Purpose of study
A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
The national curriculum for history 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.
Key Stage 1 attainment targets
Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented. In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching about the people, events and changes outlined below, teachers are often introducing pupils to historical periods that they will study more fully at key stages 2 and 3.
Pupils should be taught about:
- Changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life
- Events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]
- The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]
- Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Key Stage 2 attainment targets
Pupils should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.
Pupils should be taught about:
- Changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
- The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
- Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
- A local history study
- A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
- The achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
- 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 – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
How History is taught at Sutton Oak
- In Sutton Oak History is delivered through the Learning Challenge Curriculum. The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point. In designing the curriculum, teachers and learners are using a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point.
- Pre-learning tasks ensure that learners are directly involved in the planning process. Well planned pre-learning tasks should help to bring out what learners already know; what misconceptions they may have and what really interests them. Teachers should take account of the outcomes from pre-learning tasks to plan the learning challenges for each major area of study.
- Continuity and progression in the curriculum will be built around a set of matrices known as essential knowledge, understanding and key skills within subject disciplines. These are broken into year group expectations and have additional challenges for able learners. The ‘Essential Knowledge, Skills and Understanding’ matrices within the Learning Challenge Curriculum will allow school to guarantee that the learners’ essential skills are being developed, alongside National Curriculum requirements (where appropriate), whilst allowing individual schools to have a great deal of autonomy with their methodology.
- In addition, there is an expectation that teachers apply English, mathematics and ICT skills where it is appropriate to do so. The main idea is to use the knowledge, skills and understanding matrices for each subject to bring to teachers’ attention the level of work expected around each learning challenge. In addition there should be careful consideration given to the quality of work produced by learners in the core subject areas.
- Time for learners to reflect or review their learning is central to the whole process. This is in keeping with the ‘Learning to Learn’ principles where reflection is seen as a very important part of individuals’ learning programme. Within the Learning Challenge Curriculum it is suggested that the final subsidiary learning challenge is handed over for learners to reflect on their learning. The idea is that learners present their learning back to the rest of the class making the most of their oracy and ICT skills to do so. Initially learners may require a great deal of direction so the reflection time may need to be presented in the form of a question which helps them to review their work.