Our history curriculum aims to inspire children with a sense of curiosity about the past. Children will learn to appreciate the extraordinary diversity of societies throughout history and the complex lives of the people who lived within them. From a secure foundation of knowledge, children will develop the ability to ask perceptive questions, think critically and weigh evidence. They will develop the ability to understand another person’s point of view, even when that person comes from a distant time and place. They will learn to use their judgement to draw conclusions and construct arguments in verbal and written form. Children will develop perspective on their own lives and society, and gain the ability to examine the opportunities and challenges of the world today within an historical context.
Our history curriculum is built around giving children an understanding of history as a chronological narrative. The story of the British Isles, the people who have shaped the nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world runs throughout the curriculum. Children also learn about significant aspects of global history, thoughtfully placed within their chronological context.
In order for children to know more and remember more in each area of history studied, there is a structure to the lesson sequence whereby prior learning is always considered and opportunities for consolidation of key concepts, facts and vocabulary are built into lessons. From this secure base, children are able to study new areas of history in their context, examining the links, for example, between the local social and religious history of Norwood Green and the global military, cultural and economic history of the British Empire. Children will become progressively more adept at understanding and using methods of historical enquiry: finding and analysing source material; examining how evidence can be used to make historical claims; and discerning how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
In Key Stage One, children develop an awareness of the past and talk about it using a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They study some of the ways in which we can find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is presented. For example, they learn how toys and transport have changed since their grandparents were young, and are encouraged to ask questions at home and present what they have discovered in class. Children also learn about historically significant people and events and how they fit within a chronological framework: for example, visiting Windsor Castle to learn about the Norman Conquest, the monarchy and our Queen Elisabeth II. To support children’s growing understanding of historical timescales, they make a study of two people from the distant and recent past and compare the times in which they lived. Recently, children have compared the lives and achievements of the explorers Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, and the sportsmen Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt.
In Key Stage Two, children continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. The history of Britain is taught sequentially in Year 3 and Year 4 from the Stone Age to the time of Edward the Confessor, including a study of the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain. From this secure foundation of Britain through the ages, children learn about Ancient Greece and its influence on modern Western society; the formation of early civilisations through a study of the Shang Dynasty; and compare and contrast British history with Benin from 900CE to 1300CE. Children are encouraged to ask questions about change, causation and significance, and answer questions through thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. In Year 6, children undertake an investigation into the local history of Norwood Green, and learn first-hand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources, including census records, eye witness accounts, photographs and reports.
At the end of each unit, children are given the opportunity to write an essay demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of the key concepts they have been taught. The children’s learning in history is assessed at the end of each unit by teachers, informed by contributions to class discussions, work in history books and their final essay.