The study of history involves engaging pupils in investigating questions about people and events in the past in order to enable them to better understand their lives today and for a future as more informed and enlightened citizens. Through the study of history pupils also develop a wide range of critical thinking skills, which enable them to understand the contested nature of knowledge and to distinguish between ‘fact’ and subjectivity when it comes to reaching conclusions and making judgements about the past. With this in mind White House Farm Primary School has chosen to use Connected History to support the delivery of the History Curriculum at our school. This is a carefully designed and resourced scheme which provides teachers with a coherent, progressive, and rigorous learning programme for all children across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. White House Farm Primary School’s curriculum is:
- Aspirational in terms of instilling in our pupils a desire to achieve the highest levels of success through providing them with the opportunities to excel in terms of their acquisition of long lasting knowledge and understanding and mastery of core historical skills. Such high aspirations are clearly identifiable in the progressive and increasingly challenging objectives of the scheme of work of each enquiry, which define clearly what the pupils will know, understand and be able to do;
- Logical, and broad and balanced in terms of the areas of subject content we have selected which reflect the guidance and the demands of the National Curriculum.
- Chronologically sequenced as pupils progress through White House Farm Primary School, which allows them opportunities to evaluate both change and progress from one historical period to another and to build on previous knowledge and understanding as they tackle more complex and demanding enquiries.
- Relevant in terms of the careful consideration that has been given to the selection of historical enquiries that extend the knowledge and understanding of pupils beyond 1066
- Progressively more challenging both in terms of the complexity of the subject knowledge we want the pupils at White House Farm Primary School to acquire and also the critical thinking skills we support them to utilise to ensure they understand the significance of that knowledge.
- Built upon and has continuity with the provision for history established in the Early Years Foundation Stage at White House Farm Primary School.
- Inclusive in terms of delivering the same curriculum to all pupils at WHF irrespective of specific learning needs or disabilities and differentiating where necessary through, for example, in class support, providing different learning environments, alternative learning activities and assessment outcomes.
At White House Farm Primary School, we teach History as a dsicrete subject rather than as part of an overarching half termly topic. Instead we structure learning in history through big question led enquiries about relevant historical periods, concepts, places and themes.
At White House Farm Primary School, teachers adopt an enquiry focused approach to learning and teaching in history. Our curriculum is therefore ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach historical topics, places, themes, and issues in their entirety we restrict opportunities for pupils to master and apply critical thinking skills and achieve more challenging subject outcomes.
Through enquiry our pupils not only build subject knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at critical thinking, the use of specialised vocabulary and their grasp of subject concepts. Pupils at White House Farm Primary School develop as young historians
We adopt a policy of immersive learning in history that provides sufficient time and space for our pupils not only to acquire new knowledge and subject vocabulary but also to develop subject concepts and understand the significance of what they have learned.
Our learning and teaching in history is interactive and practical allowing opportunities for pupils to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom.
Wherever possible we provide our pupils with contemporaneous historical evidence including narratives, paintings, photographs, artefacts, and films to analyse and from which to reach conclusions and make judgements.
Similarly, we provide varied and differentiated ways for pupils to record the outcomes of their work including the use of concept mapping, annotated diagrams, improvised drama and the application to a wide range of writing genres in English lessons. Only in this way will knowledge become embedded and ‘sticky’ and ensure that our pupils can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next.
The schemes of work for each historical enquiry highlight both the objectives and anticipated outcomes of the investigation. The teachers at White House Farm Primary use this as the foundation for their planning and ensure that a sequence of lessons is carefully structured through the use of ancillary questions, to enable pupils to build their knowledge and understanding in incremental steps of increasing complexity until they reach the point where they are able to answer the question posed at the beginning of the investigation.
Our learning and teaching in history also recognises the importance of the local area. Where appropriate, teachers at White House Farm Primary School plan investigations involving observation, recording, presentation, interpretation and the evaluation of historical information outside of the classroom e.g significant people, places and events locally.
Each enquiry which forms our programme of learning and teaching in history sets clear objectives and outcomes for the pupil in terms of knowledge and understanding and skills acquisition.
The schemes of work also suggest a range of ways in which the teacher can assess whether a pupil has achieved these outcomes. We ensure that when assessing pupils’ evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources to inform the process, including interaction with pupils during discussions and related questioning, day to day observations, practical activities such as model making and role play drama, the gathering, presentation and communication of fieldwork data and writing in different genres.
The outcomes of each enquiry serve to inform the teacher’s developing picture of the knowledge and understanding of each pupil and to plan future learning accordingly.
We do not make summative judgements about individual pieces of pupil work but rather use such outcomes to build an emerging picture of what the pupil knows, understands, and can do.
At the end of each year, we make a summative judgement about the achievement of each pupil against the subject learning goals for history in that year. Teachers will use the White House Farm Primary School History Coverage and Progression Document, which aligns the objectives set in the National Curriculum with Connected History. At this point teachers decide upon a ‘best fit’ judgement as to whether the pupil has achieved and embedded the expected learning goals, exceeded expectations or is still working towards the goals. These decisions are based on the professional knowledge and judgement that teachers possess about the progress of each pupil, developed over the previous three terms, which allows an informed and holistic judgement of attainment to be made. Achievement against the learning goals for history at the end of the year is used as the basis of reporting progress to parents.