History at Friars
WHAT WE BELIEVE AND WHY
“History helps pupils 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.” – National Curriculum 2014.
The aim of our History curriculum is to provide children with rich and purposeful learning experiences that allow them to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of not only Britain’s past and World History, but also of our rich local heritage here in Southwark. By continually building on their prior learning, we aim to spark a curiosity about the past that inspires them to ask probing questions, make connections, think critically and discuss their opinions about historical events. They will develop a sense of chronology, use appropriate historical vocabulary and continuously investigate how the past shapes the present.
Good quality History teaching aims to:
- develop an understanding of chronology
- gain knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past
- understand how history is interpreted
- explore how ideas are organised and interpreted
Children develop the following skills:
- asking perceptive questions
- thinking critically
- weighing evidence
- sifting arguments
- comparing and contrasting
- analysing and interpreting sources of information
- developing perspective and judgment
- In EYFS, children are taught about the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling. From Year One, each year group studies three history topics per year.
- History is planned and taught as a discrete topic in order to put the subject’s substantive and disciplinary knowledge at the centre of the lessons. However, links and crossovers are carefully planned with other subjects, particularly English, Geography and Art, in order to reinforce knowledge and add important extra context to the topics.
- Activities and lessons are planned by teachers based on the core content agreed in ‘topic overview’ pages and by drawing on quality planning sequences from organisations such as the Historical Association. Time is spent explicitly teaching new vocabulary. Key themes of Migration, Rulers and Power, Our Local Area and Settlements are woven through the curriculum and revisited in different year groups.
- In children’s workbooks, each new topic begins with a ‘front page’ (knowledge organiser) which can be referred to during the unit and used as a learning tool.
- Classrooms include displays featuring timelines to help chronological understanding, key vocabulary and artefacts/images relating to the unit (where possible, avoiding use of cartoon-style images).
- Each class visits a minimum of one museum or heritage site per year, ensuring that by the time they leave Friars, children will have visited many of the major museums in London. Exploration of our local heritage is built into our curriculum.
- In order for knowledge to ‘stick’, knowledge quizzes are used regularly to help children retain knowledge from their current unit, as well as topics they have studied earlier in the year and from previous years. They are also used for informal assessment.
- Children are given the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge through a range of approaches, such as analysing sources, debates and independent research through homework projects.
- Learning journeys are clear and evident from looking at children’s workbooks.
- Sampling from knowledge quizzes show children retaining retention knowledge over the years.
- Children are able to speak confidently about various aspects of local, British and World History using accurate historical vocabulary, demonstrated in lesson observations and Pupil Voice sessions. Pupils make links to prior learning and identify recurring themes within History (e.g. invasion). Children working at Greater Depth in History use reasoning within their arguments and to support their viewpoints using their knowledge.
- End-of-year pupils’ questionnaires help to outline significant learning that has taken place and informs future teaching practice.