At Whitmore Park, our history curriculum has been designed and constructed to ignite curiosity and fascination of this subject. It enables our children to be enriched with both procedural and declarative knowledge alongside developing skills in each topic. The powerful knowledge and skills that our pupils acquire ensure that they have cultural capital and become educated citizens of the world. It allows our pupils to become competent within a wide range of skills and to gain and deepen their knowledge and understanding of historical concepts on a local level, tailoring to our community and learning about and taking pride in Coventry’s heritage. This is the foundation of our curriculum which then leads onto a national and international level. In order to inspire our pupils, we have built our history curriculum around our main school-drivers to tailor it to our individual needs. These drivers ensure that children have ample opportunities to integrate reading into humanities; that our curriculum is very vocabulary-driven and enriched with tiered historical vocabulary and key terms throughout; to further develop cultural capital and gain first-hand experiences during school visits and trips and encourage and provide guidance to pupils on how to develop their own humanities learning outside of the school setting. As well as reading, our children develop writing skills throughout history. They are given opportunities to apply writing skills with a history topic focus. We also incorporate cross-curricular links which include SMSC, to allow our pupils to develop tolerance, understanding and empathy towards people, cultures, the environment and celebrate diversity – a crucial skillset within our school community. Our curriculum is designed to develop understanding of British culture and that of the wider world and how this has evolved to what it is today in celebrating Coventry as City of Culture 2021.
To ensure our pupils receive a high quality history education, our history topics are taught in units which are carefully sequenced to aid progression. Forming a foundation to history in early years, this is then built upon throughout each year to ensure they have an in-depth and secure knowledge and understanding of history by the time they reach the end of Key Stage 2, resulting in acquisition of cultural capital and becoming worldly, educated citizens of the world. Our progressive approach adheres to both the national curriculum as well as implementing the needs of our children. As part of our history curriculum, children develop rich historical knowledge about their own locality and where they live which deepens throughout KS1 and into KS2. We build upon this to establish not only a rich understanding of local history but appreciate and deepen understanding of national and international history. By infusing key historical concepts, strands and themes, we are able to broaden children’s history knowledge and understanding.
Retrieval practise is planned into each sequence of lessons to embed key learning, enabling children to remember more. Key concepts and themes are taught in lessons and then re-visited within the topic, as well as revisited in other topics taught in different year groups. Knowledge organisers are used to recall critical knowledge. We also embed the key historical terms and vocabulary. New vocabulary is introduced which is revisited and built upon as they move up the school. All teachers have knowledge of the key terms that they need to teach as well as the pupils’ previous knowledge of the terms. The key vocabulary is also found on the knowledge organisers.
To aid curiosity, we have developed an enquiry based curriculum. We believe by posing questions, this develops their historical enquiry by turning their learning into a process of investigation alongside learning the key facts. We start each topic with a ‘wow’ morning to hook the children in and develop mystery to what they will be learning. This excites pupils and promotes enthusiasm to learn. During the planning of each topic, a trip or a visitor will be incorporated to provide our pupils with real life experiences and also encourage outdoor lessons and activities. This also develops powerful knowledge to ensure our children have cultural capital and will create fun, exciting, memorable learning experiences which will develop the key knowledge as part of the learning sequence. For example, a Year 3 trip to where there is evidence of early humans living in caves will enhance their learning and understanding about early humans and how they lived. Seeing it for themselves is exciting but also a great learning experience. Cross-curricular links are also incorporated into the planning. As one of our school drivers is reading, reading opportunities and vocabulary –rich lessons are given to enable children to access reading within history lessons and read quality texts about the topic outside of the history lesson. For example, children who study the Ancient Greeks will read information about the Greeks within lessons but also have access to Greek myths outside of the history lesson with a class novel or in English lessons. Alongside this, children will be given writing opportunities to develop their writing skills along with history and to apply history knowledge and vocabulary they have learnt.
At Whitmore Park, we also encourage children to take some responsibility for their own learning. With guidance from the class teacher, pupils have the opportunity to extend their knowledge by completing optional home-learning which has cross-curricular links and ideas of places to visit to enhance their education. For example, in Year 2, they might write a diary entry in the style of Samuel Pepys or visit the Monument in London.
Through our carefully structured history curriculum and high quality first teaching, we will see the impact of the subject in different ways. Children will be enthusiastic learners and keen to take their learning of history further by completing homework and working independently. Staff will be confident in teaching history which will be monitored and evidenced in staff voices.
Our books will show high quality learning; progress being made across year groups and children taking pride in their work. To show progress, there will be evidence of the different topics taught with a wide range of content and coverage, for example: local history, such as transport and the Coventry Blitz; national history, such as the Great Fire of London and international history where there will be learning about ancient civilisations around the world. There will be evidence in books of history skills being taught and developed such as use of sources and historical enquiry. Key vocabulary will be learnt by children and they will be able to recall key terms and explain them. They will be applied in books, be evident through questioning and pupil voice.
The impact of our cross-curricular links and our school drivers will raise attainment in reading and writing and will enable pupils to become more independent learners. Evidence of reading, writing and the use of vocabulary in lessons will be seen in teachers’ planning, during lessons and in the children’s books. It will also be evident in conversations and questioning of pupils.
The use of assessment will play a key role in the impact of our history curriculum. Teachers will use on-going, formative assessment to inform lessons and the end of unit summative assessment. Evidence of key knowledge and history skills will be evident in questioning within lessons and in children’s books. The books will be marked each lesson to give purposeful feedback to the pupils. Midway through each topic, teachers will complete an assessment to inform the teacher of attainment. This will be done by the use of quizzes or mind maps, for example, to show that key learning has been retained. Children will be assessed against the critical knowledge for each topic as detailed on medium term plans and knowledge organisers. A summative assessment will take place at the end of each unit. Pupils will be assessed by the retainment of key knowledge of that topic. Children will be given key questions to answer based on the key knowledge. This will be recorded and then shared with humanities lead. The assessment of history skills will be based on the formative assessment of the teacher.
Teachers will record results on DCPRO at the end of each academic year based on the midway and end of topic assessments.