History Subject Leader
Mr Prescott is our History subject leader. Mrs Fairclough is our link governor for History.
The national curriculum states that a high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils 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.
know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales
By the end of a child’s journey through their historical study at St Barnabas, they should be equipped with an inherent inquisitiveness about the past and how it has shaped the world we live in today. The children should know and understand high end historical vocabulary (such as primary and secondary sources and chronology) as well as key facts and skills that enable them to ask questions about the past to help them clearly understand what happened and how it impacted on the world at that time. Ultimately, allowing the children to ask questions about the past and learn from it in order to not repeat the mistakes of it.
At St Barnabas, we have developed our history curriculum by using a triangulation approach to curriculum development and design.
This is done by: identifying key vocabulary that the children must know to access their topics; developing inquisitive and insightful questions that engage learner’s natural questioning around topics and key fact and knowledge that the children will acquire as they go through their geographical journey within their topics.
We have identified key skills for each individual historical topic across all year groups. This has enabled teachers to really focus on how the children are going to obtain these skills within their topics.
Starting sessions with key questions enables the children to be engaged in their understanding of what they are being taught but also enables easier assessment of how the concepts have been taught and the understanding obtained in each session.
Identifying key vocabulary prior to teaching each topic allows for an easier transition of understanding acquired by the children. It also breaks down misconceptions about words and enables cross curricular opportunities for upskilling vocabulary across writing topics.
We have developed a scheme of work for each topic that enables staff to understand what they need to cover for knowledge, vocabulary and skills taught in their year groups.
The impact of what we have done has been positive for children, teachers and subject leadership.
Teachers understand clearly what they have to teach but also why they have to teach it. This allows for teachers who find history a difficult subject; to feel empowered and confident about their delivery. It also gives signposts for all in terms of resources available in school and out of school. This saves teacher time in terms of planning and preparation and impacts massively on their work life balance. Ultimately, allowing teachers to be more confident of their delivery of history.
Teachers know explicitly what needs to be taught in their topics and this also allows for teachers to be creative in how they would like to teach their topic but also allows for teachers new to the subject to feel safe about what they are delivering meets the standards required and helps them develop their own knowledge and understanding of their skills and vocabulary.
For the children, the first major impact we have seen is that they enjoy their history lessons. Through pupil conferencing, pupils can explain their key vocabulary being taught and can explain geographical concepts taught by using the knowledge and skills obtained through a historical topic.