At Highfields, we believe History is about real people who lived, and real events which happened in the past. History is concerned with sequence, time and chronology and is the study of evidence about the past; it gives us a sense of identity, set within our social, political, cultural and economic relationships. History fires the children’s curiosity about the past in Britain, the wider world and plays an essential part in preparing us for living and working in the contemporary world. Pupils consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like, how these societies organised their politics, and what beliefs and cultures influenced people’s actions. As they do this, children develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. They see the diversity of human experience and understand more about themselves as individuals and members of society. What they learn can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values. In history, children find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusions. To do this they need to be able to research, sift through evidence, and argue for their point of view – skills that are prized in adult life.
To encourage children:
- To foster an interest in the past and to develop an understanding of how the past has influenced the present.
- To develop a sense of chronology so the children can organise their understanding of the past.
- To provide opportunities for investigation and learning using a wide range of sources and information.
- To develop an understanding of how to interpret primary and secondary sources.
- To distinguish between historical facts and interpretation.
- To provide opportunities for children to develop their skills of enquiry, analysis and investigation.
- To learn about key events in the history of their own country and the world.
- To organise information about past societies, making comparisons.
- To promote pupils, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through the study of past societies.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in History, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. History is taught as part of a half/termly topic, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. At Highfields, we ensure that history has the same importance given to it as the other subjects, as we feel this is important in enabling all children to gain ‘real-life’ experiences.
The history curriculum at Highfields Academy is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which provides a broad framework and outlines the knowledge and skills and taught in each Key Stage. Teachers plan lessons for their class using our progression of knowledge and skills document. Teachers can use this document to plan their history lessons suitable to their class’s interests and what they want to learn. The progression document ensures the curriculum is covered and the skills/knowledge taught is progressive from year group to year group.
When teaching History, the teachers should follow the children’s interests to ensure their learning is engaging, broad and balanced. History teaching focuses on enabling children to think critically. A variety of teaching approaches are used based on the teacher’s judgement.
History provides excellent opportunities to enhance the learning of more able pupils through the investigations, analysing sources and writing extending pieces. These children will be selected for appropriate enrichment opportunities throughout the year.
At Highfields Academy we provide a variety of opportunities for history learning inside and outside the classroom. Each year topics are planned to have fun, engaging activities linked to history and geography for the children to complete. These activities should be guided by the children’s interests.
Educational visits are another opportunity for the teachers to plan for additional history learning outside the classroom. At Highfields Academy, the children have had many opportunities to experience history on educational visits. The children have explored local museums and have visitors into school to share history learning and have hands on experiences.
History in the Foundation Stage is taught under the umbrella of ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ from the EYFS. The children are supported in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that helps them to make sense of the world. The pupils are encouraged to talk about their families and past and present events in their lives. They are beginning to gain knowledge and understanding of the world through:
- Listening to stories and memories of older people
- Role play activities
- Discussing events in the past and their own personal lives
- Sequencing events to gain a sense of time
Key Stage 1
By the end of Key Stage 1, children should be able to use words relating to the passing of time and a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. 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. Children should be able to ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources. Pupils should understand about changes within living memory and significant national or global events. They should know about the lives of significant individuals in different periods who have contributed to national and international achievements and significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Key Stage 2
By the end of Key Stage 2, children should have developed a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. Children should be able to answer and devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity, 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.
During their time at Highfields, children will learn about the changes that happened in Britain from the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. They will also learn about the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain; both in the short term and to the present day. They will investigate Britain’s settlement by the Anglo-Saxons and Scots and study the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor. We will study the impact of the World War II on the local community, showing how several aspects of national history are reflected in the locality.
To further complement children’s understanding of society, a study of the Shang Dynasty and a non-European society, will provide another contrast with British history.