Here at Shortbrook Primary School we promote the idea that History is vital to a rich and broad curriculum. For our children, understanding the past allows them to put their lives into context-making sense of the present and to appreciate the complexity and diversity of human societies and development. By developing every child’s chronological understanding of historical events, we intend to excite and inspire our children to be lifelong historians and to create a passion for exploring the past as well as having an appreciation for the present. At Shortbrook Primary School we want all children to learn about significant people and communities from the past with respect, tolerance and an open mind.
For our children it is vitally important for them to understand how historians study the past and construct accounts and by doing so, develop an appreciation of what it takes to think and work like an historian. In an age where questions can be answered by a simple search on a search engine, we aim for our History curriculum to ensure children understand how historians have uncovered the past and continue to do so. Furthermore, we want our Shortbrook historians to be inquisitive learners and to generate lines of enquiry whilst at the same time, avoiding solely making their judgements on past events. Rather, we focus on teaching how and why historians construct different interpretations of the past.
We understand that History can be a tool for our children to learn more than just historical events. By learning about the self-sacrifice from individuals and societies, our children can use positive models for independence, teamwork, resilience and perseverance. For our children to see that change has happened over time, we believe they can see the promise of making a change in their lives, for themselves and their communities.
With strong link to the National Curriculum, our History curriculum is set out in a way which allows our children to build upon historical knowledge and skills year after year. Our spiral curriculum ensures that children’s historical skills are revisited throughout the year as well as developed and revisited as they move through school. This way, our children have the opportunity to utilize skills of which an historian may need. Having a good understanding of chronological knowledge is vital to a successful history curriculum. We deliver our history curriculum in a way which supports our children with understanding the chronological timeline of events. Along with giving our children opportunities to study timelines of a specific period, we spend time recapping on children’s prior knowledge of previously taught content- building up an understanding of where their period of study fits.
History lessons come as a result of a carefully well-planned curriculum. Our History curriculum is delivered through “termly topics”. As a result of some topics naturally lending itself to either History or Geography, we ensure that through careful planning, we allow for skills to be practised and revisited across subjects.
Although our History teachings come under the banner of a “termly topic”, we make the teaching of History explicit- allowing the children to take an active and independent role in choosing which knowledge and skills they bring to the lesson and sequence of learning. Each History topic begins with a question for the children. This overarching question gets revisited throughout the teaching sequence. These questions enable our children to understand and consider the significance of the time period and events of study. We hold a strong belief that if children can ask good questions, their level of enquiry and understanding is developed greatly. We support our pupils with a question matrix and encourage all pupils to ask questions to further their understanding. As staff teach, they scaffold the children to answer their questions as well as identify misconceptions.
All learning is scaffolded by revisiting knowledge and skills. Quizzes are used consistently as a way of allowing children to retrieve information from their memory and build every child’s capacity to know more and remember more. Through the use of knowledge organisers, which are sent out before the start of every topic, we support the learning of key facts and vocabulary. The key terms and knowledge that is presented on the knowledge organisers is replicated on every classroom’s learning wall. This scaffold of support is brought together by teaching staff, who explicitly model the subject-specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills needed for every child.
In addition to knowledge organisers, our pupils with SEND need receive ‘topic mats’ which are carefully produced by our SEND specialist. These mats, which are created with communication in print, allow for a way for our SEND pupils to confidently access their History curriculum.
In the early years, our curriculum focuses on developing the children’s understanding and significance of their own lives. During dedicated talk time, children have opportunities to share information about: their family, people who are familiar to them, familiar situations in the past and compare and contrast characters from stories.
As a result of our History curriculum, we aim for our children to leave Shortbrook Primary School with a love of learning more. Children enjoy their learning of History at Shortbrook, which is reflected in our pupil voice each year. Our History curriculum gives our children the chance to make progress with the use of their subject specific vocabulary, which widens their knowledge of terminology. Children will therefore leave Shortbrook with more confidence to access History at secondary education.