"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots" - Marcus Garvey
What does History look like at Cubitt Town Primary School?
The history curriculum at Cubitt Town Primary School aims to develop the active interest and enthusiasm of all groups of pupils. It provides opportunities for discovery and challenge and for pupils to take greater responsibility (commitment) for their learning. We want our children to understand the complexity of other people’s lives and the process of change; the diversity of societies and relationships between distinct groups; as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time through the teaching of history.
The intent of our history curriculum is to deliver a curriculum which is accessible to all and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and understand more ensuring they are fully prepared for KS3.
Our curriculum has been built to include our key curriculum drivers:
The children are encouraged to develop our school values (the 6Cs) when studying history, with a specific focus on challenge as children are encouraged to use a variety of sources to research, and to recognise and challenge bias independently. We understand that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn history outside the classroom, with visits to historical sites and museums. Children’s enquiries will use a range of resources to interpret a range of diversity issues within historical sources and accounts. We recognise that communication is the key to articulating ideas, developing understanding and engaging others. Through key enquiry questions children learn to debate, discuss and communicate their thoughts about their history learning.
In our curriculum we have also considered the journey of a child through the school, so that our curriculum is progressive, building on prior learning, and regularly revisiting taught concepts. Each year group has a history programme which has been designed specifically to match the needs of our school, ensuring all children meet the full programme of study outlined in the National Curriculum.
How is the curriculum for history organised?
To ensure coverage, depth and balance in the history curriculum, our school took part in a collaborative project with all Isle of Dogs schools, working with Christine Counsel to begin to develop a range of planning materials ranging from EYFS to Year 10. These materials identified the substantive and disciplinary knowledge to be taught for each unit of history, based around a key enquiry question. Our history subject lead has then worked with our class teachers to develop detailed medium term plans for each unit that include an enquiry question and key vocabulary for each lesson. Our History Progression Overview details the progression of knowledge and skills we expect the children to acquire and apply through their time at Cubitt Town.
Hands on and experiential learning
We aim to support the children's learning through a range of hands on experiences, including:
- handling artefacts ;
- educational visits; and
- workshops from outside specialists.
How do we teach history?
We teach history in a variety of ways as outlined below:
- Use of artefacts - Where possible we use a range of visual stimulus such as artefacts, videos and photographs for children to explore and investigate. We believe that handling real objects enhances the children’s historical knowledge, resourcefulness, understanding and skills.
- Use of sources / bias - We aim for children to recognise that bias exists in some form in all historical sources, and this needs to be accounted for in their interpretation of evidence.
- Technology - The use of ICT including web-based resources , Virtual reality headsets and interactive programs such as QR code trails enhances the students learning experience.
- Recap and retrieval - Use of ‘quick quizzes and mind maps(dual coding) to ensure children are revisiting prior learning to enable them to build a schema of knowledge therefore enabling them to know more and remember more. The four principles of memory (Education Inspection Framework) are also taken into consideration: what content pupils need to know, what they pay attention to, avoiding overload, and allowing for practice.
- Active learning - We recognise that children learn in a variety of ways, and so where appropriate, children will learn history outside the classroom, with visits to historical sites and museums.
- Reading is the core of the curriculum at Cubitt Town and enhances history further through the use of high quality texts relating to our jistory units in English.
- Storytelling as a way to enhance cultural understanding, since stories give children the chance to explore their own and other cultures. When hearing stories, children learn to empathise with unfamiliar situations, places, and peoples. Stories also have the ability to learn more about different values, traditions, and life experiences through stories.
Approaches to teaching
A wide variety of teaching approaches are used in history lessons to ensure children make good progress, and all learning styles are catered for. Class teachers ensure there is a good balance of whole class, group work and individual learning in history lessons. We also aim to incorporate links to our oracy curriculum with presentations by teachers, visitors and children; drama and role play; discussions and debates and themed days or weeks to inspire all learners. We use oracy in history to support children to constantly review their understanding, considering changing viewpoints and justifying opinions and ideas.
Our curriculum is organised so children in reception meet the aims of EYFS framework. The early learning goals are taken from Understanding the World:
- Talk about the lives of people around them and their roles in society.
- Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
How do we support our SEND learners?
We believe that all learners should primarily access the first quality teach and be immersed in class discussions during history lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners include:
- A pre-teach of topic specific vocabulary as an additional task
- A reader to support when researching using a range of sources
- Print outs of work/presentations to scaffold with independent tasks
- More time allocated to process information or instructions broken down into manageable chunks
- IT based support – listening to podcasts, reading of texts, videos.
We assess children’s work in history by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons, using dual coding at the beginning of KS2 lessons to support learning and with the use of ‘quick quizzes’ for assessment of fact retrieval. We mark a piece of work once it has been completed and we comment, as necessary.
All our staff, senior leaders and governors are involved in measuring the impact of our history curriculum in differing ways. This is planned through the School Development Plan, using our annual monitoring cycle and termly development plan to map out monitoring and review over the year. There is a clear monitoring cycle in place which evaluates history teaching and learning, outcomes, and pupil voice. These outcomes feed into action planning to continually evaluate and improve our teaching and learning in history.
Monitoring and evaluation could include:
- A review of learning in books
- Drop ins to history lessons
- Ongoing subject knowledge development and professional development for staff
- A review of medium-term planning
- Talking to pupils about learning in history
- Governor review sessions to evaluate the impact of the curriculum - this could be reviewing the website or the curriculum offer, talking to staff and pupils.