History is a valued part of the curriculum at Mount Pleasant Primary School, sparking the children’s curiosity through enquiry about the past in Britain and the wider world. History gives the children a sense of identity, and helps pupils understand the process of change and the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. These understandings come from the study of life in the past, of thoughts, beliefs, emotions, actions and artefacts. In history, pupils must have a chronological understanding, from the earliest civilisations to the present day; how people’s lives have shaped the nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. To do this, they need to research, weigh up evidence and argue their points of view – skills in which are essential in adult life.
SMSC, Diversity and Cultural Capital
History is full of cultural capital and SMSC opportunities. Our history curriculum mirrors the National Curriculum in studying ancient history and cultures but also adds aspects we feel pupils should know and understand. Our curriculum:
- Teaches pupils about cultures both past and present and how they differ from their own.
- Cross curricular links are carefully planned with logical progression of both skills and knowledge. Cross-curricular approach encourages children to transfer knowledge and skills across subjects.
- Working collaboratively and independently enables children to develop essential speaking and listening and social skills.
- Allows children to appreciate and value their own identity – their links with the past and the impact of past events on their own present existence.
- Values past human achievement
- Involves pupils developing a better understanding of our multicultural society through studying links between local, British, European and world history.
At Mount Pleasant Primary School, planning is meticulously planned. It is carefully prepared in order to engage and excite all of our learners. Our medium- and long-term plans ensure an appropriate balance and distribution of work across each term, as well as ensuring there is progression throughout school. In this school year, we have updated our history curriculum to ensure the children are demonstrating the key knowledge and skills they need to become experts in history. This includes ensuring all new units of work begin with placing the era they are to study in chronological order within times they have already studied, in order to give the children, the opportunity to make links with previous learning. We ensure that children are engaged and are curious about the curriculum by introducing each lesson with enquiry questions. This gives each lesson a specific aim and learning outcome. We have also introduced retrieval practice activities at the beginning of each lesson in order to ensure children can remember what they have learnt in previous lessons and/or different topics.
At the end of each unit, children’s learning is assessed against the objectives and skills identified on the planning. A bronze, silver or gold sticker is added which demonstrates their attainment for that unit.
Across the curriculum, topics are introduced with a memorable experience for the children. This engages the children and hooks them into the new learning they are about to begin. There are a number of history enrichment activities that take place across school to spark the children’s curiosity and provide them with a positive and exciting experience to begin their learning journey.
In KS1, outside visitors and visiting historical places enhance the learning for the children. For example, year 2 visit Conisbrough Castle to learn all about how people used to live in medieval times and understand why castles were built.
In KS2, we have made beneficial use of visitors coming into school and history themed visits. Year 4 have previously visited The Jorvik Centre to complement their Viking studies, and also have an immersive company come in to exhibit what life was like in Roman times! When learning about the Ancient Egyptians in year 5, their memorable experience is all about learning how and why they used mummification. They watch a live shadow performance of mummification being completed. Year 6 have previously visited a Holocaust exhibition at our local university to complement their WW2 topic.
“I think History is an important subject because you learn about the past and use this to make things better in the future.”
“My favourite topics have been learning about WW2 and Victorians.”
“I really enjoyed the memorable experience when an Anglo Saxon came to visit us.”
“I enjoy History because you learn about what other people did and fought for.”
“I liked learning about important people such as Grace Darling and Marie Curie.”