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History

Intent

History is held in high regard at St James’ Primary School. The school’s own history within the local area and its close proximity to the historic dockyard Portsmouth enables the children to develop a deep understanding of the rich history in their locality. 

Topics are informed by the National Curriculum and are sensitive to children’s interest in Early Years as well as the context of the local area, providing a broad and balanced view of the history of Britain and other societies and epochs.

The history curriculum at St James’ Primary is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy. 

In line with the National Curriculum, we aim for all children to: 

  • Become increasingly critical and analytical thinkers. 
  • Possess a secure understanding of the chronology of the British Isles and other important periods of History. 
  • To discover links and connections to the history they learn and the wider community and locality. 
  • Further their knowledge and explanations of change and continuity over time with regards to the history of the British Isles and other societies and epochs. 
  • Differentiate between source types and explain how interpretations in history may differ.  
  • Draw on similarities and differences within given time frames and across previously taught history. 
  • Enquire in to historical themed questions and form their own opinions and interpretations of the past. 

Implementation

History is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children become emersed in that time period. We provide the children with a curriculum that enables them to continually reflect back and compare and contract previously taught periods of time.

The Early Years Foundation Stage follow ‘EYFS 2021’and begin to embed crucial historical language and enquiry through the ‘Understanding of the world’ ‘Past and Present.’ Within their practise they follow the children’s interests through such topics as space where the teachers skilfully introduce Neil Armstrong/Tim Peake or while exploring shopping, they will pose questions such as how has shopping changed since Granny was a child. It opens a wealth of discussion to Amazon Prime, click and collect, paying with cash all the while building the stepping stones for the historical understanding of such concepts such as influence, change and significance to name but a few. 

In KS1, the children explore ambitious topics such as the significant individuals ‘Beatrix Potter’ and her legacy on the Lake District and a comparison between Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, embarking on discussions surrounding race and gender equality and moving on to explore local events such as the sinking of the Titanic. The children also enjoy a local study of our school. The children love finding out about the storm damage, the fire and of course digging up the time capsule that was buried in 2000!

In KS2, the History curriculum is set out to allow children to reference the previous events in time and to refer to this prior learning year-on-year and within the year. 

Children in year 3 begin their history journey with ‘Changes in Britain from Stone Age to the Iron Age’ which then chronologically leads into The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain’ The children will then embark on a local history study of the Mary Rose and the local maritime history. This local study will introduce the children to higher order historical enquiry and enable them to draw upon their knowledge gained in KS1 when they studied the sinking of Titanic. 

In year 4, children explore history within the wider world by studying ‘The achievements of the earliest civilizations with a depth study of Ancient Egypt’ The children will have many opportunities to explore how this time period was in fact happening concurrently to The Bronze and Iron age giving the children opportunities to pose questions and compare the achievements within each time period. The children will then study Ancient Greece, again giving the children a wonderful opportunity to understand that Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece and The Iron Age were all during the same time period but were in different parts of the world and their duration varied in length and legacy.  

In year 5, the children return to British history, chronologically following ‘Roman Britain’ with ‘Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots and ‘The Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle to the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor’ 

In year 6, the children study ‘an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066’ by looking at ‘What impact did the Windrush generation have on Britain’s cultural identity and how can these changes be seen today?’ As a school we feel it is important for the children to understand the struggles that black families faced in Britain in the past due to the law and how and why these laws were changed and the impact this has had on society today. We feel empowering our children with such knowledge ahead of senior school will impact their future behaviour and also help them make sense of images and media stories that are ever present in todays society. 

Finally, in year 6 children will study ‘A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history- Mayan Civilisation c. AD 900’ 

Mayan Civilisations has been chosen due to its vast duration which enables deep compassions at the beginning of the period to Bronze age and light comparisons to Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt. At the end of the period the children will have the opportunity to Compare back to their work on the Mary Rose as they explore how British Empire and sea power compare to the end of the Mayan civilisation. 

Each local study or aspect of history has been carefully chosen specifically for our school to ensure that our children feel represented and that their story is being told. We are a school with strong military links with many service children attending. We have a growing multicultural school and we have adapted our curriculum in 2021 to reflect this.  

Cross curricular outcomes in history are specifically planned for, with strong links between the history curriculum and morning literacy lessons enabling further contextual learning. The local area is also fully utilised to achieve the desired outcomes, with extensive opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice. Our children visit Emsworth Museum, Sea City Titanic Museum in Southampton, Portsmouth Dockyard, Butser Ancient Farm, Fishbourne Roman Palace and have many wonderful visitors such as grandparents, nurses, The National Trust and storytellers to enrich their learning.  

Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge and that consideration is given to how greater depth will be taught as well as how learners will be supported in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.

In line with Hampshire recommendations, the progression of skills is set out in order to build and develop the following: 

  • Chronological Understanding. 
  • Knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past.
  • Connection and Historical Links.
  • Interpretations of History. 
  • Historical Enquiry. 

Lessons will develop long term memory by allowing for repetition of learning within the year and year on year. 
The use of a six-step enquiry will aid teachers in planning their knowledge and skills ensuring children understand the expectations by the end of the unit.   

Impact

Outcomes in History books, evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. 

Children will become increasingly critical and analytical within their thinking. Making informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past.
Children will become increasingly aware of how historical events have shaped the world that they currently live in and have a further understanding of history on a local /small-scale level. Children will develop enquiry skills to pursue their own interests within a topic and further questioning.
Throughout each key stage, children will have encountered or participated in high-quality visits/visitors to further appreciate the impact of history.
Children will retain prior-learning and explicitly make connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning. 
Pupil voice shows that pupils are confident and able to talk about what they have learnt in history using subject specific vocabulary. Pupil voice also demonstrates that pupils enjoy history and are able to recall their learning over time.

As historians, children will learn lessons from history to influence the decisions they make in their lives in the future. Monitoring will show standards in history will be high and will match standards in other subject areas.