At Stannington First School, we believe that high-quality history lessons inspire our pupils to want to know more about the past and to think and act as historians. By linking learning to a range of themes, children have opportunities to investigate and interpret the past, understand chronology, build an overview of the past in our school community, local area and across Britain, as well as that of the wider world. They are also given opportunities to communicate historically.
We develop pupils with the following essential characteristics to help them become historians:
- An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods, including significant events in Britain’s past
- Learning about the concept of chronology, which underpins children's developing sense of period, as well as key concepts such as change and causation
- The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas confidently to a range of audiences
- The ability to support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using historical evidence from a range of sources
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past by formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make critical use of it to support their learning
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics
- A developing sense of curiosity about the past and how and why people interpret the past in different ways
Our history lead has worked with colleagues across the Morpeth Partnership to ensure we have a long term history plan with clear expectations for the progression of knowledge and skills from EYFS through to Year 13. 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 revision of facts and historical understanding are built into lessons.
In each year group in our school, from EYFS through to Year 4 pupils learn about:
- Events beyond their living memory
- Significant historical events
- Significant individuals and their achievements
- An aspect of local history
- In Years 3 and 4, pupils also learn about the achievements of the Earliest Civilisations
For each theme, from Year 1:
Class teachers share a knowledge organiser with pupils which outlines key knowledge/skills (including vocabulary) all children must master;
- Teacher assessment is measured against the key knowledge and skills and other forms of assessment are used, such as the use of a class quiz, which also supports learners’ ability to block learning and increase space in the working memory;
- Challenge questions create opportunities for pupils to apply their learning and
- Educational visits visiting experts are planned to enhance the learning experience.
Local history and heritage studies are an integral part of our history curriculum. Studying local history allows our pupils to look at what was happening in Northumberland at different periods in time and to see the extent to which it mirrors or differs from what was happening elsewhere.
Through local history and heritage studies we aim to enable our pupils to:
- Understand how and why their local community has developed in the way it has
- Investigate the people and events that took place where they live
- Develop a sense of historical curiosity about their area and a sense of place
- See how Northumberland was involved in, responded to and was affected by regional, national and international events and actions – was Northumberland typical or was it unique?
- Understand why Northumberland is worth knowing about
- Be aware of the features of their local community and the extent to which they are an asset
- Strengthen their chronological understanding and their appreciation of how and why some things change and some remain the same
These studies include finding out about the lives of significant individuals who lived locally such as Grace Darling, Capability Brown or George Stephenson. Our pupils will also investigate what life was like in Stannington and Northumberland during the First and Second World Wars, learning about some of the local people and animals who were involved. They will investigate how and why Roman settlers changed the landscape of Northumberland and the impact of Viking invasions on the island of Lindisfarne.
We work with our local history society and parish council who organise community events to commemorate significant anniversaries such as the Centenary of the end of World War 1 or the 75th anniversary of VE day. Involving our pupils is integral to the success of these events and the organisers have funded education visits for our pupils and lots of artefacts for school, to bring learning to life. These include our own Anderson air raid shelter which has been installed on the school field.
Our pupils enjoy learning about history and can talk enthusiastically about what they have learned. Our history curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression.
If pupils are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes
- Pupil discussions about their learning
- Key questioning skills built into lessons
- Child-led assessment such as KWL grids and summative assessments aimed at targeting next steps in learning.