Curriculum Overview and Policy
Download: History Policy 2022-2023 [PDF]
Intent – History
Our aim at St Oswald’s Primary School, when teaching history, is to ignite and stimulate the children’s curiosity, in order for them to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding of historical events in Britain and the wider world. We teach children a sense of chronology, in order to develop a sense of identity and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. This enables our children to learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain.
Through finding out about how and why the world, 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 identity 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 create the future.
To ensure that pupils develop a secure knowledge that they can build on, our History curriculum is organised into a progression model that outlines the skills, knowledge and vocabulary to be taught in a sequentially coherent way. 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. In EYFS, children explore History through exploring the world, looking at their life timeline and sequencing main events in their life.
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.
Implementation – History
At St Oswald’s, our curriculum is shaped by our school mission statement, ‘Together with Jesus, we will learn and grow in faith’, which aims to enable all children; regardless of background, ability or additional needs, to become the very best version of themselves.
We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression document. The skills and knowledge for each year group have been mapped out across the school from EYFS to Year 6, ensuring progression between each year group. Key skills are then revisited, embedded and built upon as pupils move through the topics and year groups. Teachers plan lessons for their class using our progression of knowledge and skills document and high-quality teaching responds to the needs of the children.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, history is taught within a theme over a half term. In order to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum objectives in history, Key Stage 1 cover two topics per year, which offers reading and writing opportunities related to the topic being taught. In year 3 and 4, as part of the Opening Worlds humanities programme, history is taught once a week, for an hour and a half, running alongside and linking with geography. In Years 5 and 6, history is taught as an isolated topic in three half terms across the year, with geography being taught in the remaining three half terms.
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.
Each classroom has a History working wall display which includes the topic title, big question, key vocabulary and a time-line pin-pointing when the time 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 lessons 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. During History lessons, children are assessed through formative assessment at the beginning of every lessons during the recap stage. They are also continually assessed throughout the lesson due to our live marking policy, and again during the plenary stage of the lesson. Summative assessment takes place at the end of every topic when children answer the big topic question, by completing an end of topic task, and similarly, during the Opening Worlds end of topic synoptic task.
This year, we have introduced History Ambassadors to school, where one child from each class in Year 1 to 6 have been appointed to this role to celebrate their passion for history in a variety of ways. These pupils will have the opportunity to get involved in special historical events that we honour in school, such as Remembrance Day, Holocaust Memorial Day and The King’s Coronation.
We believe that our historians learn in a variety of settings, through different opportunities and so where possible, we encourage learning to move away from the classroom to educational visits, utilising our surrounding historical areas, such as our Liverpool museums. Similarly, when possible, we create opportunities for visitors to come into school to also enhance children’s learning to create memorable, effective learning opportunities for all.