“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Subject Leader: Charlotte Burrowes
Link Governor: Mike Sainsbury
At Christ Church, History lessons are an opportunity to gain an understanding of Britain’s past and the wider world. It prompts children to be inquisitive learners, to be curious about their past, and think about the impact history has had on past generations and continues to have in our lives today. We like to understand the role we have in creating a positive impact in history. It also opens the doors to debate, thinking critically about why we hold certain opinions, and being sensitive to the various perspectives that different individuals may hold.
What children learn:
- In KS1, children are taught to have an awareness of time using a range of time vocabulary and are introduced to significant events and individuals in history. It is an opportunity to begin conversations about changes over time and compare society now to generations ago.
- In KS2, history is taught chronologically so when children finish their time in Christ Church, they will be confident in the timeline of the important periods in history.
Children who excel in History will engage in discussion, build upon their knowledge of the curriculum but also pose questions themselves and use their enquiring minds to ask more and delve deeper.
We assess history in a variety of ways, looking at the progression of skills which we have divided into four clear sections. These are: Thinking Historically, Historical enquiry, Historical vocabulary and knowledge and understanding which are covered in the curriculum right across the school.
What Children Learn
At Christ Church, we understand the importance of ensuring that all the history lessons we deliver are accessible to all abilities represented in the classroom. The lessons are scaffolded so that every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Teachers use a range of approaches to assess children and it is recorded in a variety of ways. Some of these ways include:
- Written diary entries of a WW2 evacuee.
- Filming news reports from the scene of the Great Fire of London.
- Drawing a comic strip to show the different steps of the Roman Invasion.
The History curriculum has been devised so that children are building upon their knowledge and skill set each year following the National Curriculum. Teachers have thought carefully about how to cover and assess history effectively right through the school. As the children progress through the school, teachers will recap previous learning, while introducing a range of historical skills as they move through the key stages.
The children study 2 or 3 history topics a year which equates to one per term. The different year groups study different periods of history but all teachers will make reference to previous periods that children may have studied to help children understand the historical chronology. Where possible, we love to encourage the teachers to take the children on school trips to help provide an immersive experience for them and help bring the topic to life.
In the Nursery, the children are encouraged to use vocabulary related to the past including ‘before’, ‘yesterday’ and ‘beginning’. The children reflect on their own day using a visual timetable to order their day and reflect on what they have done that day before home time. The children are also encouraged to talk about significant events in their own lives i.e. a birthday or religious festival.
In Reception, the children reflect upon their local area and how much it has changed over the years. The children will explore shops, modes of transport and even the school building to look for similarities and differences. Whilst exploring the topic of space, the children learn about Tim Peak and his achievements and explore how the equipment astronauts use has changed over time.
Significant individuals: Mary Anning and Rosa Parks (Autumn 1) - The children will explore the lives of significant individuals - Mary Anning and Rosa Parks, understanding more about them and why they were so important through a range of sources. The children will reflect on their significance for our lives today.
Toys (Autumn 2) - The children will start using simple vocabulary related to the passing of time as they look at toys in the Victorian era and explore this vocabulary by drawing comparisons with the toys they own today. The children will be able to identify key similarities and differences between the past and the present.
Kings and Queens (Spring 2) - The children enjoy studying famous Kings and Queens and using a range of sources to gather an understanding of who Queen Elizabeth II is and how she became Queen. The children then study Henry VIII as another significant individual in our own locality and reflect upon his significance in our area using Hampton Court Palace as our case study. The children then compare Queen Elizabeth II and King Henry VIII and consider their influence on our society today.
Significant individuals: Neil Armstrong (Autumn 1) - Year 2 starts with the children exploring the lives of significant individuals, asking and answering questions of why individuals did certain things and why events took place. The children ask questions about the past and explore these individuals by using a range of sources. The children will draw comparisons between Neil Armstrong’s and Christopher Columbus’ missions, giving the opportunity to use a range of time vocabulary.
The Great Fire of London (Spring 1) - The children learn about the Great Fire of London through a wide range of primary and secondary sources, gaining a broad understanding of the chronology of events, and understanding the impact it had on London at the time. The children have to report on the event and consider why the fire spread so quickly and whether this has impacted the design of our buildings today.
Schools in the past (Summer 1) - The children look at life in the past, looking specifically at the 1940s and what school life looked like for children. They will also explore the changes in technology, communication and the role the war had in changing these aspects of life. They will draw comparisons with what their life looks like now to children of the 1940s.
The Greeks (Autumn 2) - In Year 3, the children start by learning about the Ancient Greeks, comparing society then to our lives now. As well as this, the children learn about Greek battles and use historical sources to discover information about the very first Olympic Games.
The Stone Age (Spring 1) - The children move on to learning about the Stone Age, where the children start by discussing how the past can be split into "BC" and "AD", before discovering key characteristics of Stone Age life through making conclusions based on a variety of primary and secondary sources. We finish our Stone Age topic focusing on key vocabulary linked to the Stone Age, and using digital sources to explore the Stone Age settlement ‘Skara Brae.’
The Iron Age (Spring 2) - The last topic in Year 3 is the Iron Age. in which the children start exploring the reasons why the Iron Age replaced the Stone Age, before thinking about what food, art and grave goods teach us about life in the Iron Age. We also discover the reasons why Hill Forts were developed and how they contributed to the development of civilisation in the Iron Age.
The Romans (Autumn 2 and Spring 1) - Children continue to develop their chronological understanding in Year 4 through studying the Roman Period, understanding the reasons why events took place and importantly, explaining the impact of these changes, even on our society today. The children love seeing the elements of Roman society that are still reflected and seen in our lives today - through studying the Roman Baths, looking at the design of Roman roads and even linking our Maths to the Romans when we learn about Roman Numerals!
The Anglo-Saxons (Summer 1) - Studying the Anglo-Saxons gives the children the opportunity to see a range of Anglo-saxon artifacts and make predictions as to what they think it might tell us about the period in History. The children consider why the Anglo-Saxons wanted to invade Britain and look at how their religious beliefs changed once they arrived in England. The children communicate their ideas in a range of ways including paragraphs and annotated diagrams. The children will be introduced to a range of ways that history is presented and consider the effectiveness of these sources, considering the motives behind the author and looking at external factors that may have impacted that viewpoint.
The Tudors ( Autumn 1) - In Year 5, the children continue to consolidate the chronology of history and build upon it. They are also taught the long and short term effects of these changes over time. The children start the year studying the Tudor period and visiting Hampton Court to contextualise this learning. Children are helped to ask questions about the changes that take place in lifestyle and religion during this period.
The Vikings (Spring 2) - In the spring term, we explore the tension between the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings as they fight and negotiate for English land. We consider why these tensions lasted so long and we study the key players on both sides, particularly looking at Alfred the Great and his influence and leadership. The children compare Anglo-Saxon law with our justice system today and finally we look at the battle for the throne after the death of Edward the Confessor.
Ancient Egypt (Summer 1) - The children have chosen Egypt to study as their ancient civilisation. Children explore the significance of a civilisation that lasted nearly 3000 years. Archaeology has revealed much about this ancient culture. Together, the children investigate primary and secondary sources, looking at artefacts and interpreting historical texts to understand more about the influences of that time. The children also explore the importance of the River Nile.
WW2 - (Autumn 1) - In Year 6, the children identify the key events of WW2, considering what countries were involved in the war and why the war happened in the first place. This topic gives the children an opportunity to explore a variety of primary and secondary sources to expand their understanding. There is a particular focus on the role of women at this time and how that has changed the path of history. The children consider the jobs they had to do during the war and what work for women looks like now in our own society. The children use their own enquiring minds to help them delve deeper into this topic and teachers support this inquiry based learning in class.
Victorians - (Spring 2) - In Spring term, the children study the Victorians as their local case study through looking at the local area of New Malden and considering how it has changed since the Victorian Era. The children study in particular the workhouses and the railway and enjoy exploring a range of sources to help describe and explain changes over time. Throughout the topic, the children will contemplate why some aspects of the Victorian Era were deemed more significant than others and how that shows itself in our society today.
The Mayans - (Summer 2) - The children finish their history in Year 6 by gaining an understanding of who the Mayans were and in particular, studying their religious beliefs. They research Mayan inventions and innovations. The children have to research and present to the class about Mayan daily life and delve into a range of historical interpretations, selecting appropriate information from a range of sources to help form their opinions and reflections on certain historical periods. They use a range of methods to communicate their ideas including diagrams, writing and presentations to the class.