Our vision is for the children at Hampreston to have a growing understanding of the past through learning about human achievements and experiences and how history shapes the future. We want our children to have a curiosity not only about what has happened and when but also why. This is important to foster understanding and tolerance of other cultures, places and people. We want the children at Hampreston to 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.
The study of history involves engaging pupils in investigating questions about people and events in the past in order to enable them to better understand their lives today and for a future as more informed and enlightened citizens. Through the study of history pupils also develop a wide range of critical thinking skills, which enable them to understand the contested nature of knowledge and to distinguish between ‘fact’ and subjectivity when it comes to reaching conclusions and making judgements about the past.
The aims of the 2014 National Curriculum for history are for pupils to:
know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
History within the EYFS Framework
Understanding the World
ELG: Past and Present
Children at the expected level of development will:
Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society;
Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class;
Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
We adopt an enquiry focused approach to learning and teaching in history which develops our pupils as young historians. Through enquiry our pupils not only build subject knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at critical thinking, the use of specialised vocabulary and their grasp of subject concepts. Our history curriculum provides sufficient time and space for our pupils not only to acquire new knowledge and subject vocabulary but also to develop subject concepts and understand the significance of what they have learned.
Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of history involves the following;
History is taught in planned topic blocks, and cross curricular links are made where possible. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge. Many of these topic blocks are taken from the Connected History learning programme while some are more specific to our school and local area.
Key enquiry questions for topic blocks and ancillary questions for lessons are used widely to encourage children’s curiosity and therefore their depth of learning of historical knowledge and skills. We structure learning in history through big question led enquiries about relevant historical topics, places and themes. Our curriculum is therefore ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach historical topics, places, themes and issues in their entirety we restrict opportunities for pupils to master and apply critical thinking skills and achieve more challenging subject outcomes. The learning is carefully structured through the use of ancillary questions, to enable pupils to build their knowledge and understanding in incremental steps of increasing complexity until they reach the point where they are able to answer the question posed at the beginning of the investigation.
Learning and teaching in history also recognise the importance of the local area with a number of our investigations involving observation, recording, presentation, interpretation and the evaluation of historical information outside of the classroom e.g. significant people, places and events locally. We make use of our local area through visits to enhance learning e.g. Stonehenge, Cranborne Ancient Technology Centre.
Learning and teaching in history are interactive and practical allowing opportunities for pupils to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom. Wherever possible we provide our pupils with contemporaneous historical evidence including narratives, paintings, photographs, artefacts, and data in the form of censuses and films to analyse and from which to reach conclusions and make judgements.
In the EYFS, we teach history as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year, relating the historical aspects of the children’s learning to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals. History makes a significant contribution to the ELG objectives of developing a child’s understanding of the world.
Assessment is an integral and continuous part of teaching and learning and is based upon teachers’ judgements of pupil attainment and progress. We assess the children’s work in history by making informal judgements as we observe the children during lessons. Children receive effective feedback through teacher assessment, both orally and through written feedback.
Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching to support and enable the success of each child. In KS1 and KS2, Summative assessment takes place at the end of each unit. Formative assessment takes place on an ongoing daily basis and teachers adjust planning accordingly to meet the needs of their class. In addition, we place a strong emphasis on the importance of questioning: this enables us both to explore topics together as a class as well as verbally develop skills during our lessons.
The Foundation Stage deliver history content through the ‘Understanding of the World: Past and Present’ strand of the EYFS curriculum. In EYFS, we assess the children’s Understanding of the World according to the Development Matters statements.
The effectiveness of teaching and learning is monitored through lesson observations, book scrutinies and conversations with pupils.
However, to truly understand the impact of our History curriculum, you would have to come and visit!