Curriculum & Assessment
History at Stillness
At Stillness Juniors, we believe teaching History should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. We want our children to be inquisitive and question sources they are presented with and evaluate the significance and authenticity of a range of sources (books, newspapers, letters, drawings) as well as artefacts (like pottery, tools, tombs, and animal or human remains).
We aim to inspire children to be curious about the past and we believe that high-quality history lessons encourage children to think and act as historians. Children are encouraged to have an enquiring mind, use investigative and research skills, develop good communication skills (including the use of a range of historical vocabulary) and be analytical thinkers when examining the past. Moreover, we want pupils to have a strong understanding of how history has shaped their local community, country, and the wider world.
The History curriculum at Stillness Juniors is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning. Teachers are embedding weekly retrieval questions into their lessons to ensure consolidation and promote depth within their learning. All learning draws from and makes full use of the immediate and wider local area, enabling children to develop a deep understanding of the rich history of their locality.
To implement the approach outlined above, Stillness Juniors make use of the Cornerstones curriculum for learning in this area of the curriculum. The Cornerstones Curriculum is a creative and thematic approach to learning that is mapped out to the 2014 Primary National Curriculum. It ensures coverage and progression of a broad range of skills and knowledge.
History is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children achieve depth in their learning. The key knowledge and skills that children acquire and develop throughout each block have been mapped to ensure progression between year groups throughout the school. At the beginning of each new History topic, teachers refer to classroom timelines to develop children’s understanding of chronology. The use of high-quality questioning and retrieval practices are built into the lessons. Children complete a KWL chart at the start of a unit to identify their prior knowledge and any questions they are curious to find out. At the end of a unit, the children reflect upon what they have learnt and record this.
Cross curricular outcomes in History are specifically planned for. Where possible, we try to make links with the Literacy teaching to make the pupils learning cross-curricular, linking texts and Talk 4 Writing schemes of work to our history topics.
Each unit is enriched with school visits, special curriculum days and we also proactively look for opportunities to welcome parents and carers to take part in children’s learning and experiences. The school’s own context is also considered, with opportunities for visits to local places of historical interest, allowing learning outside the classroom to be identified and embedded within our practice. In addition, the use of local artefacts, such as the use of maps and photographs of bomb damage to the local area in WWII, also support contextualised learning, as well as the acquisition of key knowledge and development of key skills.
Knowledge Organisers underpin children’s understanding of subject specific language, remind children of previous knowledge, and provide visual and summative information on key knowledge to be learned. They support children in engaging in independent tasks. These are placed in books and are used as a reference point as needed. In addition, they are made available to parents to support learning at home.
The history curriculum is designed to ensure appropriate diversity in the significant figures that children learn about. Teachers cater for the varying needs of all learners, differentiating activities where necessary and as appropriate, and ensuring an appropriate level of challenge. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of key knowledge and skills.
At Stillness Juniors, children have the opportunity to record their learning in a variety of ways. This could be in the form of historical timelines, extended writing, photographs of practical learning opportunities, recounts of workshops or visits etc. Evidence in books needs to show a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge.
To provide evidence of analytical thinking and questioning, and children demonstrating coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, in addition to being curious to know more about the past. Through this style of teaching and learning, pupils ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
By the end of Y6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They can 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 the Egyptians.