History at Westmorland Primary School
The National Curriculum (2014) states that the overarching principles of History education at the primary level are as follows:
• Knowledge and understanding of events, places, people and changes
• Chronological understanding
• Historical Interpretation (How to interpret findings)
• Historical enquiry (How to find out)
The National Curriculum states that ‘a high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.’
At Westmorland Primary School we strive to ensure all our children in every year group (Year 1 to Year 6) have various opportunities to develop their curiosity about the past, and their knowledge of these principles throughout each year of their education.
At Westmorland, our aim is to produce learners who have a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past and equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically and analyse evidence from a variety of sources. Our learners will understand the concept of chronology and the impact of the lives of people, places and events in the past and how that has influenced the present.
Our History curriculum has been designed to cover all of the skills, knowledge and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum and our own bespoke Skills Framework, which gives children the best opportunities to apply their historical knowledge and skills from year to year.
We are committed to developing all children by giving MORE. Our curriculum is based around Memorable Learning, Oracy, Reading and Experiences.
We know that our children can enter school with limited experiences due to living in high deprivation. Our aim for History is to ensure children are enveloped in a knowledge rich environment. We believe our children learn best when they are given many opportunities to explore/use different resources and artefacts from various historical periods, which they may not otherwise get to at home, and gain more experiences through visits/visitors to school. We encourage the use of topic specific vocabulary within both their written work and in class/group discussions during lessons.
Our school environment is a safe place where children can share their knowledge of history, both their own, personal history and that of the wider world, and express their opinions on new learning.
We aim to ensure that children build up independence when developing their researching skills. To us, this means providing children with the opportunities to explore knowledge available to them, developing their reading skills, their abilities to discern between fact and fiction and backing up their thoughts/ideas with evidence. As our children work their way through school, this will also result in children having the ability to direct their own research/learning, which will aid in the preparations for education at a Secondary School level.
At Westmorland, the History National Curriculum 2014 is implemented in many different ways. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in history lessons to aid the development of children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in history for all pupils. We use whole-class teaching methods and combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We believe children learn best when provided with access to a variety of resources and memorable learning opportunities that link to our whole-school intent MORE, such as:
• Make connections between historical periods with a common thread running through our curriculum where possible. Our children will learn about children’s lifestyles, changes in transport and homes in most units.
• Make local connections, where possible, and know how a historical event, person, invasion or settlement affected Stockport, Manchester or the North West at the time
• When Covid allows, assemblies to look at key historical dates and individuals and make connections with our locailty and significant individuals
• Provide children with opportunities to work independently or collaboratively, to ask as well as answer key historical questions.
• Consistency with timelines, each class to have the same large timeline on display, as children move up through the school more and more key historical periods will be added to the timeline
• Use dual coding and Makaton to aid memory
• Children learn songs to help them to remember key facts about a period of history
• Retrieval practice tasks included in lessons, such as, Horribly Told Histories, quizzes and Guess the Lie.
• Handle and explore artefacts as well as replicas of items from the past.
• Children debate impact and significance, they use activities such as Diamond 9
• Play games where they match up cause and effect on a local and a national level.
• Drama activities such as Hot Seating and Conscience Alley.
• Drama involving 2 sides during invasion, children have the opportunity to dress up as people from the past.
• Listen to and interact with stories from the past.
• Undertake fieldwork by interviewing family and older friends about changes in their own and other people’s lives, specifically in EYFS, KS1 and local history.
• Presentations, to the class, to parents and other year groups.
• Whole-class historical fiction texts.
• Use of non-fiction books for research.
• Reading sources from the past such as newspaper articles and letters.
• Topic loan fiction and non-fiction books used in history lessons and guided reading sessions.
• Technology sources (desktop computers, laptops, ipads) to find resources from the internet.
• Reading from the census.
• Handle artefacts and replicas.
• Access to secondary sources such as books, newspaper articles and photographs.
• Go on visits to museums and places of interest.
• Visitors to talk about their subject knowledge or personal experiences of the past, via Zoom or in school.
• Virtual visits to places using Mozaik or YouTube.
• Interview local residents to discuss ‘within living memory’.
• Use of Virtual Reality headsets, to bring learning to life.
During the Autumn term, there will be a week which focusses on history in our locality. Children will learn about the local area and focus on specific skills; they will use a variety of sources to gather information, they will form their own views and present their views based on evidence that they have found.
Alongside this, staff at Westmorland strive to include as many tasks as possible within lessons that aid Metacognition. School staff will provide children with lots of different activities that will aid the recall of previous knowledge, provide scaffolding to make connections within their learning, and support the retention of new information. At Westmorland, we use Makaton, Dual coding, retrieval/matching tasks, quizzes and games to do this, but these types of strategies and activities also help children learn and effectively use vocabulary associated with each History topic. We use consistent timelines for learning in every year group, so the children gain a good sense of how life changes throughout history and where each unit they learn about fits into the narrative.
Obviously each cohort of children are different and at Westmorland, we pride ourselves at implementing our MORE INTENT. We are skilled at adapting our practice for children and developing our children’s’ potential as historical learners.
Through the implementation of a progressive curriculum, children at Westmorland are showing that they are gaining a good understanding of key history skills and are becoming independent learners when applying these skills.
At Westmorland Primary School, we aim to nurture children to reach their potential and be vocal and develop their vocabulary and understanding. Children are given the opportunity to talk through their actions, discuss things with their peers and work through their understanding.
Through implementing memorable learning skills, children are becoming more in tune with how they learn and are happily engaged in the carefully planned activities accessible to them. They want to learn, impress others, children and teachers alike, in the school with their knowledge and abilities.
Reading is a whole school focus, and history is a curriculum subject that allows for many reading opportunities. Children are consequently engaged and enthusiastic when researching topics or events/people/places in history. They enjoy hearing recounts from people from given time periods and drawing parallels with their own lives.
The IMPACT of what we desire to achieve at Westmorland is evident throughout children’s abilities, confidence and progress within this subject area…along with a general love of history.