"We are not makers of history. We are made by history."
History fires pupils’ curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Our school’s ambition is to shape passionate and aspirational historians who are curious to know more about the past and how they could make a positive difference to the future. We want our children to understand how events in the past have influenced and shaped our lives today. We believe that high-quality History lessons inspire children to be curious about the past and to think and act as historians. We strive for our children to have a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
We want our learners to develop a deep sense of life-long historical knowledge and chronology enabled by skills that they use for the rest of their lives. We encourage children to develop a context for their growing sense of identity and a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. We encourage children to use a high-level of historical vocabulary relevant to the ‘area of focus’ that they are studying and to have a concrete understanding of key historical terms.
In our history lessons, we aim to combine substantive and disciplinary knowledge so that our pupils can remember key dates, people and features of history whilst developing the skills of historians to understand changes, continuation, causes and sources from the past. Pupils consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. As they do this, pupils develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. In history, pupils find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. To do this they are encouraged to research, sift through evidence, and engage in active discussion - skills that will prepare them for adult life. At Woodstock CE Primary School, we aim to bring history to life by immersing children in realistic experiences both in school and on exciting educational visits linked to our key areas in history. Children have a real understanding of their place in history and concepts of when events happened in relation to each other are reinforced.
We are determined that alongside historical knowledge (substantive) there is a high focus on the development of specific historical skills (disciplinary). The teaching of history is intended to equip pupils to ask pertinent questions about the past, analyse evidence, think critically, appreciate different perspectives, and develop informed judgements. We believe our pupils should be taught to understand how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. In addition, our bespoke curriculum provides opportunities for children to explore their own identity, for example, through local history studies.
History at Woodstock CE Primary covers the knowledge and skills outlined in the National Curriculum through broad, challenging, and inspiring topics. A topic-based approach is used to deliver the content within a meaningful context and wherever possible cross curricular links are exploited, particularly links with geography, British values, and SMSC; ensuring not to lose the History is taught within each phase following a two-year rolling programme. Medium term plans ensure coverage of both the required knowledge and the subject specific skills. Individual sessions are planned to inspire, engage and challenge pupils in response to their individual needs. Children are given a wide variety of experiences both in the classroom and out – we actively encourage school visits and visitors into school to enable the children to gain first-hand experiences to support their learning. One element in the development of the pupils’ communication skills is for opportunities for pupils to apply their writing skills within a context and linked to the theme being studied. Pupils are encouraged to think like historians and develop their skills including historical enquiry. There is a strong emphasis on developing children’s other skills such as understanding of chronology, interpretations of evidence, changes within a time and across time periods and cause and consequence.
Our History curriculum help pupils understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. We deliberately foster strong links with our PHSE & RSE curriculum and British Values. For example, studying the topic Rule Britannia in Years 5 & 6 is an opportunity for children to develop an understanding of parliament and laws and justice, past and changes through time – children visit the Houses of Parliament to bring their learning to life.
Assessment in History: Assessment is ongoing and informs future teaching building a picture of the child’s attainment and progress over time. There are also ‘check-in’ points throughout, and at the end of each unit against the objectives being taught. This gives teachers the information that they need to build a holistic picture of each individual child and enables them to plan further support and opportunities for retrieval; direct teaching and/or adaptation in future units. The subject leader monitors pupil outcomes to identify trends and patterns that inform future curriculum alterations and CPD opportunities.