Our History Subject Leader is
At West Coker Primary School Primary School, we aim for our teaching of history to help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and of the wider world. We aim for it to inspire pupils’ curiosity about the past and desire to know more about the past. We aim to enable children to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Through the teaching of history, we endeavour to teach children 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. Our history curriculum has been designed to cover all of the skills, knowledge and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum. To ensure that pupils develop a secure knowledge that they can build on, our history curriculum is organised into a progression model that outlines the skills and knowledge to be taught in a sequentially coherent way in order to build on the key skills, which are taught during each key stage.
History is sometimes used as a topic focus for the term (as is Geography) but we also aim to ensure that, were possible, it is integrated into other areas of the curriculum and the basic skills are taught throughout the year through cross-curricular work.
Topics are allocated on rolling programme for each key stage, and key skills are incorporated into each topic to ensure that all key skills are covered to enable children to make progression in these areas as they move up through the school.
Statutory topics from the National Curriculum are allocated chronologically so that children have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. Children are also taught world history, such as learning about ancient civilisations of Maya and Greece. Further themes have been selected to ensure that children will learn and make progression in key skills for history within the context of our school.
Knowledge organisers are provided for each child at the beginning of each topic to support them in learning new facts and vocabulary. Where possible, cross-curricular links will be made, for example, texts relating to the theme being studied may be selected for Guided Reading sessions and also for writing in English. School trips and visitors will also enhance the learning experience.
Key stage 1
Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know 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 should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should 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 should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching about the people, events and changes outlined below, teachers are often introducing pupils to historical periods that they will study more fully at key stages 2 and 3.
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life
- events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]
- the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]
- significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Key Stage 2
Pupils should 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 should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
- the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
- Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
- a local history study
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
- the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
- Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
- a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
Our History Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. At the end of each topic there will be a ‘quiz’ to ascertain whether the children have gathered and retained new knowledge. Assessment will be made through ‘quiz’ results and through a scrutiny of each child’s work in their topic and English books.