History is the study of the past, which helps us make sense of humankind.
At Elmhurst Junior School, we believe that children should learn about history in a way that inspires their curiosity to know more about the past. By the time they leave primary school, children need to have knowledge about the history of Britain and the wider world and have a coherent understanding of historical concepts and historical enquiry. Children need to be able to use history to understand the world and society today and make links to British values.
The curriculum at Elmhurst is designed to ensure that teaching equips pupils with knowledge about a diverse range of historical topics. As pupils progress through the school, their growing knowledge about the history of the world helps them to deepen their understanding of where we have come from and how we have gotten to where we are today. Historical knowledge and skills are progressive and carefully sequenced to provide the framework and approaches that provide explanation of how the Earth’s history is interconnected over time.
At Elmhurst, we seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its history which will remain with them for the rest of their lives, equipping them well for further education and beyond.
History at Elmhurst Junior School is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children can achieve depth in their learning. Knowledge of substantive concepts and disciplinary concepts have been interleaved across the curriculum, allowing children to encounter and apply these in different contexts. From year to year, unit to unit, the History curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge. Our curriculum identifies the key knowledge and skills of each blocked unit and these are mapped across the school, ensuring that knowledge builds progressively and that children develop skills systematically.
History knowledge organisers highlight the key knowledge and vocabulary for each lesson and medium term planning shows key objectives and questions for each lesson so the learning intentions and outcomes are clear. All recorded work in History is kept in individual books and pieces are displayed within the classroom as part of the learning journey. The learning journey for each half term is culminated by a final piece of work showcasing the knowledge that has been learnt and sticky knowledge is checked through the use of retrieval questions and through interactive displays, games and quizzes. All children have access to the full curriculum and tasks are adapted to provide appropriate challenge and support depending on individual needs.
History resources are mapped to year groups and specific units of work, allowing teachers to support effective learning. The local area and visitors are utilised wherever possible to achieve the desired outcomes, with opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice.
Key questions are planned into each unit of work for pupils to show progression of knowledge and understanding of key concepts taught, either through verbal or written feedback. This allows teachers to assess pupils’ skills and knowledge throughout each unit taught. Specific knowledge retrieval activities like Talk Like A Historian are used to enable teachers and children to monitor the depth of understanding of core substantive knowledge and vocabulary and the strength of its retrieval.
Outcomes in pupils’ History books provides clear evidence of a broad and balanced curriculum and demonstrates children’s acquisition of key knowledge. This is used to inform teacher assessment and is used by the History subject leader as part of the monitoring process. Pupils’ work relates to each of the identified national curriculum strands, as appropriate to key stage; they continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history; note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms.
Children are confident recalling key knowledge and facts that have been learnt and are able to discuss aspects of their History units with enthusiasm in discussion with the History subject leader. Children’s books and knowledge organisers are used to guide discussion and provide the subject leader with the necessary information to measure how much core knowledge and vocabulary has been remembered and understood. Weekly celebration assemblies, shared on the school website, showcase a variety of History activities and work completed from Year 3 through to Year 6.