Aspirations for our History curriculum
At HLPS, we want our pupils to have the knowledge and skills to think like historians. We want to foster interests and passions and teach our pupils of the significance of learning about, and learning from the past. We believe that understanding the past and constantly evaluating it helps pupils to become knowledgeable future citizens. It is our intention to nurture a love of History as an academic discipline with huge relevance to the modern world and its future development. Pupils will develop a sound knowledge of chronology, of historical periods and both local and international events. Our History curriculum is organised into a progression model that outlines the skills, knowledge and vocabulary to be taught in a sequentially coherent way. These skills are all mapped out to ensure that pupils build on prior knowledge.
Using knowledge, evidence and understanding of key concepts about the impact historical periods have had on Britain, our pupils are taught to explore, question, synthesise and infer. Skilfully framing questions and looking at different perspectives are important skills pupils across key stages will be taught in order to delve deeper into historical eras. Pupils will understand and appreciate that curiosity, discussion and critical thinking are essential tools for historians.
Connections are made about the past: why did events happen as they did? Why did people settle where they did? Who are notable historical figures? It is important for pupils to understand what impact these choices and events had upon us today and how they are related to our understanding of the art, geography and science that we know today.
We believe it is necessary to impart a respect for historical evidence and its ability to paint a picture of the past. In a world of misinformation, pupils will be taught that History is not merely a series of uncontested facts and events, but a matter of debate with many standpoints to explore. Our historians will be able to explain clearly how sources and opinions can give us an insight into how people around the world used to live and how these interpretations might differ.
Our five defining core beliefs, Themes and Threads underpin the teaching of History at HLPS.
Our Belief is that it is important to champion individuality and personal growth to help appreciate children’s own identity and the challenges in their time. With enquiry led historical topics that ignite curiosity, the History teaching at HLPS inspires and leads to learning that lasts.
We believe the integration of Themes allows for deeper learning and connections to be made between historical periods and helps pupils to make sense of the world around them. For example, during our ‘How has crime and punishment changed throughout the ages?’ theme, children are able to acquire the relevant knowledge throughout key historical periods while deepening their knowledge of the narrative poem The Highwayman.
The cohesiveness of the Themes in history is also achieved through the use of our bespoke Threads which play an integral part in progression, connection and integration. Enquiry based Themes could involve the application of Mantle of the Expert, immersive hooks, educational visits or drama based activities.
Threads help to connect learning and, in History, teachers continually use them in a creative and ever changing way. When applied to a historical context, the Turning Point of the Roman invasion may be used as a focal point to illustrate the long lasting changes in Britain. Spirit could be used to identify the Spirit within ourselves, our personal development or the Spirit of a community during the Theme ‘Spirit of the Blitz’.
Children’s historical learning starts in EYFS where the children explore and discuss past and present events. This understanding sets the vital foundations for history learning as the children move through the school.
In Early Years, History is taught through conversations and discussions around the children’s first hand experiences of artefacts and events that have happened in the past. This could be something as simple as what they did at the weekend, or what they did for their last birthday as well significant individuals and their impact. The focus remains on understanding chronology through first hand experiences and stories. This first-hand experience of their history sets a valuable foundation which supports their learning throughout their time at Heyes Lane. Children should leave EYFS with a solid understanding of chronology and knowledge about important historical figures and specific events in history. They will have an interest in learning more about historical figures and events as they move into KS1.
Progression continues in Key Stage One with the familiar studies: their own past and those of their families. History is brought to life in Year 1 through the teaching of toys which begins with modern toys that they are familiar with and delves further into history with toys their grandparents might have played with. The transition of wooden toys to mass produced plastic was a huge Turning Point in the modernisation of toys. Teachers use enquiry based learning and evidence to look at a range of toys/pictures of toys from different time periods to compare their appearance or materials. The outcome of making toys with moveable parts links to the teaching of DT, inspires the children and leads to learning that lasts.
In Year 2, the Great Fire of London in 1666 allows the children to delve even further into history and helps them understand the significant impact it had on the way houses were built and the transition from straw and wood to bricks. The children also learn about the leadership of King Charles II and his role in ordering houses to be pulled down to stop the spread of the fire.
In Key Stage 2, the story of Britain is interwoven with studies of ancient civilisation. Children explore concepts of continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity and difference and significance.
In Year 3, our historians study the Stone Age and the associated period of ‘prehistory’. Children analyse archaeological evidence and its usefulness and limitations. Learning about the transition from stone to iron provides the children with the knowledge of technological advances and helps them to evaluate the significant Turning Point that allowed farming and agriculture to thrive.
In the Theme ‘Romans: guts or glory?’, The Year 4 children experience the Spirit of the Roman Army while exploring battle formation scenarios and the vicious organisation of the Legionnaires. The main focal point of the Theme is analysing the Roman’s impact on the Britain we know today. Turning Points such as the building of roads, baths and walls are critically discussed and related to our lives today.
The year 5 Theme of ‘How has crime and punishment changed throughout the ages?’ explores the continuity and change of crime and punishment through key historical periods. Questions such as: How did the Roman law and justice system shape the justice system we know today? How do different countries stances on punishment differ? And how have changes in laws throughout the ages shaped our own society are explored and evaluated?
The children in Year 6 look in detail at World War Two in a Theme called ‘Spirit of the Blitz’. In this Theme, pupils explore various threads including One of a Kind where they look at leaders such as Churchill, machines including the spitfire, the role of women and wartime spirit. More recently, this theme has evolved to explore the links between the sacrifices made in in WW2 and during the coronavirus pandemic.
Within history, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on providing opportunities to help children gain a coherent knowledge of understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school.
Our history curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. Using our Unit Content Grids we focus on the progression of knowledge, skills, concepts and vocabulary through each Key Stage and year group.
By the end of their primary education, pupils at Heyes Lane Primary School will:
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods: