Here at St Helen’s Primary School, History has always been held in high regard due to the school’s unique location at the heart of the Historic Headland – an area rich with local heritage. We believe that high-quality, immersive history lessons inspire pupil interest in the past and encourage children to have a broad and balanced view of history, while also allowing them to think critically and gain a deeper knowledge of significant events in Britain and the wider world. We teach the children to understand how events in the past have influenced our lives today; we also teach the children to investigate these past events and by doing so, they develop the skills of enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem solving – lifelong, transferable skills. Ultimately, historical awareness promotes responsible citizenship and provides opportunities to understand, appreciate and enjoy the multicultural world in which we live and celebrate its diversity. As a result, children will leave St Helen’s with the cultural capital needed for future success.
At St Helen’s Primary School we have tailored our History Curriculum around the aims of the national curriculum, with strong links to our local heritage. This aims to ensure that all pupils:
- know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
- gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
- understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
- gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts: understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales
We implement a progressive History Curriculum throughout the whole school, through high standards of teaching and learning. We provide opportunities for children to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. Within our school, history is taught through a bespoke curriculum which has non-negotiable skills for each year group, providing continuity and progression linked to the national curriculum. Currently, our history curriculum consists of three key strands – chronology, historical enquiry and knowledge and interpretation.
To enhance our history curriculum and to encourage and enable pupils to grow as historians, we provide opportunities for children to really experience history. We do this by not only providing an extensive, well-planned history curriculum but also by providing artefacts, primary and secondary sources, field work, museum visits, local-heritage trips, workshops, visitors, drama opportunities, ICT opportunities and a wealth of further resources. Within our medium term planning, we also encourage WOW Starters and Fabulous Finishers to immerse the children into the topics. Such experiences and resources brings history alive for our children, allowing them to truly become historians.
The overall impact of this is that all children are equipped with historical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and beyond and life as an adult in the wider world. We want the children to be inspired by and to enjoy history and to develop the skills to truly be a historian. Children will be encouraged to be curious about the world around them and question the how and why, whilst gaining a greater understanding of their place in the world.
By the time the children leave St Helen’s Primary School, they will have developed:
- A secure knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from the historical periods covered.
- The ability to think critically about history and communicate confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
- The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, forming and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
- A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements.