The History curriculum at Linacre is intentionally ambitious as our purpose is to provide pupils with deep and secure Historical knowledge. We have the assumption that our pupils will need this deep understanding to apply this in everyday life and to study History at an academic level in later life.
In KS1, pupils are taught about recent History within living memory along with units focusing on significant events and people. The sequence begins with Queen Elizabeth II to enable pupils to relate to a familiar figure. The aim is to encourage pupils to relate to the concept of time in that Queen Elizabeth II is a current public figure but has been on the throne for a significant period of time. The concept of legacy and monarchy is built upon in the Year 2 unit which looks at Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. Pupils are also taught to compare when these monarchs were on the throne and how their roles were similar and different. Pupils explore what the term 'significant' means when they study Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale. The concept of these figures leaving a 'legacy' is a focal point and revisited in KS2, for example when pupils study the Greeks; philosophy, astrology etc.
The KS2 curriculum gives pupils a strong grounding in British history, taught chronologically from the first settlements through Roman Britain, the Vikings, Anglo Saxons, the medieval period and up to the Industrial Revolution and touching on Britain during the two World Wars. While studying these periods the units explore themes of change and continuity, perspective and power. We have carefully selected the units exploring world history to provide global coverage and introduce a number of themes.
The unit on Ancient Greece introduces key ideas around power and its legitimacy, the Shang Dynasty gives insight into the progress and achievements in China at a time when there was much less occurring in Europe. The unit on the Middle East gives pupils an overview of the history of this vitally important region and the reasons for the intractable problems faced today. We chose to include units on the Benin Kingdom to challenge the narrative often prevalent in the teaching of African history – celebrating a highly successful civilisation while introducing the slave trade. Finally the unit on Civil Rights provides a survey of way black people have been treated in the USA, through the Civil Rights movement and Dr King, right the way to the Black Lives Matter. By bringing pupils up to the present day – in the case of Civil Rights and the Middle East – the curriculum demonstrates the importance of past events in shaping the world of today.
The teaching sequences are designed to revisit prior learning. This is done through learning reviews and the consolidation of learning through Knowledge Organiser tasks. It also provides opportunities for concepts to be revisited across units year-on-year such as 'Rebellion' or 'Settlement'. The disciplinary skills of history, such as source analysis, interpretation, perspective, continuity and change are all explicitly taught and practised throughout KS1 and KS2.
The units explored will be enhanced with educational visits, where possible, to places of interest in order to bring history to life. The History curriculum will be enriched with trips, visits and visiting workshops in school.
Pupils will access a 1 hour History session each week (alternated each half term with Geography). The sequence of the lesson will consist of a learning review at the start of the lesson, new learning and an additional review at the end of the session. The learning review at the start of the session enables pupils to revisit prior learning, both from the previous lesson but from units earlier in the year or in their school life. This is to ensure that pupils are constantly immersed in the knowledge that they have acquired previously, and to ensure that there is a constant relationship of knowledge being transferred from the short term memory into the long term memory. At the end of the lesson, the children summarise their own learning in the form of a lesson review. Teachers constantly check understanding throughout the lesson with techniques such as 'cold calling' or peer discussion. Misconceptions are addressed in the moment, and if necessary continued in proceeding lessons or during other opportunities in the weekly timetable.
To further support the consolidation of knowledge, a weekly learning quiz is built into the timetable where teachers identify areas that they feel the children need to revisit. Pupils also have continued access to knowledge organisers, both within the lesson and at home as part of their homework projects. The children are encouraged to be independent learners and to retrieve information from these to support their recall of historical knowledge.
Each classroom has time-lines on the wall to enable pupils to have a secure concept of chronology. Teachers make reference to other periods of time when studying a particular period of time. This is then replicated during independent activities where pupils identify time periods and to sequence historical events. Lessons are designed so that pupils can think about cause and effect relating to each Historical unit.
Pupils are able to remember and know more from the frequent learning reviews and teachers regularly pupil checking understanding throughout lessons. As a result of how the timetable and lesson sequences are designed, out pupils have frequent opportunities to revise and consolidate the knowledge that has been acquired during previous learning. Pupils are assessed against the 5 or 6 key concepts as outlined in the Knowledge progression document. This is done through evidence in pupils feedback, verbal feedback and discussion from teachers and observations from teachers within the lesson. The constant cycle of teachers 'checking understanding' throughout the lesson also supports this.