Our history curriculum aims to ensure that children leave Crowan with a great breadth of historical knowledge, an appreciation of the skills that make a good historian and the ability to communicate this through solid understanding of historical vocabulary and ideas.
The KS1 curriculum allows episodic units for children to think about events within and beyond living memory and to learn about significant individuals and events.
Each year on the LKS2 map is planned sequentially so that, no matter the cohort, the subjects are addressed in chronological order. For example, the children study the Romans in Year A Autumn, the Anglo-Saxons in Year A Spring and then the Vikings in Year A Summer. This approach ensures that children begin to build an understanding of chronology and how events and periods in history can be divided into different times while also allowing them to explore how different periods impact on and overlap each other.
In Upper KS2, there is a wider variation in both chronology and geography; this allows the children to build on their sequential learning in LKS2 and embed new units of study into their existing knowledge and generating a more complete knowledge of the chronological order of history in Britain and around the world.
The body of knowledge taught through our curriculum is taught with 4 different areas of historical enquiry at its heart:
- chronological understanding
- events, people and changes
- interpretation, enquiry and using sources
Two of these can be broadly thought of as ‘knowledge’ (chronological understanding and events, people and changes) and the other two broadly ‘skills’ (interpretation, enquiry and using sources and communication).
Across each taught unit, teachers will ensure that all of these strands are addressed. For example, in the UKS2 unit on the Mayan Civilization, the children would study the timeline of the Maya people and how their civilization fits into the chronology of other ancient civilizations around the world and in the Americas (understanding chronology). They would learn about the important rulers and the cities they built and what this meant for a developing civilization (events, people and changes). They would focus on Maya architecture and art work as sources and discuss what the lack of written evidence from the period means for historians (interpretation, enquiry and using sources). They might write written responses to important questions after considering evidence they had learned, use the relevant historical vocabulary or debate (for example) the reasons for the decline in the civilization (communication).
When teaching a unit, teachers will begin with the chronology so that children are aware of when this particular piece of learning fits in their own understanding. In KS1, this will be explained in terms of ‘living memory’: are there people alive now who remember this or not? These can then begin to be ordered in the children’s understanding. For example, the moon landings happened after the gunpowder plot. These can then be compared to the Great Fire of London in the next year: this is before the moon landings but after the gunpowder plot.
By using the dates, children in KS1 can begin to develop their understanding of how the years indicate the chronology. In KS2, children will use vocabulary and the dates to discuss chronology: for example “The Ancient Egyptian civilization started in 3100BCE and lasted approximately 3000 years.”
On a smaller scale, each lesson will start with a review of timeline of the period/civilization to embed the chronology, along with a focus on historical vocabulary which has already been learned and vocabulary which will be specific to the unit and needed to communicate historically.
At the end of each unit of study, the children will be assessed on the key knowledge which will link specifically to the national curriculum statements. These assessments may be oral (through questioning), quizzes, annotated diagrams, written answers or essays depending on the teacher’s knowledge of their cohort and the age of the children. These will form part of forward planning for the next history unit for each teacher and will show, over time, that knowledge gaps are closed and children continue to make progress. Children’s work in class will also be assessed by teachers for the two areas that apply to historical skills: interpretation, enquiry and using sources and communication.
There is no specific scheme of work currently used by the school for history; teachers are free to plan their own units which meet the national curriculum expectations and those of the skill progression maps. Subscriptions to various curriculum websites (such as the Hamilton Trust) may form the basis of a unit of work, along with high quality open schemes such as the Oak National Academy or the History Association.