At MJS, we follow the National Curriculum for History.
Over the course of Key Stage 2, pupils will study the following units:
- changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
- the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
- Anglo-Saxons and Scots
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
- a local history study
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history post 1066 (a significant turning point in British history: the Battle of Britain)
- the achievements of the earliest civilisations – an overview of where and when the first civilisations appeared and a depth study of The Indus Valley
- Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
- a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history –Mayan civilization c. AD 900
Our curriculum is developed so that children should leave school with:
- an in-depth knowledge of the key historical periods in Britain,
- an understanding of some significant aspects of the history of the wider world,
- an excitement and passion to pursue History as a subject at secondary school,
- an understanding of key historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance,
- an understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’ and key vocabulary such as ‘settlement’ and ‘invasion’,
- the ability to use evidence to support historical inquiry.
History lessons aim to develop historical skills and concepts which are transferable to any period of history being studied and will equip children for future learning through a coherently planned sequence of lessons which progressively cover the skills and concepts required by the National Curriculum. These key historical skills and concepts, which are revisited throughout different units, are: Historical Interpretations; Historical Investigations; Chronological Understanding; Knowledge and Understanding of Events, People and Changes in the Past; Presenting, Organising and Communicating. Through our lessons, we intend to inspire pupils to develop a love of history and see how it has shaped the world they live in.
The intent in lower KS2 is that children can work in chronological order from prehistory (Stone Age to Iron Age) and ancient civilisations (Ancient Egypt) to 1066. Upper KS2 allows children to embed this sequence of chronology with a wider selection of ancient history such as ‘Ancient Greece’ through to more modern history such as ‘Battle of Britain’. This allows for children to truly develop and embed a sense of time and how civilisations were interconnected by building upon their prior learning. Children start to understand how some historical events occurred concurrently in different locations, e.g. Ancient Egypt and the Stone Age.
By the end of Year 6, the pupils should have developed their knowledge of the story of Britain and some elements of history in the wider world, including ancient civilisations. They will have also developed their key disciplinary skills throughout their learning, which they will be able to apply to a range of further historical contexts.
Our curriculum is:
- Aspirational in terms of instilling in our pupils a desire to achieve the highest levels of success. We do this through providing pupils with the appropriate opportunities to build their substantive and disciplinary knowledge, master and apply subject concepts, skills and techniques and acquire the specialist language and technical terms to communicate their understanding effectively. Such high aspirations are clearly identifiable in the progressive and increasingly challenging objectives, which define what the pupils will know, understand and be able to do;
- Coherent, relevant and broad and balanced in terms of the areas of subject content we have selected which reflect the guidance and ambition of the national curriculum. For example, we have ensured that content coverage includes both in depth investigations of the events of specific periods in the past as well as overview enquiries which give a greater sense of the chronology of continuity and change. In addition, where relevant, we have ensured that there is opportunity to enable our pupils to appreciate the historical significance of people, places and events in their own local area;
- Sequenced to ensure that pupils can build on prior knowledge and understanding as they tackle more complex and demanding enquiries. For example, pupils in LKS2 learn about the ways in which archaeologists interpret the past through examining artefacts from prehistory, are introduced to the concepts of invasion and settlement, and continuity and change, all of which they later build upon in UKS2;
- Progressive and more challenging both in terms of the complexity of the subject knowledge we want our pupils to acquire and also the disciplinary thinking skills we support them to master and apply to ensure they understand the significance of that knowledge. In terms of historical techniques, we ensure that our pupils are supported to examine and interpret sources of evidence right from the beginning of their studies. We place a real emphasis on our pupils being able to distinguish between primary and secondary sources of information about the past and to understand the importance of critiquing these sources and questioning their validity and trustworthiness as they develop their skills;
- Continuous with the provision for History established in the EYFS and KS1 and in particular that which addresses the knowledge and skills’ expectations of the Past and Present Early Learning Goal: talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society, know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class and understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books;
- Inclusive in terms of delivering the same curriculum to all of our pupils and differentiating provision where necessary through in class support, providing different learning environments, alternative learning activities and assessment outcomes.
In order for children to know more and remember more in each area of history studied, there is a structure to the lesson sequence whereby prior learning is always considered and opportunities for revision of facts and historical understanding are built into lessons. Through revisiting and consolidating skills, our History lessons help children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and content. The revision and introduction of key vocabulary is built into each lesson. This vocabulary is then included in vocabulary triangles in children’s exercise books to ensure that children are allowed opportunities to repeat, revise and apply this knowledge.
Through enquiry, our pupils not only build their substantive knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at disciplinary thinking, conceptual understanding and the use of specialised vocabulary and technical terms. We structure learning in History to develop pupils’ chronological awareness over more extended periods of time. Our curriculum is ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach historical topics in their entirety, we will create a very shallow learning experience for our pupils.
Learning and teaching in History is interactive and practical, allowing opportunities for pupils to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom. Learning activities are varied to ensure that all pupils have opportunities to demonstrate their strengths. Similarly, we provide differentiated ways for pupils to record the outcomes of their work including concept mapping, annotated diagrams and the application of a wide range of writing genres. This will help knowledge become embedded and ‘sticky’ and ensure that our pupils can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next.