At Bookwell, we strive to inspire our pupils with a relevant and challenging History curriculum that supports children in gaining coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. History is valued as a discipline that not only equips our children with the knowledge and skills to understand their lives today but also helps to construct their own sense of identity and belonging on a personal, cultural, national and global level. The sequence of our History curriculum supports pupils to develop a clear, coherent timeline of the past. Children are encouraged to build upon their previous knowledge within each topic to position new learning, supporting them to make memorable connections and associations with people, places and events of the past without overloading working memory. This is also reflected within the six core concepts that are introduced and interleaved within different topics across the curriculum including; ‘Community’, ‘Knowledge’, ‘Invasion’, ‘Civilisation’, ‘Power’ and ‘Democracy’. For example: ‘Community’ is a reoccurring theme evident within topics taught in Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and Year 6, supporting pupils cumulative knowledge and vocabulary. Through an enquiry-based approach, pupil progression is clear in their ability to work and think historically which may consist of: interpreting evidence, identifying continuity and change, cause and consequence, challenging historical significance and contextual interpretation in order to reach a conclusion.
Our History curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum 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.
The CUSP curriculum is structured around advancing cumulative knowledge, chronology, change through cause and consequence, as well as making meaningful connections within and throughout the periods of time studied. The CUSP curriculum derives from research led practise, designed to accelerate learning by connecting new content to prior learning. CUSP also supports the retention of subject knowledge and vocabulary without overwhelming pupils working memory. At Bookwell, you will see this through the consistent use of knowledge organisers, vocabulary banks and knowledge strips provided to support pupils understanding during lessons. The delivery of sessions and written tasks are also consistent throughout the school, based upon a variety of retrieval and spaced retrieval practise, word building and deliberate practise.
EYFS/ Understanding the World Past and Present/ History
The EYFS staff plan for and provide opportunities and experiences to enhance and extend children’s knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past. The opportunities are often based around real life experiences, stories and artefacts. The children engage in a range of child initiated and adult initiated activities based around changes, special times and celebrations in their own lives. They also explore and recognise significant events such as Bonfire night, World Wars and the significance of the poppy.
Pupils begin to develop some of the core concepts including a sense of time, place and change. Pupils first learn about changes within living memory to develop an understanding of difference over a period of time, linking to their own personal experiences (Toys). Children are introduced to the principles of chronology and place in time when learning about the lives of significant individuals (Mary Anning and David Attenborough) which is then revisited with the lives of other key figures including Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell. In KS1 children also study events beyond their living memory (The Great Fire of London and World War 1) drawing upon the earlier concept of chronology and connecting it to more abstract yet well-known events in the past. Finally pupils undertake a local history study to discover more about the places, buildings, events and people that tell a story of the past (Egremont Castle).
Pupils study our ancestors cultural and technological changes, as well as interpreting how historians believe Britain changed throughout the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. This prior learning provides children with the vital subject knowledge, vocabulary and understanding needed to study how Rome influenced Britain. Concepts such as invasion, law, civilisation and society are also developed. Later, children are introduced to the concept of power, investigating how Anglo-Saxons and Scots settled in Britain and the Struggle for the Throne of England through the Vikings conquests and agreements with Anglo-Saxon kings to settle.
Children are also introduced to ancient history in the form of Ancient Egypt and the Greeks where an understanding of community, democracy and culture is necessary. Later in upper KS2, knowledge learned from the Anglo-Saxons is built upon to connect with a topic on the Maya civilisation, contrasting the advancement of the Maya culture and innovation to that of the Anglo-Saxons. Children also undertake a chronological study of significant monarchs after 1066, revisiting known time periods whilst introducing new content and figures. CUSP connects these studies with prior knowledge of what was happening in Britain at the same time, to deepen and connect a broader understanding of culture, people, places and events through comparison. A local history study is also undertaken to understand more about the events, places and people that resided in Egremont during the Victorian Era. In Year 6, children learn about the Windrush Generation, a modern history study that introduces and challenges racism and prejudice. Finding out about slavery, Caribbean culture and the injustice of the past highlights to pupils why events happened and how cultures faced racism, discrimination and prejudice, crucial information that we can learn from the past.
Bringing History to Life
All staff are dedicated to creating tangible, memorable learning experiences where possible, in order to breathe life into the History of the past. This has included a whole school Victorian Christmas service, Viking visit, medieval role-play, World War 1 workshops and loaned resources from the Local Records Office.
At the end of each unit, staff complete a formative assessment grid based upon written tasks, professional judgement and the results from a substantive knowledge based quiz.
The subject leader regularly monitors the impact of the History curriculum within school by:
- Observing Lessons
- Book Looks
- Pupil Voice Discussions
- Staff Questionnaires
- Evaluating Assessment Data
By the end of their primary education, we are confident that all pupils will have developed a greater understanding of themselves, the local area they grew up in and their belonging within our modern day society. Drawing upon their cumulative knowledge and constructed understanding of the past, our pupils will have an understanding of the complexities of people’s lives, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups as well as the challenges of their time. We aim that all our children have developed the confidence and skills to think critically, make reasoned, logical judgements in their future based on evidence and never be afraid to contest, challenge and question new knowledge presented to them. Upon leaving Bookwell School, we hope that our pupils recognise the significance of the people, places and events that shaped them into who they are today, along with the many other generations of families who were educated across its 180 years.
Cultural Diversity and Enrichment:
Established links with The Beacon Museum (Workshops, Trips)
Organised visits to Local Records Office and loaned resources to support Local Area Studies
Horrible Histories Theatre Trip
180 Year Commemorative Celebration (Whole School Bookwell Timeline)
Magistrates Court Visit
Poppy and Poetry West End Workshops
Romans Y3 Trip to Stone Circle and Roman Fort