History Curriculum – Primary
“History is who we are and why we are the way we are”
What is the intention of the KS1 and KS2 History Curriculum?
Our History curriculum will engage our pupils in questions about Britain’s past and that of the wider-world. The subject provides a historical context that can help pupils to understand the present, appreciate the challenges of our time, and prepare them for the future.
Our pupils will learn about the actions and motives of key people, nations and civilisations - their achievements and mistakes, and the impact of each, over time. Pupils will acquire knowledge of different cultures, beliefs and values and how they were shaped. We want our pupils to develop an understanding of themselves and others by reflecting upon similarities, differences and diversity and how we live in an interdependent global world.
As such, our children will develop the knowledge and behaviours to enable them to be successful and aspirational individuals. It is a means to empower pupils to become:
- Resilient learners
- Respectful individuals
- Responsible citizens
What is the aim of the History Curriculum?
- To build understanding and complex knowledge around the ‘Big Ideas’ through a range of contexts by ensuring that children:
- acquire detailed knowledge about the past, their local area, British Isles and International history.
-develop an understanding of complex, substantive concepts e.g. democracy, power, church, invasion
-develop an understanding of the discipline of history and its second order concepts
-develop historical thinking
- To ensure pupils develop their communication and vocabulary, by confidently expressing their understanding, thoughts, feelings and opinions in a range of contexts by ensuring that children:
-develop their vocabulary by being explicitly taught new language in a range of contexts
- communicate using history-specific vocabulary, in a way that reflects the discipline
- develop a holistic understanding of the ‘Big Ideas’ through debates and discussions
- To take pupils out of their daily experience to inspire ambition by ensuring that children:
-understand how history directly links to their world and lives, through career-path examples
- learn through both explicit and discovery learning, promoting a deep and secure understanding of history
- To foster a love of learning by ensuring that children:
-Are successful in their learning, through a careful approach of ‘chunking’ lessons, which builds a strong foundation for further learning
-Are provided with authentic resources and materials to excite and motivate them
-Are provided with rich and relevant enrichment activities that foster both their diverse and epistemic curiosity, promoting lasting engagement
How will this be implemented?
Historical knowledge, substantive and second order concepts are carefully blended together through planning, teaching and enrichment activities to ensure maximum impact.
- Acquiring detailed knowledge
Pupils will become more knowledgeable about the past, though developing both their diverse and epistemic curiosity – fostering a love of life-long learning. This is supported through a carefully planned curriculum, with resources which map out and reinforce the core and substantive knowledge. Clear unit overviews, knowledge organisers, key vocabulary and retrieval tasks have also been carefully woven in to lesson plans to ensure that key knowledge and vocabulary is made clear.
Lessons are delivered in manageable ‘chunks’ to ensure comprehension that promote in-depth learning that ‘sticks’. Children are taught new vocabulary explicitly, which revisited across the curriculum. Rich oracy opportunities are provided, allowing them to utilise the new language correctly in a range of contexts. As such, learning goes beyond just performance knowledge in the classroom to becoming permanently-acquired knowledge.
- Developing an understanding of complex, substantive concepts e.g. democracy, power, church, invasion
Pupils understanding of first order concepts, such as ‘empire’ ‘democracy’ ‘rights’ is taught explicitly though the same concepts but in different contexts. Teaching the same concepts in different contexts helps pupils’ understanding of them to evolve and advance, and pupils appreciate the complexity and changeability of the concepts
- Develop an understanding of the discipline of history and its second order concepts
History units and individual lessons will be guided by an enquiry question. These enquiries are framed around second order concepts which are the building blocks of the discipline. These include: change and continuity; causation; significance; interpretation and using evidence.
As such, the enquiry questions provide a lens through which to filter the vast amounts of possible content that could be taught. The enquiry question for the unit, weaves the sequence of lessons together, promoting pupils to identify links between them. We want our pupils to acquire and utilise in-depth knowledge as opposed to a broad range of isolated facts.
- Develop historical thinking
We deliver a history curriculum that encourages pupils to think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and interpretations, and develop perspective and judgement. Children are provided with high quality talk opportunities to allow them discuss and debate their learning and promote historical and critical thinking, through:
- Examining contemporary sources, including artefacts, pictures and texts
- Examining different historical interpretations
- Sorting events in different ways, including in terms of chronology; short- and long-term causes; positive and negative; order of importance
- Telling historical narratives as stories
- Enrichment visits and opportunities of historical significance
The Harris Federation provides training to teachers and History subject leaders on how to build their knowledge and understanding of the History curriculum. Training focuses on methods of teaching the subject in a way that maintains the integrity of the subject, achieving the four areas of implementation, whilst also stimulating curiosity and engagement.
How will we judge the impact of the history curriculum?
The history curriculum will make a profound and positive impact on the outcomes of every pupil. The structure of the curriculum enables us to return to core knowledge repeatedly over the years, embedding key aspects of understanding. The curriculum documents for history, outline the key enquiries and core knowledge for each historical enquiry and these are supported with: knowledge organisers defining the core knowledge; lesson resources exploring the core knowledge and Low Stakes assessments to help teachers judge how far the core knowledge has been retained by pupils. As such, the impact of the curriculum will be judged by how well the pupils can remember, understand and apply the core knowledge they have learned.
Teachers should frequently reflect on whether students know more and are able to remember historical information from earlier in the course as well as what they have most recently studied. They should look to ascertain whether students are becoming more comfortable with the first and second order concepts and are developing their ability to articulate their understanding, explanations and arguments verbally and in writing. Our teachers rely on a range of assessment tools to allow them to do this, including:
- Starter recall quizzes
- Assessment for learning
- Extended writing
- Challenge tasks
- Multiple Choice Quizzes
- End-of-unit extended tasks
- Parent Feedback
- Pupil voice
- Learning walks
- Books looks
Teachers will also receive feedback on the impact they are having through observation, whilst Network Events will provide an opportunity to share best practice and pupil outcomes across academies within the Federation.
First Order Concepts
Also known as substantive concepts, like “power” “democracy”
Second Order Concepts
These shape our enquiries and are key the discipline of histories. Causation, Consequence, Change and Continuity.
The key knowledge that is defined, which the pupils need to learn
The process of how we learn about history – asking questions about the past. These questions span a series of lessons.