"The best way to predict your future is to create it."
‒ Abraham Lincoln
Why do we teach History?
History has always been held in high importance here at John Clifford School, with the school’s own rich history within the context of the local area being celebrated. We believe that high-quality history lessons inspire children to want to know more about the past and to think and act as historians. By linking learning to a range of topics, children have opportunities to investigate and interpret the past, understand chronology, build an overview of Britain’s past as well as that of the wider world, and to be able to communicate historically. The curriculum at John Clifford is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy. In line with the national curriculum 2014, the curriculum at John Clifford aims to provide children with the following skills:
- An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods, including significant events in Britain’s past;
- Begin to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
- The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas confidently to a range of audiences;
- The ability to support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using historical evidence from a range of sources;
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past by formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry;
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make critical use of it to support their learning;
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics;
- A developing sense of curiosity about the past and how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
How do we teach History?
History is taught through a cross-curricular approach, teachers often use historical periods as their topic for the half term, therefore encouraging depth and multiple opportunity for children to respond to their learning in different ways. The curriculum is also underpinned by key concepts which allow children to make links in their learning, children learn high-yield and broad vocabulary which is continuously revisited throughout their learning of history. Teachers have identified the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression across topics throughout each year group across the school. The knowledge that the children gain has been carefully mapped by the curriculum lead to ensure accountability and to allow for horizontal, vertical and diagonal links across topics and year groups. This enables the children to continuously build on prior knowledge. By the time children leave John Clifford School, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and early Islamic civilisations. The local area is also fully utilised to achieve the desired outcomes, with extensive opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice. Planning is informed by and aligned with the national curriculum. Consideration is given to how greater depth will be taught, learnt and demonstrated within each lesson, as well as how learners will be supported in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge. Within our knowledge-rich approach, there is a strong emphasis on people and the community of our local area. Teachers utilise the follow strategies in order to strengthen their pedagogy:
- A knowledge organiser which outlines knowledge (including key concepts) all children must master;
- A cycle of lessons for each subject, which carefully plans for progression and depth;
- A low stakes quiz which is tested regularly to support learners’ ability to block learning and increase space in the working memory;
- Challenge questions for pupils to apply their learning in a philosophical/open manner;
- Trips and visiting experts who will enhance the learning experience;
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in the early years to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.
What are the outcomes for our children?
Our History curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good or better progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes;
- A celebration of learning for each term which demonstrates progression across the school;
- Pupil discussions about their learning and understanding of key concepts.