Curriculum & Assessment
At Stillness Junior School, 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.
What does history look like at Stillness Junior School?
In order 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.
To achieve this, the history curriculum is taught in four stages:
Engage – Let’s Think! Engage learners through stimulating activities that have purpose making use of the environment and the community.
Develop – Let’s Learn! Develop learner’s knowledge, skills and understanding through high quality teaching.
Innovate – Let’s Explore! Innovate allows children to use and apply their knowledge, skills and understanding rhough a negotiated process facilitated via a knowledge provocation.
Express – Let’s Apply and Reflect! The opportunity for children to express their learning and share their understanding with others.
Each term a new unit begins with an immersive activity or memorable learning experiences and then builds upon their prior knowledge, developing the skills and knowledge effectively across the curriculum. 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.
At Stillness Juniors, children have the opportunity to record their learning in a variety of ways, which is recorded within their creative learning journals. This could be in the form of historical timelines, extended writing, photographs of practical learning opportunities, recounts of workshops or visits etc.
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.
We are beginning to assess the children’s acquisition of knowledge through fun quizzes. Children will be asked to complete the quiz at the start and end of the unit to show progression of their knowledge. We want new knowledge to be ‘sticky’ and through immersive, engaging lessons, we hope new knowledge will be memorable.
Subject leaders carry out learning walks, book looks and pupil interviews to measure the impact of the teaching. They will also evaluate outcomes, trips and monitor planning to ensure high standards are upheld.