Our history curriculum seeks to give pupils a solid foundation and broad overview into some of the most important periods, events and themes in British and world history. Using the National Curriculum as a guide we have been selective in our choice of content in order to allocate sufficient time to move beyond a surface understanding, developing knowledge and skills which can be built upon as each pupil progresses through the school. We have adopted a similar approach to the design of individual units, ensuring that knowledge is built sequentially. By providing opportunities for pupils to apply their knowledge and skills within applicable historical contexts we can deepen their understanding and foster independent thinking whilst assessing learning and progress.
Rather than view history as a set of discrete topics we have designed the curriculum to allow pupils to identify links, trends, similarities and differences through the embedding of chronological understanding and the analysis of core themes from the perspectives of different historical eras. For example, the concepts of civilisation and social hierarchies are analysed and contrasted through the lens of the Romans, Ancient Egyptians and Mayans. Some of our curriculum choices have been made to reflect our school’s demographic, for example, in year 1 they learn about the Islamic explorer Ibn Battuta. In addition, we value our local community’s history through the inclusion of units which involve fieldwork in West Ham Park and Green Street, workshops with local experts, and analysis of school attendance records and log books from the early 1900’s. Celebrating diversity and promoting equality are qualities we aim to foster by critically analysing events and understanding history from varying perspectives. This includes learning about black history through studies of slavery within the British Empire as well as understanding the role of woman in different historical societies. We are continuing to fine tune our history curriculum with diversity and equality at the heart of any changes made.
In order to bring our history to life we are increasing our use of historical artefacts and high quality texts as a doorway to opening up and developing understanding of historical cultures. Alongside our focus on developing pupils’ oracy skills and written responses, we use these primary and secondary sources of evidence to enable pupils to construct informed responses and develop a reasoned criticality. We also aim to inspire and enrich the learning of our pupils through deliberate choices of trips, utilising the wealth of resources available to us in London but ensuring that pupils are fully prepared with the knowledge and skills they need to fully appreciate the significance of the relics they go to view. For example, our year 6 pupils use their knowledge of beliefs within Mayan civilisations to make predictions about the story depicted on the Mayan Lintels, but it is only when they visit the British Museum to see these lintels that the true story is revealed. We recognise the importance that strong subject knowledge has on the quality of our history provision and we are currently working on implementing several strategies in order to improve this. One of these strategies is the use of learning conversations which have been designed to support subject leaders and teachers collaborate to analyse the design and implementation of the history curriculum with the aim of ensuring year on year improvements to our history provision.