History is, quite simply, the past – people, cultures and events. Teaching history is not so simple.
It is no longer a lesson in which children learn facts and dates of important people and events and little else. History today is designed to encourage pupils to develop a curiosity in the events of the past and an appreciation of human achievements and aspirations.
Pupils soon learn that the past can help us better understand the present. They develop knowledge of chronology, helping them to organise their understanding of past events and people. They carry out their own research and begin to understand the nature of evidence in all its diverse forms.
They try to interpret primary and secondary sources and weigh them up and reach their own conclusions about the perspective and motivation of people in the past. It has been said that history is often written by the winners. By equipping pupils with questioning, analytical and research skills they learn to appreciate and understand there is more than one side to every story.
Through the teaching of history we aim to:
- Provide pupils with a general knowledge and understanding of the process and periods of the historical evolution of mankind
- Arouse pupils' interest in and enthusiasm for the past
- Help pupils understand the present, and to make decisions based on their investigations of what has happened in the past
- Help pupils achieve an understanding of Britain's development, both at home and in relation to the wider world
- Help pupils develop a keen sense of chronology and skills of questioning, research, and analysing evidence in a logical manner
- Develop inquiring and disciplined minds
- Introduce pupils to what is involved in understanding and interpreting the past
- Help pupils understand the nature of evidence by emphasising history as a process of enquiry and develop the range of skills required to interpret primary and secondary source materials
- Enrich other areas of the curriculum
The history syllabus covers foundation stage (KG) to Form 6.
History is taught through the area of learning understanding the world.
Pupils are introduced to the idea of chronology through themselves and their own families:
- When they were born and understanding that their older siblings, parents and grandparents were born before them
- Family trees
- Looking at photographs
Pupils are introduced to the concept of things from the past, to understand that objects have changed and to be able to compare them:
- My family
- Houses – past and present
- Blast to the past
In Year 1, history is taught in topic lessons and in Year 2 it is taught as a discrete subject, both for one hour every week.
Pupils are developing further their sense of chronology and begin to extend it beyond their families. Pupils will be encouraged to question why events happened as they did and how lives were affected with as much research of their own as is practicable. They will study:
- Castles – looking at how and when castles were first built
- Myths and Legends – to understand that these are stories written a long time ago and are sometimes based on characters from hundreds of years ago
- Clothes and fashion through the ages – to understand how and why clothes and fashion have changed throughout the ages
Pupils are extending their skills of chronology by looking at events and people from 500,000BC to present day and what a century is. They begin to understand that we know about the past through evidence and that evidence could be a variety of sources and artefacts; all of which gives us information about the past. They will study:
- Ancient Egyptians 5000BC to 100AD
- Pyramids and other buildings
- Contents of tombs
- The Rosetta Stone
- Important historical people
- Written sources
- Eyewitness accounts
- History of London 500,000BC to present day
- Objects found in or around London area
- Written sources
- Eyewitness accounts
Years 3 to 6 have a one-hour history lesson each week.
At key stage 2, pupils will continue to expand on the basic skills they have developed in foundation stage and key stage 1, namely:
- The use and importance of evidence
- The comparison of past and present
In addition they will begin to learn:
- To ask why events happened as they did
- What were the effects on different people
- What can be learned from these events
- To name and place periods of time in chronological order
- To develop a 'historical' vocabulary
In each form the pupils look at and compare the following cultures, events and peoples.
- Ancient Greece – 2000BC to 146BC
- Explorers – 15th and 16th centuries mainly
- Aztecs – 16th century
- Romans in Britain – 43AD to 410AD
- Saxons – 450AD to 800AD
- Vikings – 800AD to 1043AD
- Tudors – 1485 to 1603
- Stuarts – 1603 to 1714
- Victorians – 1837 to 1901
- Victorians (looking particularly at applying historical knowledge from the previous term through writing essays and studying sources and developing historical reasoning)
- 1930s and 1940s (from February half term to end of summer term)