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History Curriculum Overview


History Rationale

“How do you know who you are unless you know where you’ve come from? How can you tell what’s going to happen, unless you know what’s happened before? History isn’t just about the past. It’s about why we are who we are – and about what’s next.” Tony Robinson

History in our own words

At Carlton Hill Primary School, we believe all of our pupils should perceive themselves as historians. We say: “History is asking and answer questions about our own past and the past of the world around us.” History helps our children to understand the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. Through learning about history pupils can discover their own identity and the challenges of their time.

We aim to provide a high-quality history education, which helps our children to gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world with an emphasis towards local and national events that have an impact on our life today. Through memorable learning experiences, our pupils will develop and apply useful skills: asking perceptive questions, thinking critically, weighing evidence, sifting arguments and developing perspective and judgement.

How is our History curriculum organised?

The content of our history curriculum is organised to provide exciting opportunities for children to ‘think as historians’ by reflecting on, debating about and evaluating the past. These critical thinking skills build in sophistication year on year.

The order in which we teach our units has been designed to develop a solid understanding of chronology in KS1, focussing on ‘changes in their own family’s lifetime’, before introducing units in KS2 which fit together chronologically, so expanding children’s understanding of how history fits together and their place in a much bigger timeline. Year 3 learn about changes in Britain and Brighton from ‘The Stone Age to the Iron Age’, Year 4 the impact of the Roman Invasion in Britain before Year 5 learn about Anglo Saxon and Viking invaders and settlers. Year 6 bring the History curriculum back into the last century when learning about significant events in WWII through exploring the question ‘Why did Britain have to go to war in 1939?’ Further, throughout our history curriculum, children explore how events, actions and decisions made from one-time period affect another, including having profound effects on the present day. For example, Year 4 explore the question ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’, the effect that had on Iron Age Britain as well as the impact on our modern landscape and culture including plumbing, sanitation, currency, our calendar, architecture and roads.

In order to deepen pupil’s understanding of their place in a much bigger timeline, local history is central to our curriculum alongside national aspects of each unit. For example, Year 3 begin learning about changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age by investigating historic sites within a national context, Stonehenge in Salisbury and Skara Brae in Orkney, before embarking on a local study uncovering the story of Brighton’s Neolithic past through the tale of Whitehawk Hill and the ancient people who built and visited it. Brighton has such a rich history and we want our children to understand and appreciate this.

Within each unit, the sequence of lessons follows the enquiry based approach of asking and answer questions about the past through the use of historical artefacts and a wide range of primary and secondary evidence and sources. For example, Year 4 explore ‘How do we know about the Celts?” Over a series of lessons children ‘think like a historian’ to research the question. Through the use of higher order questioning children are encouraged to justify opinion and challenge the views of others as well as carry out high quality research using a range of historical evidence and sources. They start by exploring a range of evidence from a variety of sources including archaeological artefacts, written sources and even the ‘Lindow Man’. Children weigh up the evidence and form a conclusion to answer the question. For example, when using sources written by the Greeks and Romans about the Celts they consider why the Romans wanted to portray the Celts as ‘barbarians’ and if this was a fair representation.  Children apply this process independently by posing their own question and undertaking a research project using the skills they have learnt throughout the unit to answer their question supported by the range of evidence and sources they used. The final stage is to present their findings and answers to the class. This structure and process of question, research, answer and present, is evident both in the structure of an individual lesson, as well as in the organisation of a complete unit of learning.

The progressive development of these skills from year group to year group (which can be viewed in the document below) is fundamental to and underpins all the learning and teaching at Carlton Hill. As with all subjects at Carlton Hill Primary School, key vocabulary is also deliberately taught and revisited.

What is the impact of our History curriculum?

The impact of our History curriculum is assessed in a variety of ways.

1. Knowledge. At the start of a unit children are given an opportunity to show off their current chronological understanding of History through a practical timeline task. They receive a cover sheet which they annotate weekly building a picture of their knowledge, skills and understanding of the topic.

2. Skills. During a unit, history skills are explicitly taught, and children are given the opportunity to acquire and embed them. In order to assess pupil’s use of these skills, children are then given the opportunity to use and apply them by undertaking their own independent research project. Independent research projects allow children to develop their own area of interest related to a period of history leading to children planning and presenting their findings and reflecting on the history skills they used to answer their question about the past.

3. Pupil voice and book look. The History Coordinator meets with pupils to look at and celebrate recorded work in books and discuss their experience of teaching and learning in history.

4. Planning review and teacher feedback. The History Coordinator routinely reviews planning and meets teachers to discuss their experience of teaching and learning in history and provide feedback on evidence in books, pupil voice and planning. This is a critical dialogue about successes, areas for development and identifying how best to support teachers with ideas, resources or CPD.

What are the inspirations for our history curriculum?

Inspiration for our history curriculum comes from working closely with Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust and Heritage Learning as a teacher ambassador. This ongoing partnership enables us to develop resources for teaching history locally and strengthen children’s knowledge and understanding of the past of their local area.

What do our pupils have to say about history?

“When we learn about the past we discover that sometimes the bad things have happened. We try to learn from them so that they do not happen again.”  

“It is important to know what has happened in the past and how people and civilizations have developed and changed.”

“When we ‘act out’ scenes from the past, like battles and other important events, it helps us to understand how people felt at the time. It also helps us to remember.”

Progression of skills and knowledge

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