 5 pupils’ access one, one-and-a-half-hour lesson, per week. Opening worlds is a humanities programme combining history and geography, where children learn both topics working simultaneously, thus promoting a deeper understanding of the interlinking topics. The Opening Worlds programme follows ten unique teaching techniques and approaches to ensure knowledge is embedded rapidly, enjoyably, efficiently and inclusively.
The ten teaching strategies and techniques to promote high-leverage teaching are:
- Pre-teach key vocabulary
- Practise storytelling
- Pronounce new words in different contexts
- Pupils pronounce new vocabulary
- Retrieval practice
- Secure fluency
- Use core knowledge
- Secure pace
- Avoid guessing games
- Don’t ask one, ask five
Whilst we are in our third year rolling the Opening World’s programme in lower Key Stage 2, we are striving to implement the ten teaching strategies into our History teaching across the school, using the mastery approach. Using one of the key skills adapted from our Opening Worlds Scheme, we put a lot of emphasis on vocabulary through pre-teaching. By doing this, children can read and understand texts more clearly, allowing them to deepen their knowledge and understanding, which encourages fast-paced lessons, accessible by all and better knowledge retention.
History working walls include the topic title, big question, key vocabulary and a time-line pin-pointing when the event or theme studied in history took place, to help children’s understanding of chronology in relation to other topics and present day, which should continually be referred back to.
All history lessons should begin with a recap of the previous lesson’s learning, to ensure knowledge is reinforced and then built upon during that lesson, with writing opportunities throughout, as well as other opportunities to present learning, such as drawings, verbally and through role play. Children are assessed through formative assessment at the beginning of every lessons during the recap stage. They are continually assessed throughout the lesson using our live marking policy, and again during the plenary stage of the lesson. Summative assessment takes place at the end of each topic when children respond to the big question or completing an end of topic task or quiz.
As a school, we celebrate themed weeks giving first-hand exposure of events and experiences that will become part of our historical culture. The children are invited to participate in current events including the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the Coronation of King Charles III, local events i.e. Eurovision and revisited events such as Remembrance Sunday and Holocaust Memorial Day. We aim to create memorable learning opportunities to further support and develop their understanding of important events in history.
Impact – History
By following our clear intent vision and implementation process coherently as a school, our historians prove to be confident learners, that can talk about what they have learnt in detail, using key facts and vocabulary. The children are able to discuss their historical learning for the previous year, drawing upon key facts.
Our children enjoy History lessons and are eager to know ‘what happened next’, creating a love and passion for learning, which they continually build upon throughout topics and year groups. Children show better retention of knowledge through fun teaching approaches, which they use again later on when revisiting topics.
The standard of learning is evident in children’s work, which clearly shows progression, key skills and core vocabulary used throughout. Each year group was provided with age-appropriate historical vocabulary to display on class working walls and word banks to encourage children to use these within their own work. Through monitoring of books and planning, it is evident that this vocabulary has been implemented into lessons.
The use of historical timelines in classes are supporting children to build a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. This will continue to be an important feature of our History working walls in classes and around school.