Here at Dunston Primary and Nursery Academy we aim to develop historians who are passionate to discover the past locally, nationally and globally that has shaped the world we live in today. We hope that through the teaching of History, we stimulate all children’s interest and understanding about the life of people who lived in the past.
In the reorganisation of our curriculum, covered over a 2 year cycle, we have considered both chronology and tangibility for the pupils. Chronology is vital to ensure pupils gain a coherent understanding of where their area of study fits into the wider picture; what What came before it, how long the events last and what came after it what came before it, how long the events last and what came after it. Tangibility is needed to allow pupils to reflect on their own and their families life to make comparisons and understand different periods of time they are studying. This is particularly important at the beginning of each year, especially for EYFS and KS1. Therefore, the first history topic covered is local (or nationally for KS2) and within living memory. Pupils can use these topics to develop or remind themselves of their history skills, understanding something that is within their own or a family members lifetime which can then be built on over the year as the areas studied go beyond the living memory or cover the the wider world.
To help ensure progression of skills to develop good historians, we have formulated disciplinary concepts which are taught and used throughout all areas of study. These help pupils to build historical understanding, it gives what they are learning purpose, strengthens their understanding as historians allowing them to formulate their our own historical interpretations. These begin in Nursery and are built on in Reception until in KS1 they are exposed to all five concepts. In LKS2 and UKS2 these five concepts continued to be developed and honed. For example the Evidence concept. In Year 1/2, we would expect them to use artefacts to identify similarities and differences between the way of life their are studying and their own. In Year 3/4, artefacts and primary sources would be used to make connections between similar and contrasting periods of time. Then, Year 5/6 would be using a range of artefacts, primary and secondary sources to compare areas of study as well as questioning the validity of these sources. Our five disciplinary concepts can be found in a link below.
Alongside our disciplinary concepts, we have decided on five knowledge threads. These are key themes that run throughout our history curriculum that children build their understanding of and compare between periods of history. This helps pupils to build cognitive connections across year groups and areas of study, helping to reduce cognitive overload.
We hope that through this history curriculum we will achieve the aim of the National Curriculum to deliver 'a high-quality history education which will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.’ We do not want the pupils to feel their curiosity is limited so through well planned, sequential lessons we provide interesting, challenging, vocabulary rich and fun learning opportunities to inspire all.
History is taught in termly blocks throughout the year, so that children develop a deeper understanding and depth to their learning. Using the long term overviews and the 'I know' statements, teachers understand the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression throughout each year group across the school. By the end of year 6, children will be secure in drawing comparisons and making connections between different time periods and their own lives. They will also have a good sense of chronological understanding of:
- British history from the Stone Age to the present day
- key civilisations and events across the world, including their impact on British history
Learning will be supported through the use of knowledge organisers that provide children with scaffolding that supports them to retain new facts and vocabulary in their long term memory. Knowledge organisers are stuck in books at the beginning of each new area of study so can be referred to in weekly lessons.
Each lesson begins with recap questions, where pupils have the opportunity to revisit learning from previous years, terms and weeks lessons. The revisit and recap helps pupils to retain what they know in their long term memory as well as make connections with new areas of learning. After this, the lesson's learning intention is shared along with key vocabulary, disciplinary concepts and knowledge threads that are being covered in that lesson. This can then be reflected back on, at the end of the lesson to assess learning and understanding.
History assessment is ongoing throughout the topic themes to inform teachers with their planning lesson activities and differentiation. Summative assessment, in the form of a quiz, is completed at the end of each topic when history objectives have been covered.
Consistent learning walls in every classroom provide constant scaffolding for children. Subject specific vocabulary is displayed along with key facts and diagrams, and model exemplars of the work being taught. Key historical events are also pinned on the class world map. Each year, these maps are built on so by Year 6 it will display all areas they have studied at Dunston.
Each term there is a History or Geography competition open to the whole school. Themes of the competition vary based on national events and pupils' interest. There is a winning prize for each year group: history books. All entries of the competition are displayed on the competition board for the whole term. The aims of these competitions is to increase the presence of History and Geography across school, to initiate historical or geographical discussions at home and provide further opportunities for children to deepen their understanding of their interests through their own research.
Educational visits are a key part of our history curriculum and we are currently in the process of mapping these out for the coming academic year (2022-2023). Our previous trips and visitors have demonstrated how fantastic these opportunities have been to enhance the history learning of our pupils. They provide hands on experiences, first hand accounts and expert knowledge which deepen pupils' understanding. Therefore, we see the importance of providing these for each year group.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of History through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. This aspect is about how children find out about past and present events in their own lives, their families and other people they know. Children are encouraged to develop a sense of change over time and are given opportunities to differentiate between past and present by observing routines throughout the day, growing plants, observing the passing of seasons and time and looking at photographs of their life and of others. Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?', ‘Tell me more about?', 'What will happen if..?', ‘What else could we try?', ‘What could it be used for?' and ‘How might it work?' Use of language relating to time is used in daily routines and conversations with children for example, ‘yesterday', ‘old', ‘past', ‘now' and ‘then'.
The impact of our history curriculum is pupils are confident and able to talk about what they have learnt in history using subject specific vocabulary. The disciplinary concepts and knowledge threads ensure pupils develop essential historical skills that can be transferred to other areas of the curriculum, build a good understanding of British and World history, alongside meeting the National Curriculum requirements. Pupils' work demonstrates that history is taught at an age appropriate standard across each year group with opportunities planned in for all pupils. Pupils enjoy history and are able to recall their learning over time.