History plays a key role in preparing children for life in modern Britain, as it enables pupils to gain a deep knowledge and broad understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
At Peel Hall Primary School, we believe that children should be inspired by learning to increase their curiosity about historical events. We emphasise the enquiry skills prevalent in the subject of history and seek to develop pupils reasoning and questioning abilities. The past comes to life when children use a variety of sources of information to find clues and evidence and take part in discussions with their peers to answer their own questions. These sources could include real artefacts, replicas of items from the past, information texts, encyclopaedias and reliable websites.
Visitors and visits are key to bringing history to life. These might include visits to museums to explore artefacts and to live a day in the life of someone from the period being studied. It might include visits to cities of significance such as York for the study of Vikings, Chester for studying Romans and Manchester and Quarry Bank Mill in Styal when exploring local history. Children enjoy a wide range of experience days when they can dress up and explore the food, culture and experiences from the time period they are studying.
We believe that the teaching of history should be done in a cross-curricular, creative and imaginative way. We encourage learning to take place in a very practical way, such as through design and technology, exploring how stone as tools and dwelling were made. To support this, history objectives are used as the basis for some of our topics thematic questions. Children should also use their skills in English and Maths throughout by completing tasks, such as, writing a diary entry as a child during evacuation or calculating the number of years that may have passed since a significant event.
In Nursery and Reception children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They also learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
In Key Stages 1 and 2 History is delivered through four strands:
- Chronological Knowledge and Understanding
- Historical Concepts
- Continuity and Change
- Cause and Consequence
- Similarities and Differences
- Historical Enquiry and Interpretations of History
- Historical Terms (Taught in all units of learning)
The National Curriculum objectives are as follows (year group after objective denotes in which year group the objective is covered):
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life: Year 1
- events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries: Year 2
- the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods: Year 2
- significant historical events, people and places in their own locality: Year 1
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age: Year 3
- a local history study: Year 4
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066: a significant turning point in British history, for example, the first railways or the Battle of Britain: Year 6
- the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China: Year 5
- Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world: Year 6
- the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain: Year 3
- Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots: Year 4
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor: Year 5
- a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300: Year 4
To assess children’s development against these objectives, we use ‘Classroom Monitor,’ which teachers regularly update. This is then monitored every half-term by myself, the history co-ordinator, Mr. Smith, to ensure that coverage and children’s attainment are robust and secure.