‘Learning and growing side by side in God’s love’
Our Christian vision drives all that we do at Eastry C of E School including the teaching of history. This subject provides the opportunity for all children to learn and develop a growing understanding and knowledge of their own, our country’s and the wider world’s past.
Historical learning will mirror the school ethos and vision – nurturing, valuing and respecting all in a safe, welcoming and happy environment to ensure all children are interested by our varied curriculum and therefore can reach their full potential through our extensive history coverage, as part of our wider curriculum.
History provides a context to help us understand ourselves and others. It gives children aspirations for a bright future for themselves and their world - by understanding their own history, children will be able to explore their identity, which in turn will improve their judgement and ability to make decisions.
Our history curriculum aims to excite and stimulate all children, sparking their natural inquisitiveness by developing an understanding of the past, creating a sense of chronology and captivating their imagination, by providing the opportunity to appreciate how things have changed over time.
All historical learning is set in the context of a term-long, class topic. We believe that by immersing children in a cross curricular topic that covers as many subjects as possible (often historical themes drive the topic) concepts, facts and vocabulary can be reinforced frequently, making the learning deeper and our children more likely to retain information and apply skills learned to their own lives.
Question led planning in history and across all subjects in the school ensures continuity for the children and embeds a way of learning that is enquiry based – essential in history and in line with the programmes of study for history in the National Curriculum.
Using the criteria and guidance from the EYFS curriculum and the National Curriculum, teaching is adapted to the needs and abilities of our children.
In EYFS a combination of teacher directed learning and activities is reinforced with planned and spontaneous opportunities during ‘Discovery Time’, to revisit aspects of the “Knowledge and Understanding the World” thread of the EYFS curriculum. There are also opportunities for topic learning to be planned according to the children’s interests and this often is focused on or develops historical learning. Daily reinforcement of time vocabulary e.g. yesterday / last week alongside topic based vocabulary e.g words linked to my life / my past, builds the foundations of historical learning.
In KS1 children further develop a sense of their own and their family history using stories, various primary and secondary sources, role play and research. This leads into wider historical enquiry into the lives of other significant historical figures and important events in our British history (including The Monarchy) and the wider world.
By KS2 children delve further into British history from prehistoric times to the present day – following the chronology of major time periods and events. World civilisations are explored and children learn to compare and then analyse the pros and cons of each. Children are encouraged to develop their skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis and evaluation through the use of both primary and secondary sources to find out about the past. Depth of study enhances children’s interest as do events and people relevant to our local area e.g. Roman invasions and Anglo-Saxon burial sites nearby.
We explicitly teach historical and topic vocabulary in a progressive way through the school from year R to Year 6 to ensure children continually build historical language and add to their growing understanding of history with the opportunity to overlearn key vocabulary. In line with this, the learning environment in each class will display a termly topic board (focussed on history when appropriate) to showcase either stimulus display or working wall style displays to be added to as the topic progresses. Both will include this key vocabulary. Also displayed in each classroom children will find the timeline developed to help embed the / order of each time period in history from prehistory to the present day. This will be referred to each lesson to support and reinforce the idea of chronology.
Children’s knowledge, understanding and progress is measured using the criteria set out in the skills document. Children are assessed as below, emerging, expected or exceeding according to the skills taught in each topic. Intervention in the form of pre teaching, overlearning and reinforcement at the beginning of each topic lesson gives all children every chance of success.
This data is then used to track children who would benefit from pre-teaching / reinforcement with a focus on historical and topic based vocabulary – to support future history learning as well as the current topic.
We maximise opportunities to take historical learning into the outdoors and use this along with topic themed days and dressing up days, as well as visits and visitors to create memorable experiences and long term learning. To this end, we have excellent links with the local Historical Association who have delivered various ‘History Days’ to our children. Educational visits and special workshops in school, foster children’s excitement and enrich their experience of history whilst supporting and extending their understanding of the period of history being covered, with hands on activities, relevant to them.
Our curriculum is also tailored to our rich local history. Places of local interest and beloved local historical sites e.g. Richborough Roman Fort and Betteshangar Park (built on a slag heap and the importance of The Bevin Boys)
History provides the perfect opportunity to teach and reinforce our school values. Evidence of all our values can be seen in most topics taught in the history curriculum – these re highlighted and celebrated. Children are also encouraged to explore periods in history where people have shown a distinct lack of compassion, joy, welcoming, perseverance, respect and to analyse the consequences of these events.
Significant events in British history ensure all British values are highlighted and taught in a sensitive manner e.g. themes in the first and second world war, Battle of Britain, make do and mend and Blitz spirit and our monarchy.
Where a history topic is the focus of a term, there will be home learning options set via the termly home learning topic grid.
History is a chance for all children to shine and to learn a broad spectrum of knowledge about many different topics. They can show their knowledge and skills in a variety of ways – written, photographs, drawings, word processed work, internet research and charts, via interesting and exciting topics regardless of group, faith, resources or background.
Pupil voice shows us there is a developing sense of chronology, love of topic style of learning and good outcomes of topic based vocabulary learned. Children explain that they love the topic led / topic immersed approach and they are thriving on this way of learning. Their knowledge of the detail of major events and significant people in history is proof of this.
Parent voice via parent questionnaires at parent’s consultations and via Class Dojo shows strong support from parents about topic learning and topics that grab the attention of their children – often they are surprised by the detail of their children’s knowledge.
By remembering successes and our mistakes from the past all our children at Eastry C of E School have the tools to achieve personal success and the knowledge to bring about future social and societal change.
History Knowledge Organisers - Facts and key knowledge taught in each year group