History at St Charles’ Catholic Primary School
At St Charles’ Catholic Primary school we aspire to be great historians! History is a subject which harnesses children’s inquisitive nature. We want children to develop a love for History.
Our history curriculum enables children to develop their history knowledge, understanding and ability. We want our children to enjoy their history lessons and embrace historical opportunities.
Like all of our curriculum areas, the history curriculum promotes curiosity of the world around us and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent nd resilient.
We have planned a creative curriculum which links with our high quality, Read to Write English texts in order to provide our children with an immersive and tailored curriculum that has purposeful cross curricular links. It has also been important for us to link this to our city. Liverpool has such a rich history and we want our children to understand and appreciate this. We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have.
We provide a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This feeds into the history curriculum wherever possible. For example, the whole-school celebrated ‘Remembrance’ as a theme and, as part of this themed week, our pupils remembered and honored those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. The children explored why Remembrance is part of modern British life, culture and heritage. They impeccably observed a two-minute silence, explored how the poppy is a symbol of remembrance and were inspired by John McCrae’s poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. Classes also visited the local museums and took part in drama workshops with a specialist company. We are extremely proud of our pupils, who ensured that no-one is forgotten, and united to honor all who suffered or died in war.
Alongside engaging lesson which challenge our pupils, we also enrich their time in our school with memorable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, our Year Two pupils visited the airport when learning about Amy Johnson, Year Four pupils visited Chester as part of their Romans topic and Year Six visited Croxteth Hall to learn more about the Victorians and how they celebrated Christmas. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom; it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
In June 2018, a complete audit of the history curriculum was conducted. On the back of the findings from this audit, the history curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills.
History subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in history and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:
- An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.
- The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
- The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
- A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgments.
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of the subject leader. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff worked with subject leaders to develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every history lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. We have also introduced an end of topic assessment which enables all pupils to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and understanding they have acquired over the sequence of lessons. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in history are progressive and build year on year.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in history. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. The last history monitoring took place in Summer Term 2019. Monitoring in history includes: book scrutiny, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice interviews.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.
National Curriculum Aims
The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:
know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.