“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”
“If you want to understand today you have to search yesterday.”
Pearl S. Buck
At Ursuline our intent is to create a love and interest for history and to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. We aim to help our children to gain the knowledge, skills and understanding to become life-long historians. We want to instil a thirst for knowledge about the past and understand how events have shaped the world we live in today. Our varied history curriculum helps pupils gain a coherent, chronological knowledge and understanding of the past and enables them to use core knowledge of dates, events, and people to talk confidently about a range of historical periods in Britain and the wider world.
The history curriculum builds upon prior knowledge in a carefully sequenced curriculum, both within and between year groups, and makes links to other subject areas where possible. Pupils develop an understanding of substantive concepts (Community, Knowledge, Invasion, Civilisation, Power, Rule, and Democracy) that act as threads throughout, allowing our children to make connections across the history curriculum from Reception to Year 6. We aim to broaden our pupils’ mental timeline to allow them to have a greater understanding of chronology and the overall narrative of the past and the world they live in.
At Ursuline, all learning will start by revisiting prior knowledge. Staff are aware of where the children will have met topics in previous year groups and how to expand this further, making connections as they go. Staff will model explicitly the subject-specific vocabulary, knowledge, and skills relevant to the learning to allow them to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts.
Learning will be supported through the use of vocabulary covers and working walls or displayed during the lesson to allow children to recap, recall and retrieve to then build on and add to during the sequence of learning. History is taught weekly during alternate half terms (alternating with Geography) and the sequence of learning is carefully mapped, ensuring National Curriculum objectives are met throughout, to ensure that children are not overloaded with information but are given every opportunity to expand and broaden their historical knowledge at every level.
Our Early Years Foundation Stage framework. 'Understanding the World' involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment. Vocabulary is at the forefront of EYFS planning and the how children begin to discover the meaning of the world around them, whilst also building on their interests.
Weekly curriculum quizzes are used to review and retrieve learning and check that children know more and remember more. Learning is reviewed also on a termly basis, after a period of forgetting, so that teachers can check whether information has been retained.
Our historians will be given a variety of experiences both in and out of the classroom where appropriate to create memorable learning opportunities and to further support and develop their understanding, to leave a lasting impact on them as individuals but also as historians.
The impact of our history curriculum is measured through a variety of different strategies. Ongoing teacher assessment is used throughout lessons to inform teaching. Retrieval practise is used throughout each lesson to address gaps in pupils’ knowledge before moving on. This is done through using cumulative quiz questions in each unit that builds through the sequence of learning. Children also use vocabulary front covers to continually look back and reflect on previous learning, allowing them to remember more core vocabulary from the lessons.
Children’s learning is monitored by regular book scrutiny by the History co-ordinator in which constructive feedback is given to staff for future planning. History is also monitored through learning walks and pupil voice.
All of this is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision. At Ursuline, staff work closely together as a team to ensure children receive the best history curriculum to allow them to develop a love of learning and skill set to become keen historians.