Our History curriculum seeks to give pupils a solid foundation and broad overview in some of the most important periods, events and themes in British and World history. It is comprehensive but necessarily selective.
In KS1, pupils learn about the passing of time and how things that they are familiar with today such as clothing, food and transport have changed throughout different periods of time. Pupils in Year 1 begin learning about the 1960’s and how their grandparents lived which is a unit that builds upon learning in EYFS. In Reception, as part of the Understanding the World early learning goal, children explore family customs and routines, for example Grandparents in their world and similarities and differences within their community.
Units are sequenced in chronological order. The KS1 curriculum has many links to KS2, for example Victorian Britain is visited again in Year 6 when the children study the Industrial Revolution. The influence of the industrial revolution on today is explored in Year 1 as children learn about the impact of the invention of the telephone. Other periods of history are visited again in KS2 such as Stuart, Roman and Pre-Historic Britain.
The Year Two Stone Age Britain unit gives children a broad knowledge of life in that period. This prepares them for their Prehistoric Britain unit in Year 3 where they delve even deeper into that period of history.
We aim for pupils to leave EYFS and KS1 with an understanding of what has gone before them and how it impacts on life today – how we learn from the past and how the past has shaped things as they are today.
In KS2, the curriculum gives pupils a strong grounding in British history, taught chronologically from the first settlements through Roman Britain, the Vikings, Anglo-Saxon, the medieval period and up to the Industrial Revolution and touching on Britain during the two World Wars. While studying these periods the units explore themes of change and continuity, perspective and power.
Knowledge organisers are shared at the start of every unit. Pupils are taught strategies to help them learn the knowledge and vocabulary that they contain. We also share ideas with parents on how to support their children to learn the content at home. Vocabulary is taught explicitly with opportunities provided for deliberate practice. Pre teaching is used to support any identified pupils to be able to access the age-related curriculum.
We have carefully selected the five units exploring world history to provide global coverage and introduce a number of themes. This not only allows pupils to learn more but helps them to remember more.
The unit on Ancient Greece introduces key ideas around power and its legitimacy, the Shang Dynasty gives insight into the progress and achievements in China at a time when there was much less occurring in Europe. The unit on the Middle East gives pupils an overview of the history of this vitally important region and the reasons for the intractable problems faced today. We chose to include units on Benin Kingdom to challenge the narrative often prevalent in the teaching of African history – celebrating a highly successful civilisation while introducing the slave trade. Finally, the unit on Civil Rights provides a survey of the way black people have been treated in the USA, through the Civil Rights movement and Dr King, right the way to the Black Lives Matter.
By bringing pupils up to the present day – in the case of Civil Rights and the Middle East – the curriculum demonstrates the importance of past events in shaping the world of today. Throughout the curriculum connections and comparison are made between events and individuals; the unit on the industrial revolution exploring the Great Reform Act by taking pupils from the Magna Carta (which they have studied years before) through the changing seat of power in England over the subsequent six hundred years.
Throughout the curriculum, pupils are taught the substantive content which defines each period. This knowledge is meticulously planned and regularly revisited and elaborated upon. Each lesson begins with retrieval practise to assess how much pupils have remembered. Each unit ends with an essay allowing pupils the opportunity to write about the knowledge and vocabulary that they have learnt.
More abstract concepts, too, are carefully developed across the key stage, so that pupils gain an increasingly sophisticated understanding of, for example, kingship or empire. However, it is not only substantive knowledge that is taught. The disciplinary skills of history, such as source analysis, interpretation, perspective, continuity and change are all explicitly taught and practised.
The curriculum is deliberately ambitious. It challenges pupils to make connections across time and place and sets up pupils for, we hope, a life-long love and understanding of an important subject, while providing a foundation of understanding that will make them curious, active citizens of this country and the world.
History Curriculum Documents:
To view all Knowledge Organisers for all year groups click on the folder link below: