History should stimulate the children’s interest and understanding about the life of people. St Gerard’s program of study will help pupils gain knowledge and an understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. The children learn a sense of chronology, and through this they develop a sense of identity and a cultural understanding based on their historical heritage. Thus they learn to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern multicultural Britain. By considering how people lived in the past, they are better able to make their own life choices today. Our children will gain skills and knowledge that will equip them for all areas of their future lives. In our school, History makes a significant contribution to British Values education by teaching about how Britain developed as a democratic society. We teach children to understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today; we also teach them to investigate these past events and by doing so, to develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem solving. Although direct reference to British Values is not continuously made, the policy has been written with full awareness of our responsibility and commitment to this purpose.
The aims of History are:
- To foster in children an interest in the past and to develop an understanding that enables them to enjoy all that History has to offer;
- To enable children to know about significant events in British history, and to appreciate how things have changed over time;
- To develop a sense of chronology;
- To know and understand how the British system of democratic government has developed and in doing so to contribute to a child’s citizenship education;
- To understand how Britain is part of a wider European culture, and to study some aspects of European history;
- To have some knowledge and understanding of historical development in the wider world;
- To help children understand society and their place in it so that they develop a sense of their cultural heritage;
- To develop in children the skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation and local area.
Teaching and Learning
The school uses a variety of teaching and learning styles in History lessons. Our principal aim is to develop the children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in history. We ensure that the act of investigating and making something includes exploring and developing ideas, and evaluating and developing work. We do this best through a mixture of whole-class teaching and individual/group activities. Teachers draw attention to good examples of individual performance as models for the other children. They encourage children to evaluate their own ideas and methods, and the work of others, and say what they think and feel about them. We give children the opportunity within lessons to work on their own and collaborate with others, on projects in two and three dimensions and on different scales. Children also have the opportunity to use a wide range of materials and resources, including ICT. We ensure that history is learnt through lessons, visits/residential visits and external partners.
We recognise the fact that we have children of differing ability in all our classes, and so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. The History progression document will be used to ensure learning is age and ability appropriate. This will build the skills, subject specific vocabulary and knowledge in a sequential and applicable way. We achieve this through a range of strategies:
- setting common tasks that are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- setting tasks of increasing difficulty where not all children complete all tasks;
- grouping children by ability and setting different tasks for each group;
- providing a range of challenges with different resources;
- using additional adults to support the work of individual children or small groups
History Curriculum Planning
History is a foundation subject in the National Curriculum. At St Gerard’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School we use the national skills and objectives set out in key stages of work as the basis for our curriculum planning in history. We may adapt the national scheme to the local circumstances of our school as we may use the local environment as the starting point for aspects of our work.
We carry out the curriculum planning in history in three phases: long-term, medium-term and short-term. Our long-term plan maps out the themes covered in each term during the key stage. Our history subject leaders work this out in conjunction with teaching colleagues in each year group and the Key Stage Leads (EYFS, KS1 and KS2). We produce a History curriculum road map to demonstrate the development of the subject throughout each year group.
Our medium-term plans, which we have adopted from the national scheme and if appropriate a commercial scheme, give details of each unit of work for each term. These plans define what we will teach and ensure an appropriate balance and distribution of work across each term. Each class teacher is responsible for developing and using the medium term plans. Copies are available to the Subject Leader.
Class teachers complete a weekly plan over a series of lessons -which may include a stand alone history lesson or be cross curricular. These list the specific learning objectives for each lesson and give details of how to teach the lessons. The class teacher keeps these individual plans, and the class teacher and subject leader often discuss them on an informal basis.
We plan the activities in history so that they build upon the prior learning of the children and prepare them for the next stage of learning. They will be planned using the Progression documents and Topic overviews to ensure appropriate progress and sequential learning. While we give children of all abilities opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding, we also build planned progression into the scheme of work, so that there is an increasing challenge for the children as they move up through the school. These skills are then assessed by the class teacher with the subject lead to ensure progression for all children.