At St James’ Blackburn Church of England Primary School, we are Historians! We want our children to know that they can grow up wanting to be archivists, archaeologists, museum curators or research analysts. Our focus is to provide children with an understanding of the Historical Capital. Children will be introduced to an active learning environment allowing them to hold History in their hands. We aim to provide memorable experiences that may normally be out of reach, for example, Year 4 visit a working Cotton Mill when exploring the Industrial Revolution. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in a classroom and that the memorable experiences are important to inspire our children. The History Curriculum has been designed to ensure that pupils have a love for learning with a curiosity about our local area. We want them to remember history lessons in school. We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the history National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
We want pupils to learn about their local area to learn from other cultures, respect diversity and cooperate with one another in connection with their ancestors, the places where they live and the surrounding areas. These feed into our history curriculum e.g. Year 4 explore how the Industrial Revolution impacted upon Blackburn and its Textile Trade. Accrington Pals – World War 2 in Year 6, Roman Ribchester in Year 3.
The History curriculum has been created to ensure high standards of teaching and learning are taking place across the school. History is taught every other week in school, focussing on one topic every term, covering objectives stated in the National Curriculum. We find this works well in comparison with teaching in blocks as it allows adequate time for the subject and ensures knowledge is secure and being retained in long term memory.
The History curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression. To support pupils in developing a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of national, local and world history, the curriculum overview ensures pupils explore each of these strands individually in chronological order (for example; Stone Age to Iron Age followed by the Roman Invasion of Britain in National History; Roman Britain following industrial revolution in Local History). Then clear narratives within and across the periods in time are studied looking at connections, contrasts and trends over time. Children will be able to access a curriculum that will allow them to gain a coherent understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. A combination of overview and depth studies help pupils to understand the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.
Key vocabulary and key learning is supported by a sticky knowledge organiser allowing children to understand key vocabulary and historical terms.
A scheme of work has been created for each topic that highlight the objectives for each lesson, providing engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them. Each lesson typically starts with an enquiry question which aims to allow pupils to answer independently using resources available (loan boxes, exercise books or articles) followed by a previous knowledge quiz which is linked to the objective, to enhance learning. Plans are adapted based on children’s’ needs. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely with meaningful links made across subjects. Evidence based responses using resources and how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of resources.
We believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their learning. Within each year group, strands are revisited in a progressive manner. For example, connecting Roman and Viking homes.
Every term homework is provided to dive deeper into the history topic that they will be studying to also promote independent learning.
We measure the impact of our curriculum by assessing termly topics with both a formative and summative approach. Staff use this information to inform their short term planning and tailoring plans to children’s needs and interests. These assessments are collected frequently and analysed as part of the monitoring cycle which informs future planning and provision is adapted accordingly. This allows us to provide the best possible support for all children and provides us with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in History. Additional assessment tools include Prior Learning quizzes, End of Unit quizzes, Challenges, Staff and Pupil Voice, lesson observations, marking of written books and book scrutinies.
By providing a History curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth knowledge of local, national and global events over History. They will be able to articulate events that have happened in their local area and name key historical figures that have had an impact on History within Blackburn, England, Nationally and Globally. They will be able to give a clear narrative of connections, contrasts and trends over time within and across historical periods. Children will remember their inspiring History lessons and experiences in school, leaving with a passion for History. Pupils will have built up resilience and independence so that they can think critically about history, using evidence from a range of sources to support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ thinking. They will leave with a curiosity about the past and a desire to embrace challenging activities that they may face in later life.