At Greenfields, we are very proud and lucky to have our enquiry curriculum. This really benefits the children’s ability to learn about history and it gives more depth of opportunity to the teachers .From EYFS to year 6 we have developed strategies and techniques under our curriculum to develop historical knowledge, skills and understanding.
The aims of history at Greenfields are in line with the curriculum, they are to ensure that children:
- Know and understand the history of the British Isles as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
- Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
- Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
- Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
- Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
At Greenfields, the teaching and learning of History focuses on enabling children to think as historians. The objectives of history teaching are based on the requirements of the National Curriculum programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2.
In both Key Stages 1 and 2 children focus on three strands:
- Chronological understanding
- Knowledge & interpretation
- Historical enquiry
At Greenfields, history involves:
- Sequencing events chronologically with the use of dates and key events across periods
- Exploring concepts through historical enquiry by asking and answering questions
- Interpreting similar events in history and understanding that different versions of the same event exist
- Looking at continuity and change to understand how the world has developed around us
- Understanding the cause of significant events and the consequences thereafter
- Noting similarities and differences from across periods and comparing them to our own lives
- Understanding the significance of key events and the impact they have had on the world.
This is achieved through activities such as:
- Going on educational visits in the local area and places further afield in the UK.
- Working with artefacts to discover more about different periods
- Creating working walls as a class that explore lines of enquiry
- Using resources in all phases to bring to life abstract concepts such as the Stone Age, the Romans and Mayans.
- Linking our history work at school to the wider community, particularly in early years and key stage one so that pupils can draw upon experiences to link with their learning.
- The use of primary and secondary sources to support teaching and learning.
In Pre-School, Nursery and Reception, history is taught as an integral part of thematic work covered during the year. In Early Years, history is related to the ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ objectives set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and it is about the children beginning to understand chronology, understand that things change over time such as the decay of fruit and vegetables or the ageing of a human being. Also, children begin to use time-related vocabulary to be able to sequence the past, present and future.
Key stage 1
At Key Stage 1, history is about developing knowledge, skills and understanding relating to the children’s own experiences with a large focus on understanding chronology and the local community around them. This acts as the foundation so that when the children reach key stage 2, they have enough knowledge and experience to be able to learn about more abstract historical concepts, such as the Mayans, the Romans and the Stone Age more effectively.
Key stage 2
At Key Stage 2, history is about developing knowledge, skills and understanding relating to different periods of history, intertwined with the development of more local topics. Pupils will begin to weigh up historical evidence and use historical terminology fluently in their lessons. By the time pupils reach the end of year 6, they should have a clear understanding of the world around them and why it is the way it is whilst being able to judge the validity of certain information.
Our use of questions in history
We have been changing all of the over-arching questions we use to ‘what if’ questions and by the end of the year we will have a new whole-school enquiry scheme with this style of questioning. This allows the children to develop their historical enquiry skills at the beginning of a topic and they can re-visit the question they are looking at, at various points. Also, we use weekly questions to ensure that learning is focused on relevant historical concepts.
History as a part of our broad and balanced curriculum
There is a breadth of opportunity to learn about history at Greenfields, outside of history lessons. We often use historical concepts from our enquiry themes to inform the books we use for english lessons. For example:
At Greenfields there have been various history-related clubs such as the historical society – where the children looked at different historic periods. Also, the little shop of wonders – where the children look at a wide variety of artefacts and drew and sculpted historical structures.
SMART weeks are used at the end of the spring and summer terms to move away from the curriculum at whatever the teacher and pupils decide upon. A year 4 class decided to link up an environmental theme and a historic period and look at the 1906 San Francisco earth quake.
We aim to put educational visits at the centre of our planning so that pupils can complete enough prior learning so that they can get the most out of every trip. Here are some pictures from the current academic year:
Current developments with history in our school.
History Quality Mark
After all of our school’s hard work in history last year, we are very
proud to announce that we were awarded gold for the history quality mark, the highest award you can receive. We are the only school in the North East of England to achieve this award.
The history subject coordinator applied for our school to receive funding and support from the English Speaking Union. The programme is aimed at Year 5 pupils and is called ‘Discover Debating’. We are very lucky to have the head of the debating society from Northumbria University, Ali Chapman, who comes in to work with the children to support the use of formal language and oracy skills. The aim is that this programme will support progress across the curriculum, through diversifying the types of conversations the children have and empowering their voices when it comes to using evidence to support their own opinion.
English heritage schools
This year we will be working with Viki Angel who runs English Heritage Schools for the North East of England. Through this, we will be bringing new life to some of our more local history topics and hopefully through the work that the children do, we will be awarded the title of being an English Heritage School.
For any more information about our school’s approach to history or if you feel you can contribute to anything our school is involved in this year, please do not hesitate to contact the school and ask to speak to Daniel Lumsdon, Specialist Leader of Education for History.