We are HISTORIANS!
The history curriculum at St James' aims to give a solid foundation and broad overview of some of the most important periods in local, British and world history. We aim for it to inspire our pupils’ curiosity about the past to develop their understanding of key events. Learning about the past will also help our students to understand history in a wider context, learn about the history of other countries and cultures, how it affects them personally and why it is important to be aware of, and preserve, the history of others.
Children will begin to ask perceptive questions, develop critical thinking, collect evidence, and form their own judgements based on perspectives.
We are very fortunate to live in a Georgian town, with a rich mining and shipping history. Our children are able to access first - hand experiences of what life was like in our local area and have visitors come into school offering insight into how the town has changed and adapted over the years.
Through the teaching of History, we endeavour to teach pupils to begin to understand social diversity, changes and developments over time, and how these impact the pupils themselves and others, which is vital to helping children become tolerant and understanding citizens in society today.
We teach our pupils to ‘think like a historian’ by examining artefacts and sources from the time and encouraging them to begin to think critically about what we might be able to learn from the evidence.
There are two key aspects to learning:
Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and vocabulary used to learn about the past.
Disciplinary knowledge – this is the use of that knowledge and how children construct understanding through historical claims, arguments and accounts. We call it ‘thinking like a historian.’ The features of thinking historically may involve:
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum supports children’s understanding of History through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. This aspect is about how children find out about past and present events in their own lives, their families and other people they know.
In our history curriculum children are encouraged to develop a sense of change over time and are given opportunities to differentiate between past and present by observing routines throughout the day, growing plants, observing the passing of seasons and time and looking at photographs of their life and of others. Practitioners encourage investigative behaviour and raise questions such as, ‘What do you think?', ‘Tell me more about?', 'What will happen if..?', ‘What else could we try?', ‘What could it be used for?' and ‘How might it work?'
Use of language relating to time is used in daily routines and conversations with children for example, ‘yesterday', ‘old', ‘past', ‘now' and ‘then'.
The sequence in KS1 focuses on young children developing a sense of time, place and change. As we have mixed age classes, children are taught history on a 2-year rolling programme. Children study changes within living memory through the unit “How have Toys and Technology changed over time? This enables them to develop an understanding of what has changed within the living memory of the community. This chronological knowledge is foundational to the understanding of change over time. Children learn about events beyond their living memory. They learn about how Whitehaven has changed over the years which links local history through significant events, people and places. The locality is further understood by knowing about the places, the buildings, the events and the people that tell a story of the past. Children expand on the idea of events beyond living memory but learning also about how significant events have moulded and shaped the way in which the world changed. The Great Fire of London and Titanic units seek to draw together the disciplinary concepts of significance and cause and effect. They also learn about the lives of significant individuals, focusing on Grace Darling, Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong.
- Checkpoint one – At the start of each unit, children record in books what they already know
- Checkpoint 2 - Review
- Checkpoint 3 - End
- Checkpoint 4 – Continuing review of previous learning weeks later to check ‘sticky knowledge’
- Checkpoint 5 – Pupil voice and book study
We also use:
- Talking to teachers
- Low stakes ‘Drop-in’ observations
- Feedback and marking
- Progress in book matches the curriculum intent