History at Cale Green Primary School
The Study of History at Cale Green Primary school gives our pupils the opportunity to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It inspires pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past, through the use of key enquiry questions. 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.
The teaching and learning of History is invaluable when delivering our central ethos, “Learning and Living Together.” Children are at the heart of our school, which is at the heart of our community. This is reflected in a History curriculum which has carefully selected themes, draws on local history, takes account of children’s experiences and the context of our school. It seeks meaningful enrichment activities and visits within the locality and uses high quality texts to support and enrich the history curriculum, whilst making links to other subject areas.
Through our coherent and sequentially organised long term plan, all children are given opportunities to investigate and interpret the past, understand chronology, build an overview of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, and to be able to communicate historically. Our history curriculum allows all children to develop their cultural capital and equips them with the skills and knowledge necessary for the next stage of education. It is aspirational in providing the best possible education, with teachers using a range of strategies to support and challenge all children at our school. Natural links to British values and discussions around being good UK and global citizens are threaded through the curriculum. Our history curriculum promotes the rich diversity of the world, Britain and an appreciation of our locality and our school context.
“The more you know about the past,
the better prepared you are for the future.”
The knowledge that the children are expected to learn at each Key Stage is carefully planned and designed across a 2 year rolling programme, with clear end points planned into the long term plan. Our theme overview ensures that, over the course of 2 years, all areas of the History national curriculum are taught. The overview ensures that the curriculum is taught coherently and sequentially, with children building on prior knowledge and experiences and allowing for key concepts to be embedded. Explicit links between themes are made, with children being encouraged to reflect on how their current learning builds on previous experiences and how they are being prepared for the next stage of their learning.
Historical skills have been progressively planned across the phases, with skills being closely matched to individual themes. The History Matrix of Key Knowledge, Skills and Vocabulary informs teachers weekly planning, ensuring that key knowledge, skills and historical vocabulary are being coherently and sequentially planned and taught across the key stages. Teachers carefully choose the key knowledge and enquiry questions they want to teach during a theme, along with the relevant vocabulary. There is high ambition for all pupils, and the school does not offer disadvantaged pupils or pupils with SEND a reduced History curriculum. Teachers carefully plan their lessons to ensure that all learners can successfully access the History curriculum.
A sense of the past is developed in the Nursery and Reception classes by involving the children in a range of activities about change and development in themselves and in their surroundings. Children learn to talk about the past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They learn to recognise the similarities between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
Key Stage 1
Pupils are taught about the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They learn where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They are taught a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. Children ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They study some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented. Themes are supported and enhanced by educational visits in the locality and the use of high quality texts. Pupils in Key Stage 1 study historical topics that allow them gain a fundamental understanding that the passing of time creates history.
Block A is a “wider world” focus, in both History and Geography. Theme 1 starts with “events beyond living memory which are significant nationally or globally.” The focus for this theme is the Plague and the Great Fire of London. This theme is linked to the use of high quality texts in English. It also uses a local visit to reinforce the subject, as the children visit Staircase house in Stockport. The children are taught the skills of ordering events on a basic timeline. They also begin to talk about cause and effect. In theme 3, the children study “the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements”. This involves a study of Christopher Columbus, James Cook (which links to the Geography taught in theme 2), Neil Armstrong and Juno Tabei. The individuals are taught chronologically, with comparisons being made to the significant individuals encountered in theme 1. The choice of individuals allows for children’s interest, as well as diversity and links to prior learning. The children are taught the skills of looking at the different ways in which we find out about the past. This theme builds on the prior knowledge that the children have from an EYFS learning challenge about space.
Block B is a local focus, in both History and Geography. In theme 2, the children explore the objective “changes within living memory”. To facilitate this, the children visit Bramall Hall, making use of local visits to enhance their experiences and learning. This builds on prior learning in EYFS about family History. The children learn the skill of identifying similarities and differences between ways of life at different times. In theme 3, the children learn about “significant events, people and places in their own locality.” The focus for this study is the Hatting industry in Stockport. The theme is enhanced by a visit to the Hatworks museum. The children have explored recent history in theme 2, and are then given the opportunity to explore more distant history in theme 3, all within the context of our local area. Children learn the skills of comparing periods of History to their own lives. They also learn to ask relevant questions and use sources of information to answer these questions. This theme links to work done in theme 1 on local geography.
Key Stage 2
Pupils continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They address and devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. The curriculum is structured to allow pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.
Lower Key Stage 2
In lower KS2, the curriculum is designed with a World focus and a British focus, split over 2 blocks. Local visits and high quality texts are used to enhance learning. Children are taught to look for similarities and differences across civilisations and periods of History. They develop their skills of asking and answering historically valid questions.
Block A is the World block. Learning starts chronologically, with “the achievements of the earliest civilisations.” The children study all 4 civilisations, looking for similarities and differences. They then carry out an in-depth study into the Ancient Egyptians. This is enhanced by a visit to Manchester museum. Children learn that the past is divided into different named periods of time. They also learn to identify similarities and differences between different times in the past. In theme 3, the children study “Ancient Greek life and achievements and their influence on the Western world.” This theme is in chronological order from theme 1, and children are encouraged to use their prior knowledge about ancient civilisations, in order to make connections and comparisons. It also builds on Geographical work carried out in theme 2, which focuses on European countries. Children learn to use one or more sources of information to answer questions about the past. An Ancient Greek workshop enhances the learning.
Block B is the British focus. In theme 2, the children build on their Geographical study about the United Kingdom, land use and settlements (theme 1), to learn about “changes in Britain from the stone age to the iron age.” A workshop enables children to explore the lives of Stone Age people in greater detail. Children learn to order events chronologically and to devise their own historically valid questions. They also learn to make connections and contrasts, using historical vocabulary, when comparing Britain at this time to the Ancient civilisations studied in Block A. Theme 3 continues chronologically, with a study of “the Roman empire and its impact on Britain.” Children build on their geographical and historical knowledge of Britain, to understand the impact of the Roman Empire. They place events on a timeline, and learn how to give reasons for and the results of the main events of the time studied.
Upper Key Stage 2
In Upper Key stage 2, themes are organised to allow children to make comparative studies across time or themes. Children are taught to identify cause and effect, changes over time and to identify similarities and differences.
In block A, children learn about the theme of conflict. In theme 1, children study “an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066.” This unit of work starts with the English civil war and considers the reasons why Britain went to war in the past. The children then compare and contrast this to the reasons for the start of WWI. They develop the skills of identifying specific changes within and across different periods over a long arc of development. They also look at the relationship between different periods of history and the legacy of this. They begin to identify trends over time. Children visit local war memorials as part of our whole school Remembrance day activities.
In theme 3, the children continue to develop their understanding of conflict and the reasons why Britain went to war by studying the impact of WWII on our locality. This theme follows on chronologically from theme 1 and serves as the local history study for KS2. In this theme, children visit Stockport air raid shelters, to develop an understanding of the impact of conflict on their locality.
In theme 1, children learn about “Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and the Scots and the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England”. This follows on chronologically from the Roman study in Year 3/4. Children learn to devise their own historically valid questions and to select and organise relevant historical information from a range of historical sources. A visit to Weaver Hall allows the children to explore the life of a Viking trader and learn about archaeologists investigating Anglo-Saxon burial sites. In theme 3, the children study “a non-European country that provides a contrast with British history.” With our school context in mind, children study the Early Islamic civilisation. They compare and contrast this civilisation with Britain at the time of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.
We ensure that the children at our school are equipped with the necessary historical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the next stages of the curriculum and for life as an adult in the wider world. Children are able to talk about events that have happened in the past, but more importantly, how these have impacted Britain and the world as we know it today. By the end of Key Stage 2, children are able to discuss key historical conceptual threads that run through the curriculum, such as democracy, nation, authority and civilisation, and are encouraged to support these definitions with historical examples.
Our History curriculum is carefully sequenced and is planned to demonstrate progression, allowing children to know more and remember more, as they build on existing skills and knowledge. Key end points are planned into each theme as staff ensure that they plan the key questions and key knowledge to be taught in each theme. It is carefully designed to meet the needs of all pupils whilst considering our local context. At Cale Green we measure the impact of our curriculum through a variety of assessments, pupil interviews, book scrutinies and theme reviews. Progress is also measured through Subject leader data analysis, which provides us with evidence concerning possible gaps, focus groups, the performance of specific groups across the school and gives the Subject leader a clear and detailed whole school picture of progress in History.