Our aim at St. William of York Catholic Primary School is to provide a rich and varied History curriculum that has been designed to inspire our pupils curiosity and fascination about Britain’s past and the wider world. Our curriculum is designed to ignite children’s curiosity about the past by providing opportunities for them to learn and develop valuable skills in research, selecting and evaluating evidence, drawing conclusions and offering their own point of view. We aim to do this by developing engaged, motivated and curious learners that can reflect on the past and make meaningful links to the present day. The skills and concepts our historians develop are transferable to whatever period of history is being studied and will equip children for future learning.
Our History curriculum is designed with the aim of inspiring, engaging and challenging our pupils. As they progress through our curriculum, they will be able to think critically, ask perceptive questions and weigh evidence both for and against by evaluating historical evidence. St. William of York’s progression model allows our pupils to build on secure prior knowledge.
Our History curriculum was designed alongside the skills, knowledge and understanding set out in the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum states that a high-quality history curriculum should "inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past." To ensure our pupils develop secure knowledge that they can build on, our curriculum is designed sequentially to ensure the progression of knowledge and skills. Historical Interpretation, Historical Enquiry, Chronological Understanding, Range and Depth of Historical Knowledge as well as Organisation and Communication, are mapped out in our skills progression document to ensure pupils build upon and transfer their knowledge and skills.
Our curriculum is enriched and exciting as it provides our children with opportunities to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. Also, it makes links to our local area which enables our children to develop a rich and meaningful understanding about the history around them.
All learning begins with revisiting prior knowledge. This will be designed to ensure children can revisit prior knowledge, build upon prior knowledge and make connections. Also, children will complete a vocabulary check at the beginning of each lesson, with the aim of subject-specific vocabulary being woven into our pupils’ discussions and writing. Teaching staff will explicitly model the subject-specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills relevant to the learning process to allow them to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts.
Our History topics begin with a ‘’what we already know discussion" so that teachers can gain an understanding of the children’s starting points for the topic, along with their initial questions and inquiries. This is presented using formative assessment strategies such as KWL grids, mind maps or prior knowledge quizzes. Also, children are given a knowledge organiser at the start of each topic which details some key information, dates and vocabulary. This is used to support children with their acquisition of knowledge and are used as a reference document.
Each year group is allocated three inquiry questions, which we fully immerse our children in. It is important to note that Year 3 has two inquiry questions as the ‘Stone Age to Iron Age’ topic is covered across two half-terms. To fully immerse our children in the past, we practise a variety of teaching methods to cater to all of our learners. Children may use historical artefacts, books and ICT to support their discoveries. They work individually and as part of a team to present their findings orally, in writing, through Art, DT, ICT and role-play/drama. As the children move up through the school, they will be given opportunities, when studying particular topics, to present home learning projects to their teachers and peers. Teachers use Kapow and Grammarsaurus units to support with their planning of history, ensuring that the appropriate skills are covered and gaps in learning are identified.
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, History runs through the strand of "Understanding the World" and our youngest historians begin their learning journey through hands-on exploration. Learning is guided to ensure our children make sense of their physical world and their community. This is achieved by ensuring the frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increase their knowledge and sense of the world around them.
We encourage cross-curricular links throughout our curriculum. We have made connections between English, Geography, Art, DT and ICT. By doing so, children have the opportunity to apply their historical skills across our rich and varied curriculum. A cross-curricular approach enhances their learning and enables our historians to build upon and use their knowledge in different contexts. This is with the aim of embedding knowledge into their long-term memory.
At the end of a unit, post-learning assessments provide an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate what they have learned across their given topic and reflect upon and consolidate their learning. Learning assessments are completed in a quiz format as well as writing a written response to the inquiry question. These also provide formative assessment for future learning. Pupils book studies are carried out throughout the year and pupil voices are conducted to ensure the content/skills are covered as planned and that children are retaining their knowledge and understanding.
History is delivered to our pupils on an alternating half-termly basis and we ensure knowledge is revisited consistently throughout the academic year. CPD has been and will continue to be delivered to support staff, ensuring History is delivered to our pupils confidently and to a high standard. Recourses are accessible and we ensure they are kept under constant review.
At St. William of York, our aim is for our History curriculum to develop independent thinkers who are excited and inspired by the past and understand that their decisions and actions play a part in shaping the future. By the end of Key Stage 2, we want our children to have developed a sound overview of the past and have the ability to analyse it with a critical mind. We aim for our children to be confident, enthusiastic and fully equipped historians by providing them with the steppingstones needed for future learning in Key Stage 3.
Through our curriculum, children will gain a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They will have had the chance to explore non-European societies, including the Mayan civilization and Ancient Egypt, examine the influence of Ancient Greece on the rest of the world and make comparisons with the accomplishments of the earliest civilizations. Children will have a perspective on our community, including some of the challenges and victories that have defined the area in which we live.
The students at St. William of York are capable of speaking about what they have discovered with confidence and can use vocabulary appropriate to the period of history studied. Student voice also shows that students are interested in history and are able to remember what they have learned across the curriculum. The work of the students shows that history is taught throughout all year groups at an appropriate level for their age, with chances built in for students to explore in greater detail. The pupils’ work is of an excellent standard and shows that they are learning knowledge, skills, and vocabulary in a progressive order.
History is fully embraced by both teachers and students at our school. Here at St. William of York, we are all historians!