The purpose of our high-quality history curriculum at Bellingham Primary School is to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. We ensure pupils have a coherent, chronological knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We believe that having secure foundational knowledge of the history of the world in which they live is essential for preparing our pupils for future studies within our own school, secondary school, college, university and beyond, enabling them to achieve their aspirations as well as having the confidence to use and apply them in all aspects of everyday life where necessary.
High-quality history lessons at Bellingham Primary School are carefully planned to ensure pupils are equipped to answer perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, as well as develop perspective and judgement. Lessons are carefully planned to ensure children understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. We also believe it is vital that children understand their own identity and the challenges of their time. At Bellingham Primary School, children are taught the history of Britain from the earliest times to the present day. We ensure pupils understand how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced the wider world. As well as learning about the history of our nation, children gain an understanding of significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind.
The enquiry-based history curriculum we provide at Bellingham Primary School ensure historical concepts are taught using a range of inspiring approaches. Children are encouraged to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions as well as creating their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses. We recognise the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their historical vocabulary and articulating historical concepts clearly and precisely. We therefore ensure children gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’ and build up an extended specialist historical vocabulary. In Reception and KS1, children develop an awareness of the past using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. Throughout KS2, children develop and refine the appropriate use of historical terms. Children are assisted in making their thinking clear, both to themselves as well as others and teachers ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy misconceptions.
Throughout Reception and KS1, pupils at Bellingham Primary School learn to explain where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework. Children identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. Time is set for children to ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. Children understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
Throughout KS2, pupils in Bellingham Primary School continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. They establish clear narratives within and across the periods of study. Children note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. Lessons are carefully planned to ensure children are given time to regularly address and devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity, difference and significance. Children then construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. Children also develop an understanding of how the past is constructed from a range of sources.
Our history programme of study is set out year-by-year across the whole school and curriculum maps are available online. The weekly newsletter tells you what children will be learning week by week in History. At Bellingham Primary School history lessons are taught as stand-alone lessons as well as having cross-curriculum links to many other subjects within our curriculum, such as English and art and design. Our curriculum is also enriched by a range of historical experiences across the whole school (e.g. out of school residential visits to historical parts of the UK, such as Vindolanda; Northumberland Learning Resource boxes are used to analyse ancient artefacts)
At Bellingham Primary School we understand that It is vital for children to develop a secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Regular assessments of children’s learning enable us to make appropriate early interventions to ensure every child makes high levels of progress.
The history subject coordinator (Amy Mundy) monitors the subject closely in Bellingham Primary School to ensure children are working at a high standard: book and planning scrutinies, learning walks, lesson observations, evaluation of school data compared to national standards, attending local authority network meetings and courses to ensure they stay abreast of best practice, and leading whole-school training for staff members, form a part of this.
In History our provision is designed to allow our children to develop their understanding of links between themselves and others. We want our children to think like historians and to reason and explore connections between the past and the present. From this they are able learn from actions and outcomes of the past and think about how this impact their lives. We offer a structure and sequence of lessons to help teachers ensure they have covered the skills required to meet the aims of the national curriculum. The content we have chosen is underpinned by 7 key concepts in primary History: Chronology, Continuity and Change, Cause and Effect, Significance, Historical Perspectives, Historical Evidence and Interpretation. Our curriculum gives our children an excellent knowledge of people and events from different historical periods and an understanding of historical concepts and processes. We want our children to have the ability to communicate differently for a range of audiences, taking consideration that different people in the past had different experiences and views from each other and ourselves e.g. traditions, culture, beliefs, values and motivations. We will help our children to make interpretations of the past based on different pieces of evidence and sources, to draw inferences, whilst supporting, evaluating and challenging their own views and those of others. We will ask and investigate questions, using evidence, about people and events from the past. We will strive to create a deep interest and passion to study the different ways in which the past has been represented and to understand why people interpret the past in different ways.
When designing our curriculum, we have sought to focus on 3 main areas: Knowledge: What do we want our children to learn and remember? We do not want to overwhelm our children with too much information therefore sequencing the knowledge to be learned is key.
Concepts: We have focussed on the 7 key concepts of history to plan each unit of work considering the following key concepts: Chronology, Continuity and Change, Cause and Effect, Significance, Historical Perspectives, Historical Evidence and Interpretation.
Skills: How will we teach our children to become effective historians? What skills do they need to learn to understand the content? Our EYFS provision provides a base to learn about a sense of time and how things happen in the past and present. We build a strong foundation for talking about events and memories. In KS1, progressive units will be taught over year 1 and year 2. Within the key stage the children learn about changes both within and beyond living memory – including events and people those most relevant both nationally and in our own locality (e.g. George Stephenson). They will learn about the lives of significant individuals but will also be made aware that people who have had an impact more recently may/will be these significant individuals in the future. In KS2, our children continue to develop their sense of chronology and secure knowledge of both British, local and world history. They will build on connections made such as building on previous knowledge of Queen Victoria from KS1 to expand on what life was like for children in Victorian Britain. We feel it is vital to make effective links with the wider curriculum whilst still maintaining the historical concepts being explored. We explain this clearly to our children using timelines. Across school children have a range of opportunities to experience history through practical engaging tasks beyond the classroom. Educational visits play a key part to ‘unlocking the past’ and ‘living history’. End of unit assessments and progression trackers give our non-specialist staff who lead history confidence in the progression of skills and knowledge and that outcomes have been met. Key vocabulary and clear timelines are also provided to be used by children to deepen their chronological knowledge and understanding.
We believe that the impact of using our personalised History curriculum and progressive units will ensure that History learning is loved by teachers and children across our school. Teachers have high expectations and quality evidence can be presented in books as well as digitally. Our children will use historical vocabulary accurately and understand the different strands of history, with a deep understanding of the core concepts as well as who we were, who we are and who we might become. Children will begin to make relevant links from history to other curriculum subjects, such as geography and science. They will improve their enquiry skills and inquisitiveness about the past. All children will consider how things used to be and will realise that the choices people make can have both minor and significant impact on their future. They will understand that the actions of the present will help to shape the future of the planet. They will be able to interpret a range of sources of historical information and evidence and they will communicate historical information in a variety of ways, including distinguishing between reliable sources of evidence and opinion. All children in our school will be able to speak confidently about their history learning, skills and knowledge.