History Curriculum Statement
At Humberstone Infant and Junior Academies, our intention is to develop highly knowledgeable and confident young historians. Our History curriculum is designed to support this through a rich and meticulous curriculum plan, where substantive and disciplinary knowledge are deliberately and carefully integrated throughout.
History progression across the Academy enables all children to learn about and be inspired by the complexity of people’s lives and events within their own locality, and beyond to include Britain’s past and that of the wider world. With carefully planned opportunities to work historically, the children will understand the discipline of a Historian by developing their knowledge of historical enquiry and interpretation. Planned opportunities working with and beyond our local community, allows all children to expand their cultural capital and question the lasting legacy History holds today.
Our History curriculum is driven by carefully planned and sequenced essential knowledge, which is made clear in each project, and builds on prior knowledge through substantive concepts including: Past and Present, Power, Civilisation, War, Monarchy, Settlement, Power and Trade. Repetition and review of these concepts allows children to build schema and embed their knowledge, exploring historical similarities and differences within and across time. Each project is driven by the development of Chronology, Interpretation and Enquiry through defined Working Historically objectives, to embed disciplinary concepts including: Change and Continuity, Similarity and Difference, Causation and Historical Significance. This allows children to explore the discipline of a historian, supported by completing carefully chosen case studies, throughout the academy, on historians such as Kathleen Kenyan, Howard Carter, Lord Carnarvon and Phillippa Langley. Within each project, children’s Historical vocabulary is clearly defined and taught explicitly, supporting children to have a high command of historical terminology and communication. This ensures children can articulate their knowledge and are able to communicate and debate alongside historians.
Our History curriculum focuses on progressive knowledge and vocabulary across the school and is primarily delivered through carefully planned projects. Each project allows the children to understand significant events, people and civilizations, by organising and connecting children’s knowledge through substantive concepts.
In the Early Years and Foundation Stage, pupils begin to build early schemas which relate to their learning of key concepts in KS1, for example, chronological concepts such as ‘the past’ or substantive concepts such as ‘king’ or ‘queen’.
In KS1, children are taught to articulate essential knowledge relating to history within and beyond their living memories. Children study specific events and people from the past, which together build a greater range and sophistication of schemata, relating their early understanding of disciplinary concepts and chronology.
In KS2, challenging and well sequenced projects allow children to secure clear narratives within and across periods studied. Children are able to recall subject specific knowledge, and utilise their knowledge of substantive and disciplinary concepts to explore more complex viewpoints and interpretations of History. By the end of Key Stage 2 children have a deep understanding of historical narratives throughout time and across the world. These carefully planned History-focussed projects answer a challenging and thought-provoking driving question, which provides an authentic and deliberate lens in which to view History and Historical enquiry.
How have toys changed within living memory?
How have monarchs shaped Britain?
How has the Stone Age shaped our lives today?
How can we keep local Roman History alive?
Is History ever her story?
Ancient Civilisations: What can we learn from the rise and fall of Ancient Egypt?
How has nursing changed over time?
Why was the Great Fire of London significant?
How has Windrush impacted Leicester citizens?
Richard III, Hero or Villain?
How did the Ancient Greeks influence modern Britain?
Prior knowledge is made clear in each project to ensure that children are retrieving and utilising previous learning, in order to build their Historical schema and embed their knowledge to their long term memory. This builds into explicit and deliberate knowledge defined for each project, as well as working historically objectives, which are clearly and rigorously planned to allow a deep understanding of the work of a historian.
Each project works towards a carefully planned final outcome that demonstrates the depth and application of subject knowledge for each child. This ranges from historically accurate models of architecture during The Great Fire of London, documentaries on the Windrush Generation presented at The Sue Townsend Theatre, and Art work demonstrating historical knowledge of Richard III exhibited at the Richard III Visitors Centre. Historical knowledge is developed through working alongside adult experts, visits to museums, and historical sites and undertaking interviews of historians or those significant to their projects. Consequently, children continuously apply subject specific vocabulary through regular opportunities to voice and justify their individual and growing perspectives and knowledge.
The embedding of Historical narratives is supported through the use of interactive timelines displayed in each classroom, whereby children can contextualise the periods they study across time, and build on their understanding of World History throughout the curriculum.
The classroom timelines provide the means for children to continuously build their understanding of chronology and their mental timelines and secure chronological frameworks, further supported by timelines to refer to in their books with key ‘historical markers’ relevant to the projects they will study throughout the key stage. This is supported by working timelines in each project, which plot key events within time (the life of a ruler or sequence of events for example), to build a sense of period.
As well as these History-focused projects, children’s Historical knowledge is reviewed and applied across the curriculum, in order to continuously build their schema. In English, all children explore the Historical contexts of place and time in which texts are written and set, to gain a contextual understanding of the text and author studied. Community Circles are used as an opportunity to explore and delve into key historical moments throughout the year, such as Remembrance Day, Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
By the end of Key Stage 2, monitoring shows that children have an in-depth understanding of essential knowledge, and are able to organise and build links within and across time through substantive and disciplinary concepts.
Pupils know and remember more History content as identified in the History route map, and develop their understanding of History as a discipline. Pupil voice demonstrates that children feel inspired and curious about the lives of those who came before them and the significance historical events can still have today. They have secure mental timelines and understanding of historical narratives, which enable them to explore and compare across time, as well as a good command of subject-specific vocabulary, in order to articulate their knowledge and the perspectives of historians.
Monitoring and assessment of the History curriculum is a continuous process, whereby teachers assess the progressive knowledge of events and societies, important concepts, chronological frameworks and disciplinary knowledge. Assessment is underpinned by the use of detailed project rubrics, specific to each project, which breaks down the essential knowledge and working Historically objectives. This is used by the teachers to ensure learning addresses misconceptions and gaps in knowledge, and informs planning, marking and questioning of pupils, to ensure knowledge defined is committed to long-term memory. It is also a tool used by the pupils, to encourage self and peer assessment throughout the project.
The impact of our History curriculum and teaching is further measured through learning walks and book reviews, which focus on high quality of teaching and learning, depth of subject knowledge and purposeful opportunities for application. Additionally, weekly Project Tuning meetings allow each year group to analyse planning sequences, ensuring learning is rigorous, History-focussed, and that the teaching of substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge is meticulously integrated. Crucially, pupil voice and pupil outcomes allow the children to play a part in sculpting their own historical perspectives, which drives their curiosity and underpins their individual standpoint as young historians.