‘Don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own’ – Michelle Obama
At St John’s Church of England Primary School, we are historians! We want our children to love history. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be archivists, museum curators, archaeologists or research analysts. Our children will learn about aspects of local, British and Ancient history. This wider awareness leads to the children having knowledge of historical development in the wider world. Through finding out about how and why the world, our country, culture and local community have developed over time, children understand how the past influences the present.
Across the school pupils engage in historical enquiry which allows them to decipher more information on a given topic. The curriculum is cohesive and so the children develop a chronological understanding of history across both Key Stages. Additionally, they will develop their knowledge of one or more of the following: evidence; interpretations; cause; change; similarities and differences and significance at an age-appropriate level. From there, the children should be able to relate previous learning to other upcoming topics. Children in EYFS will begin to develop their knowledge and understanding of familiar situations in the past, such as Christmas, as well as having opportunities for children to begin to organise events using basic chronology. History is an inclusive subject where children with SEND can foster their interests and enjoy learning about the past.
Our history curriculum is cohesive so that children develop a chronological understanding of our history within and across both Key Stages. Children in EYFS will be given the opportunity to comment on and compare the past and present, preparing them for the Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and changes beyond living memory. A key part of our curriculum is children’s understanding of the chronology of history and the identification of key content and knowledge. Children will regularly have the opportunity to order events and significant people from all the periods of time they have studied so far. Through historical enquiry the children will engage in key content through which the learning grows over a series of lessons. They will develop their knowledge of one or more of the following: evidence; interpretations; cause; change; similarities and differences and significance at an age appropriate level. Finally, at the end of the sequence children will communicate their learning and present it effectively to show what they have learned.
We encourage them to think and act like a historian through the use of rich narratives, handling original and/or reproduced artefacts, visits to local historical places, workshops and first and second-hand accounts. Children will build up and extend their substantive knowledge of historical events by making connections between historical concepts, other subjects and periods in history.
History and SEND
At St John’s, historical learning sequences are planned for all children, with the consideration that History can be a very interesting and enjoyable subject for children with all categories of SEND. Opportunities to examine primary evidence and artifacts together with secondary sources are vital in making this subject relevant for all. There are opportunities for practical work in the classroom, which may include sorting pictures, or information; drawing or model making, conversations and presentations around their own experiences and those of others, as well as opportunities to work with a partner or group. All these activities provide children with a low stress method of demonstrating their historical understanding.
When planning lessons, staff are mindful that some children need support when learning the skills required for group work, some individuals work better with a partner than in a larger group or even alone if this is most appropriate for their need. Staff consider that some neuro-divergent children can require more time to process information or can find it difficult to filter out sensory demands in a busy classroom. Where possible we try to find alternative working locations, and / or prompts and scaffolds are provided as appropriate. Some children, including those with SEND, demonstrate interest in specific historical topics. Where appropriate, staff will encourage and support children in extending their learning further.
Through the high quality first teaching of History taking place we will see the impact of the subject in different ways. Through pupil voice children will be able to talk about the skills and knowledge they have acquired. Children will be engaged in History lessons and want to find out more. Children will complete research independently through projects and homework and to further their own enjoyment about the subject or topic. Work will show that a range of topics is being covered, cross curricular links are made where possible and differentiated work set as appropriate. The school environment will be history rich through displays, resources, vocabulary etc. As historians, children will learn lessons from history to influence the decisions they make in their lives in the future. We want our children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about history, highlighting the importance of studying events from the past and bringing them to our pupils present, will shape our pupils’ futures.