This document outlines the knowledge, language and concepts that should be taught in History. It includes:
- A summary of the History knowledge and principles that underpin our approach
- Long Term Sequence (curriculum map) for History
- Progression of History including alignment with the National Curriculum, substantive concepts, big ideas and questions as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary
It is influenced by Ofsted document and research papers, including:https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/04/27/history-in-outstanding-primary-schools/ and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-review-series-history/research-review-series-history.
Our History curriculum draws upon several powerful sources of History:
1. Substantive knowledge - this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used about the past. Common misconceptions are explicitly revealed as non-examples and positioned against known and accurate content. Misconceptions are challenged carefully and in the context of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge. We do not introduce misconceptions too early, as pupils need to construct a mental model in which to position new knowledge.
Substantive concepts, such as invasion and civilisation are taught through explicit vocabulary instruction as well as through the direct content and context of the study. The substantive concepts that we develop through our History curriculum are:
Community Knowledge Invasion Civilisation Power Democracy
2. Disciplinary knowledge – this is the use of that knowledge and how children construct understanding through historical claims, arguments and accounts. We call it ‘Working Historically.’ The features of thinking historically in our History Curriculum are:
Chronology Cause & consequence Change & continuity Similarity & difference Evidence Significance
Historical analysis is developed through selecting, organising and integrating knowledge through reasoning and inference making in response to our structured questions and challenges. We call this ‘Thinking historically’
History is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by the implementation of Bjork’s desirable difficulties, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect with significant periods of time, people, places and events. Our History curriculum strategically incorporates a range of modules that revisit, elaborate and sophisticate key concepts, events, people and places.
During Early Years Foundation Stage, children begin to form the foundations for later work in history. Children have lots of opportunities to develop a sense of past and present, through lots of discussion. Children are encouraged to talk about their experiences of events, for example, Christmas and birthdays, using the language ‘yesterday’, ‘today’, ‘last week’. Children also examine appropriate artefacts (for example: Marvellous Me boxes or household artefacts) or discovering the meaning of old and new in relation to their own lives.
Key Stage 1
The sequence in KS1 focuses on young children developing a sense of time, place and change. It begins with children studying Changes within living memory to develop an understanding of difference over time within concrete experiences of their lives. This chronological knowledge is foundational to the understanding of change over time.
Pupils study the Lives of significant individuals, focusing on David Attenborough and Mary Anning. Chronology and place in time steers the understanding of the context in which these significant individuals lived. Terms such as legacy are introduced and used within the context of each study. This study is revisited and enhanced by studying the Lives of further significant individuals, including Neil Armstrong, Mae Jemison, Bernard Harris Jr and Tim Peake.
In KS1, pupils study local history through significant events, people and places. The locality is further understood by knowing about the places, the buildings, the events, the people that tell a story of the past.
Events beyond their living memory. Here, pupils draw upon early concepts of chronology and connect it to more abstract, but known, events in the past focusing on the Great Fire of London.
There are further opportunities for pupils to revisit and retrieve prior learning with a focus on ‘Events beyond living memory’. Connections, where relevant, are made to wider studies.
Lower Key Stage 2
In KS2, pupils study the cultural and technological advances made by our ancestors as well as understanding how historians think Britain changed throughout the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. Archaeological history guides us to know how early humans were creative, innovative and expert at surviving in changeable environments. Having an in-depth understanding of Iron Age Britain offers solid foundations for the study of how Rome influenced Britain. This foundational knowledge is built upon and used to support long-term retrieval to contrast culture and technology. Pupils are able to draw upon prior understanding to support and position new knowledge, therefore constructing much more stable long-term memories. Substantive concepts, such as invasion, law, civilisation and society are developed through explicit vocabulary instruction.
Studies of how Britain was settled by Anglo-Saxons and Scots gives a focus on cultural change and the influence of Christianity. Pupils study how powerful kings and their beliefs shaped the Heptarchy of Anglo-Saxon Britain. Our History also focuses on the Struggle for throne of England through a study of the Vikings, their origins, conquests and agreements with English Anglo-Saxon kings to settle and dwell in the region known as Danelaw.
Upper Key Stage 2
Later in KS2, knowledge of Anglo-Saxons is revisited and used to connect with a study of the Maya civilisation. The study compares advancement of the Maya culture and innovation to that of the Anglo-Saxons around c.AD 900. Here, location, settlement, people, culture and invention are compared and contrasted.
Pupils also study Significant monarchs after 1066. Five kings and queens are a focus of a depth study and comparison, drawing on their beliefs, actions and understanding their legacy. This chronological study revisits known periods of time and introduces new content and monarchs.
Ancient history, such as the Achievements of the earliest civilisations - Ancient Egyptians and the study of Ancient Greek life and achievements are also studied learning about the influence on the western world. The understanding of culture, people and places are central to these studies. History connects these studies with prior knowledge of what was happening in Britain at the same time. The effect of this is to deepen and connect a broader understanding of culture, people, places and events through comparison.
Recent history, such as the Battle of Britain for example, is studied in the context of how conflict changed society in the Second World War. Modern history is also studied through units such as the Windrush Generation. Knowing about slavery, Caribbean culture and the injustice of the past enlightens pupils to understand why events happened and how these pioneers faced racism, discrimination and prejudice. PSHE and SMSC are vital components of the history curriculum - challenging racism and prejudice in all its forms. This is an integral feature of CUSP that spotlights the lessons we can learn from the past.
We implement our intent using CUSP History. A guiding principle of CUSP History is that pupils become ‘more expert’ with each study and grow an ever broadening and coherent mental timeline. This guards against superficial, disconnected and fragmented understanding of the past. Specific and associated historical vocabulary is planned sequentially and cumulatively from Y1 to Y6. High frequency, multiple meaning words (Tier 2) are taught alongside and help make sense of subject specific words (Tier 3). Each learning module in history has a vocabulary module with teacher guidance, tasks and resources.
We organise intended learning into modules or units. These group the knowledge, skills and understanding that we want children to remember, do and use. Each module aims to activate and build upon prior learning, including from the early years, to ensure better cognition and retention. The skills required for working in a particular subject are outlined e.g. working scientifically. Close attention is paid to the tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary to be taught to allow pupils to engage in the required vocabulary. They are deliberately spaced within and across years to introduce and revisit key concepts. This enables staff to deepen pupil understanding and embed learning. Each module is carefully sequenced to enable pupils to purposefully layer learning from previous sessions to facilitate the acquisition and retention of key knowledge.
Lessons typically are split into six phases:
- CONNECT This provides an opportunity to connect the lesson to prior learning from a previous module or lesson. Teachers return children’s attention to the previous lesson’s knowledge note/the big idea for the learning module, including key vocabulary. Examples of thinking harder routines include Flick Back 5, Recap questions, Quizzing. Retrieval practice allows all pupils to take time to remember things and activate their memories. Quizzing allows questions to be asked and allows pupils to carry out retrieval practice. Cumulative quizzing, allows for a few questions to be asked each lesson, which are built upon the previous lesson.
- EXPLAIN This is the explicit teaching that needs to take place. Teachers should ensure they are clear what they want children to know and remember. They plan for and explicitly address common misconceptions so they can address these in lessons as they arise. They should be clear about the substantive knowledge and the vocabulary that they want children to understand in the session. This can be developed using key information, facts, and images so that explanations are precise.
- EXAMPLE Providing pupils with high-quality examples is essential for learning. Pupils need to see worked examples. My turn, our turn, your turn is a technique that can be used to explicitly teach vocabulary and new concepts. Prepared examples should be carefully planned and need to be evident in teaching. An example in geography could be demonstrating how to label a map, before labelling a map together.
- ATTEMPT Guiding pupil practice allows pupils to rehearse, rephrase and elaborate their learning. Children need the chance to attempt and verbalise their understanding. Children’s own attempts are what help them to secure their understanding. Children need to have time to struggle and understand for themselves. This is not necessarily something that is recorded in books. This phase provides opportunities for teachers to check in with pupils to see who may need more challenge/support/scaffolds and if any misconceptions have arisen that need to be addressed. Extending the previous geography example, pupils could practice labelling a map.
- APPLY This is where pupils would typically begin to record in books. The number of scaffolds may vary.
- CHALLENGE Teachers get the children to interrogate their learning - summarise, explain, compare and contrast. Tools are built into routines to reduce overload and allow for hard thinking. These can be adapted for children based on their individual needs.
Long Term Sequence
In order to identify the impact our curriculum is having on our pupils, we check the extent to which learning has become permanently embedded in children’s long-term memory in addition to looking for excellence in their outcomes. We use four main tools to quality assure the implementation and impact of our curriculum:
- Learning observations help to evaluate subject knowledge, explanations, expectations, opportunities to learn, pupil responses, participation and relationships.
- Professional growth models help to improve staff subject knowledge and evidence informed practice such as retrieval and spaced practice, interleaving and explicit instruction techniques.
- Assessment and achievement articulate the outcomes from tasks and tests, how well the content is understood and what the strengths and limitations are; it informs what to do next.
- Pupil Book Studies help to evaluate curriculum structures, teaching methods, pupil participation and response through a dialogic model.
When undertaking these we ask the following key questions:
- How well do pupils remember the content that they have been taught?
- Do books and pupil discussions radiate excellence?
- Does learning ‘travel’ with pupils and can they deliberately reuse it in more sophisticated contexts?
Teachers employ a range of strategies both at and after the point of teaching to check the impact of their teaching on the permanence of pupils’ learning. These include: retrieval practice, vocabulary use and application, deliberate practice and rephrasing of taught content, cumulative quizzing within the learning sequence, summarising and explaining the learning question from the sequence, tests and quizzes. Teachers use information from tasks, tests, pupil book studies and other monitoring to support learning by responding to the gap between where pupils are and where they need to be. In lessons, they adapt explanations and examples to address misconceptions and provide additional practice or challenge where required. After lessons or tests, they analyse pupils’ responses to identify shared and individual gaps in learning and misconceptions. Teachers then adjust subsequent planned teaching in response.
We use summative assessment is ‘to provide an accurate shared meaning without becoming the model for every classroom activity’ (Christodolou, 2017). If our curriculum is effective, it will lead to improvements in summative assessments over time. Teacher assessment judgements are against an agreed assessment model (the curriculum). We make summative judgements annually. Teachers record summative judgements on OTrack.
Pupil book study is used as a method to quality assure our curriculum by talking to the children and looking in pupils’ books. We do this after content has been taught to see the extent to which pupils are knowing more, remembering more and able to do more. In preparation, we review the planned content, knowledge and vocabulary, so that conversations with pupils are meaningful and focused on what has been taught. When looking at books, we look at the content and knowledge, teaching sequence and vocabulary. We also consider pupils’ participation and consider the explanations and models used, the tasks the pupils are asked to do, the ability to answer carefully selected questions and retrieve information and the impact of written feedback. We ask careful questions that probe their knowledge, understanding and skills.
The Subject Leader undertakes a range of activities to understand what the curriculum looks like across the school and how well pupils know more, remember more and can do more as a result. In addition to the above tools, they use learning walks, planning reviews and book looks. They use their findings to support teachers to improve how they implement subjects and to make recommendations about the suitability of the intent for their subject. The Subject Leader formally reports on impact of the curriculum termly to the Curriculum Leader, Principal and Governors.