History has always been held in high regard at Marden Vale C of E Academy. Topics are informed by the National Curriculum and are sensitive to children’s interests, as well as the context of the local area. The history curriculum at Marden Vale CofE Academy is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy. In line with the National Curriculum 2014, the curriculum at Marden Vale CofE Academy aims to ensure that all pupils:
• Gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world which helps to stimulate pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past;
• Are encouraged to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement;
• Begin to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
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[LS1] to develop children’s understanding of chronology. Each topic is introduced with reference to the chronology of previous topics (including those from previous years). Key knowledge is reviewed by the children and rigorously checked and consolidated by the teacher. By the end of year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to 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.
Cross curricular outcomes in history are specifically planned for and these are indicated on the school’s progression mapping. The school’s own context is also considered, with opportunities for visits to places of historical interest and learning outside the classroom also identified and embedded in practice.
Visits to the local area, themed history days, and history visitors to school all support the children in experiencing history in an engaging and meaningful way.
Planning is informed by and aligned with the National Curriculum. In addition, teachers, in some year groups, are trialling the ‘Collins Connected History’ enquiry based plans and resources. However, teachers’ lesson design is not limited by the scheme and teachers have access to further guidance from national agencies, including the History Association, of which the school is a member. Children are taught a range of historical skills, including to search for, examine, record, interpret and evaluate evidence and draw their own conclusions. Increasing mastery of the subject occurs as a result of a pupil combining the application of key subject skills, processes and subject vocabulary with the development of knowledge and understanding.
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 the key identified knowledge.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.
Outcomes in topic books evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge.
Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking and questioning and children demonstrate a clear, coherent and chronological 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 study pupils ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.