At Gretton we aim to foster in our children a keen interest in the past and a growing understanding of how it relates to the present. In order to do this, we feel it is important to:
- enable children to know about significant events in British history and to appreciate how things have changed over time;
- develop a sense of chronology within which they can organise their understanding of the past;
- understand how Britain is part of a wider European culture and study some aspects of European history;
- have some knowledge and understanding of historical development in the wider world;
- help children understand society and their place within it, so that they develop a sense of their cultural heritage;
- develop in children the skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation & presentation.
We use the programmes of study of the National Curriculum as the basis for our curriculum planning. From this a scheme of work has been developed across the key stages. We ensure that there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and we build planned progression into the scheme of work, so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
Our curriculum planning is in two phases (long-term and medium-term). Our long-term topic plan maps the history topics studied in each term in each class. In some cases we combine historical study with work in other subject areas, especially at Key Stage 1. Some topics have a particular historical focus and at Key Stage 2 we place an increasing emphasis on independent historical study.
Our medium-term plans give details of each unit of work for each term for each class. Apart from in Foundation Stage/Reception, we have mixed-age classes, so we do the medium-term planning on a two-year rotation cycle for Y1/2, Y3/4 and Y5/6 classes. In this way we ensure that children have complete coverage of the National Curriculum, but do not have to repeat topics.
We plan the topics in history so that they build upon prior learning. Children of all abilities have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and, through planned progression built into the scheme of work, we offer them an increasing challenge as they move up the school.
We focus on enabling children to think as historians. This places an emphasis on examining historical artefacts and primary sources. In each key stage we give children the opportunity to visit local sites of historical significance, for example, Sudeley Castle and Belas Knap, the Neolithic long barrow on Cleeve Hill.
On some trips, such as the Y3/4 trip to Winchcombe Railway Station, we invite the children to dress up in role (in this case as evacuee children from World War Two), to help them really immerse themselves in the experience. We also encourage visitors to come into the school and talk about or even re-enact events in the past, such as our very popular ‘Viking’ visitor.
We recognise and value the importance of stories and artefacts in history teaching and regard this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past. Artefacts are seen on visits to museums such as the Oxford Natural History Museum and the British Museum in London, whilst others are borrowed from the Edmund Wilson Museum Takeaway Loans Service in Cheltenham for closer study. We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they should always ask searching questions, such as ‘how do we know?’, about information they are given.
We assess the impact of our history curriculum in several different ways, to ensure that we are developing skills, knowledge and understanding for all our children. Planning is monitored for coverage, differentiation & progression and children’s topic books are monitored to assess learning and progress. We also conduct learning walks to see children’s work and photos on display and pupil conferencing to find out what children have learned and enjoyed.
To monitor standards, summative assessment is completed by each teacher at the end of each term. This gives us a clear picture of how many children have achieved the objectives within a unit of work and therefore a good indication of the standards being achieved in history. For example, at the end of the Autumn Term 2021, the vast majority of our children achieved the required standard in their most recent unit of work.
From talking to our children and observing their work, it is evident that they are engaged and enthusiastic learners. By the end of their time at Gretton, we are pleased to see that our children know how to find out about the past from a range of sources, ask and answer historical questions and make links between events, situations and changes within and across different periods and societies they have studied. Most of all, they have gained a deeper understanding of the past and how we can learn from it in the present.