History at Heathmere
The National Curriculum states that the teaching of History is compulsory in all state-funded primary schools in England and therefore at Heathmere Primary School we are required, by law, to teach History to all pupils in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, our pupils are exposed to historical concepts through opportunities that enable them to achieve the ‘Past and Present’ Early Learning Goal. We have developed our current History curriculum to align with the National Curriculum requirements. At Heathmere we celebrate the history that surrounds us, this includes: the unique backgrounds and cultures of our families and the history and traditions of our local and wider communities.
We also know that research demonstrates how studying History can help children to understand their place in the world, and in the long story of human development. The study of History challenges pupils to make sense of the similarities and differences in human experiences across time and place (Ofsted, 2021). Therefore, our ambition for History at Heathmere is to teach all pupils how to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. This aim supports our overall curriculum vision: children’s learning is purposeful, empowering them to be ambitious for their future.
The History curriculum at Heathmere sits alongside, and is complemented by, several national curriculum subjects including: Science, English, Languages and Religious Education. When creating our History curriculum progression map, we looked for opportunities to draw links between these subjects and integrate teaching where appropriate. We also ensured subject content was planned and taught using a progressive model across the school. Teachers at Heathmere ignite pupils’ curiosity about the past and equip them with the historical enquiry skills needed to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Pupils leave Heathmere with a thorough understanding of history as a subject that promotes a coherent understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
All pupils in year 1 to year 6 partake in discrete History lessons throughout the school year; the skills and knowledge that will prepare our pupils for these History lessons is also embedded within our Early Years curriculum.
Our History curriculum focuses on ensuring that historical enquiry skills and knowledge are built on year on year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all pupils. The content within our History curriculum has been carefully mapped out to support pupils across the curriculum, and in their wider lives, as they move through their primary school years.
Through historical enquiry, our pupils learn about the nature of primary and secondary sources, begin to understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed, develop chronological understanding and make connections between time periods. At Heathmere, historical enquiry is at the centre of all history lessons and is taught through high quality teaching, engaging lessons and interactive classroom discussions.
Our History curriculum also focuses on substantive and disciplinary knowledge. Substantive knowledge refers to the residual knowledge that pupils should take away from the unit after it has been taught. It consists of the core facts and historical knowledge of the period, such as historical narrative, significant events or people, period features, chronology and substantive concepts. Disciplinary knowledge includes all the skills that pupils need to develop over time in their history lessons as historians. These skills enable all pupils to critically analyse contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past and make their own reasoned judgements about the past.
The History curriculum at Heathmere provides all pupils with an essential understanding of Britain’s past and the past of the wider world. The content taught within our History curriculum enables all pupils at Heathmere to develop a passion for history and curiosity about the past.
The Curriculum Lead and Subject Leads at Heathmere monitor the impact of the History curriculum, ensuring that all pupils successfully learn the curriculum through a range of monitoring arrangements including: curriculum progression and planning reviews, learning walks, books looks and pupil voice. Pupils’ progress in History is monitored by class teachers as part of our end of year assessment procedures; pupils’ also demonstrate the progress they have made in History by completing an end of unit knowledge organiser.