In History lessons at St Giles Academy we intend to nurture a love & curiosity for the past. You will see the curiosity and enjoyment our children experience learning about significant events, and people in British History through a topic-based approach. History permeates through our curriculum and is a key subject driver in the importance of ‘knowing more and remembering more’.
The children at St Giles will learn about our local past and make connections to it. Through topics tailored to our St Giles Curriculum our children will understand how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. They are taught to make links and connections within and across periods of history, developing a sense of chronology. This has the effect of children becoming confident historians. Most importantly developing the skills of enquiry, investigation, evaluation and interpretation of the past. Wherever possible the children will handle artefacts to interpret a range of sources to explore further the concepts of similarities and differences and continuity & change.
Coverage & Content
History is taught on a 2 year cycle. Each academic year the children will learn about three main history topics. Through studying a range of people from the past and present, who have had an impact on our world today, children are taught to challenge past stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background and are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.
Our topic-based approach allows knowledge to be built on and extended as the children move through school. Embedding and revisiting learning, making connections and developing a greater depth of understanding is paramount to our History curriculum.
Our inclusive and cross-curricular topic based approach takes the children on a learning journey; enrichening and enlivening History lessons which immerse the pupils in a variety of relevant themes. The topics also reflect expectations in the National Curriculum program of study.
We are acutely aware that for our children to succeed they need to develop a rich, broad vocabulary which is why we place an emphasis on developing the vocabulary of our children. Subject specific vocabulary is taught to enable our pupils to evaluate sources, discuss their findings and help them appreciate how history links together and consider the impact of significant historical events. Our St Giles topic based Curriculum also enriches English and language into every History lesson. Our history curriculum allows our children to enhance and embed their reading skills. They read from sources of evidence and write about elements of the past from different perspectives.
In KS1 although we actively introduce and are ambitious with the language we use, we understand the importance of not over complicating this language with very young children, but ensuring underlying principles and meanings of the words are taught and understood.
Within each History lesson, children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Questioning is used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts, skills or knowledge are introduced.
When children are learning about a subject through a discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that they are going to be ‘historians.’ They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within this subject.
At St Giles Academy the impact of the curriculum is assessed and evidenced through the children’s Topic Books and Floor Book. The class teacher makes ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned.
At the start of a topic, the children complete a Vocabulary Grid. This is to see what the children already know, and gives the teacher the opportunity to focus teaching and learning based on what is highlighted that the children are not yet familiar with. If vocabulary is highlighted yellow it means they understand that vocabulary and can give it context and explain it. If the vocabulary is highlighted green it means the children need to be taught the meaning of that specific vocabulary. At the end of the topic, the pupils revisit the vocabulary grid to reflect on their vocabulary knowledge to show that the topic has broadened their knowledge and understanding.
History opens up our children’s eyes to the wider world. They discuss explorers and adventurers, learning about the different places they discovered, as well as the cultures and traditions that exist outside of their own experiences.
Children have the opportunity to participate in regular visits out to places with historical links, as well as work with visitors in school to enhance their understanding of history. For example, external drama workshop companies work with children, so that they can begin to understand what it was like to live through a historical event or another period in history. Visits around the locality and participating in local events, such as remembrance service in the village, allow children to reflect on and learn about the history of their locality.
In Pontefract we benefit from a rich historical culture which the children are immersed in by working with the Pontefract Civic Society, The Wakefield Museum, Pontefract Castle and Pontefract Library.
Progression of Knowledge and Skills
At St Giles we have in place, for each subject area, a knowledge and skills progression document, which is used for planning, to ensure sequenced and appropriate content for specific year groups. Teachers are clear on the learning and expectations for each year group, as this has been carefully selected and mapped out so that children are building on prior knowledge and skills each term and each year.
Assessment of History is also ongoing, informal summative assessment is completed at the end of a topic in the form of a Knowledge Grid and often a quiz.
The children also show their understanding of the topic and what knowledge is embedded by completing a ‘sticky facts’ grid. This is where the children choose to record facts and knowledge that they have learnt in a topic.
The main impact of the curriculum can be seen through the love of History that has developed in the minds of our children, their experiences are broadened through workshops and external visits which gives them the confidence to discuss and question their findings.
KS1, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2 approach the History Curriculum with a team approach; with all teachers contributing to the History Curriculum. Coverage of the topics is monitored on a Curriculum Overview Mapping document and Skills Progression Map.
Subject Leaders use pupil voice to ascertain the depth of impact of the history curriculum and to inform future planning. History is monitored throughout all year groups using a variety of strategies including book scrutiny, lesson observations and pupil interviews. At least one strategy of monitoring is completed each term for each phase teaching History.
We aim to give all our pupils the opportunity to success and reach the highest level of personal achievement; to promote the individuality of all our pupils, irrespective of ethnicity, attainment, age, disability, gender or background.