At Northgate our primary intent is to have an engaging and inspiring curriculum with high academic ambition for all pupils. In history at Northgate we plan to develop pupil’s understanding and knowledge of the Britain’s past as well as that of the wider world. In doing so we endeavour to build the children’s skills of questioning and evaluating, in addition to developing their perspective and judgement. Through our teaching we work to ensure the children are able to think critically, weigh evidence and consider opposing views.
The 2014 National Curriculum for history aims to ensure that all children:
- 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.
At Northgate our curriculum is based on the National Curriculum and the Cornerstones Curriculum. It develops both knowledge and historical skills. Through our Knowledge Organisers, we ensure our curriculum is taught in a logical progression, systematically and explicitly, building on previous learning and skills for future learning. In our history teaching we aim to develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of chronology and how past events link together. As children study history they gain an appreciation of how past human societies, individuals and events shape our lives today. History inspires children to think critically and question evidence—developing an understanding of the range of sources we may use to learn about the past. Children learn to present their knowledge in a range of different forms, including debate, written reports, labelled diagrams and ICT.
At Northgate, we incorporate history into our topic themed learning based on the Cornerstones Curriculum, therefore children are immersed into the subject using a variety of practical and cross-curricular opportunities. Teachers create a positive attitude to history learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards.
Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of history involves the following;
- History will be planned and taught in topic blocks by the class teacher. Knowledge organisers show progression in teaching and learning units and provide teachers with the key knowledge and vocabulary of each topic it that is taught in the previous and following year group. Teachers can use this to recap and build on prior learning successfully. This is a strategy to enable the achievement of a greater depth of knowledge and understanding as well as support the retention of facts.
- Through our planning, children are given a range of knowledge and skills based activities. Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, involving high-quality resources. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test knowledge and skills.
- Teachers use a range of formative assessment tools to check pupils’ understanding and assess children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning, so that all children keep up.
- Children increase their cultural capital through visits, visitors and themed days. These specialist visits and visitors deliver high quality workshops to facilitate and support history learning by building on the children’s prior knowledge and aspire them to think of their futures and their prospective career paths. The themed days excite and inspire the children to take an interest in their topics—from Victorian Day in KS2 to Pirate Day in KS1.
As children progress through Northgate they cover the full history curriculum developing a deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation for a wide range of historical topics—spanning the prehistoric, through to the ancient civilisations and progressing to more recent historical events such as the World Wars and even the history of graffiti!
Children deepen their understanding of history through exciting and stimulating topics, where they can become fully immersed in their learning. Historical understanding, as well as children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is further supported by the school’s links with local visitors and organisations—including The Rhodes Centre, a WWII evacuee and even ‘The Queen’, who comes to visit us for a tea party! These visits and outings also enable children to learn about careers related to history.
Regular assessments ensure that knowledge and understanding are developing appropriately—these may include mind maps, quizzes or projects—ensuring that all children are well prepared for their next steps in education and learning.