The purpose of our high-quality history curriculum at Shotley Bridge Primary School is to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. We ensure pupils have a coherent, chronological knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We believe that having secure foundational knowledge of the history of the world in which they live is essential for preparing our pupils for future studies within our own school, secondary school, college, university and beyond, enabling them to achieve their aspirations as well as having the confidence to use and apply them in all aspects of everyday life where necessary.
High-quality history lessons at Shotley Bridge Primary School are carefully planned to ensure pupils are equipped to answer perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, as well as develop perspective and judgement. Lessons are carefully planned to ensure children understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. We also believe it is vital that children understand their own identity and the challenges of their time. At Shotley Bridge Primary School, children are taught the history of Britain from the earliest times to the present day. We ensure pupils understand how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced the wider world. As well as learning about the history of our nation, children gain an understanding of 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.
The enquiry-based history curriculum we provide at Shotley Bridge Primary School ensure historical concepts are taught using a range of inspiring approaches. Children are encouraged to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions as well as creating their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses. We recognise the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their historical vocabulary and articulating historical concepts clearly and precisely. We therefore ensure children gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’ and build up an extended specialist historical vocabulary. In Reception and KS1, children develop an awareness of the past using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. Throughout KS2, children develop and refine the appropriate use of historical terms. Children are assisted in making their thinking clear, both to themselves as well as others and teachers ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy misconceptions.
Throughout Reception and KS1, pupils at Shotley Bridge Primary School learn to explain where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework. Children identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. Time is set for children to ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. Children understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
Throughout KS2, pupils in Shotley Bridge Primary School continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. They establish clear narratives within and across the periods of study. Children note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. Lessons are carefully planned to ensure children are given time to regularly address and devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity, difference and significance. Children then construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. Children also develop an understanding of how the past is constructed from a range of sources.
Our history programme of study is set out year-by-year across the whole school and curriculum maps for skills taught are sent home termly. At Shotley Bridge Primary School history lessons are taught as stand-alone lessons as well as having cross-curriculum links to many other subjects within our curriculum, such as English and art and design. Our curriculum is also enriched by a range of historical experiences across the whole school (e.g. out of school residential visits to historical parts of the UK, such as Vindolanda; Durham Learning Resource boxes are used to analyse ancient artefacts; annual visitors e.g. storytellers, Durham County census team; work based around significant days such as Remembrance Day; drama companies, groups and activities used in the retelling of historical events; use of computing and green screen technologies to support learning).
At Shotley Bridge Primary School we understand that It is vital for children to develop a secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Regular assessments of children’s learning enable us to make appropriate early interventions to ensure every child makes high levels of progress.
The history subject coordinator monitors the subject closely in Shotley Bridge Primary School to ensure children are working at a high standard: book and planning scrutinies, learning walks, lesson observations, evaluation of school data compared to national standards, attending local authority network meetings and courses to ensure they stay abreast of best practice, and leading whole-school training for staff members, form a part of this.