History at St John’s
“There is no agreed single canon of historical content. History should allow pupils to encounter very different societies from their own, and to weigh different interpretations. They should study important themes from British history but also from European, American and non-Western history. The subject should be relevant: more distant history, such as the Crusades or the Reformation can often be just as illuminating as more recent topics. Above all, history should encourage openness of mind, respect for other views, and the ability to distinguish a valid and a shoddy line of argument.”
Sean Lang, Historical Association
- Self – We want our pupils to have an understanding of how history has impacted upon their current lives by comparing different historical periods
- Others – We want our pupils to learn about different cultures and religions within different historical periods so that they understand and appreciate cultural diversity beyond their own community
- Wider world – We want our children to have skills and knowledge to adapt to the ever-changing world considering historical events and their impact
History teaching focuses on enabling pupils to think as historians. We place an emphasis on examining historical evidence from primary and secondary sources. We welcome visitors to come into the school and talk about their experiences of events in the past and organise themed enrichment days to immerse the children into a particular topic. We organise visits to sites of historical interest to further deepen our pupils’ understanding of the topic. We recognize and value the importance of stories in history teaching and we regard this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past. We focus on helping pupils understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they should always ask searching questions, such as ‘how do we know?’, about information they are given.
We recognise the fact that in all classes there are pupils of widely-different abilities in history and we seek to provide suitable learning opportunities for all pupils by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by:
- setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- setting tasks of increasing difficulty or complexity to match ability. Not all pupils complete all tasks;
HISTORY CURRICULUM PLANNING
We use the objectives set out in the National Curriculum as the basis for our planning in history, but we have adapted this to the local context. We ensure that there are opportunities for pupils of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and we build planned progression into the scheme of work so that the pupils are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school (see progression table of skills and knowledge appendix 1).
We carry out curriculum planning in history in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term).
The long-term plan maps out the topics to be covered over the 4 year cycle (KS2) or 3 year cycle (EYFS/KS1).
The medium-term plans are written by the Key Stage teams under the direction of the head teacher. They address the attainment targets: chronological understanding, knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past, historical interpretation, historical enquiry, organisation and communication.
The plans are differentiated so as to address the needs of all the pupils in the Key Stage.
Individual lesson plans are completed by all teachers outlining the objectives that will be delivered. History is a subject which teachers might choose to block over a 2-3 week programme in the term. This allows for sharing of resources and for Historical themed days and special events.
Assessment is built into our programmes of work. Children’s work is recorded in Humanities books and the red home-school books sometimes with evaluations from the pupils. Teachers record assessments in these books which can then be used for annual report writing.
History in EYFS
Reception pupils learn about History through playful, practical and focused tasks. Their curriculum is guided by the “Understanding of the World” statements found in the Development Matters document for September 2021 that school has chosen to adopt early in September 2020. Reception children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals in Summer with History assessed under the new Early Learning Goal titled “Past and Present.”
More information about History at St John’s can be found here: