At Oak Tree we know history at primary level helps children to gain knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It involves understanding the process of change, the complexity of people’s lives, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and society today.
History allows children to develop the following key skills: ask perceptive questions, think critically, evaluate evidence and examine arguments. Our history curriculum allows children to develop their cultural capital. Purposeful and natural links to British values and discussions around being good UK and global citizens are threaded through the curriculum. Our history curriculum promotes the rich diversity of the world, Britain and an appreciation of our locality.
The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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.
At Oak Tree Primary School, we provide an ambitious, high-quality history education which ensures pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Through a range of activities we inspire our pupils’ curiosity, challenge their perceived ideas and develop a secure understanding of chronology. We equip our pupils with the knowledge and skills to ask perceptive questions, think critically, evaluate evidence, construct arguments and make judgements about events and people from the past. 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 understand their own identity and the challenges of their time.
Our history curriculum enables children to develop a well-rounded understanding of the past. We ensure our learners make links with their prior learning and build on from previous experiences to ensure they make strong connections and build a comprehensive picture during their time at Oak Tree. We learn how historians find out about the past and develop our disciplinary skills by investigating a range of artefacts and take part in immersive experiences such as Egyptian day, visiting Staircase House to spend the day as an evacuee and marching through the streets of Chester as a Roman soldier.
Through a series of lessons, pupils build their understanding of the time period, people or event being studied to answer an overarching enquiry question. Each of our 7 Big Ideas and our Golden Thread of ‘ 7 Tricky Terms’ are woven throughout each unit, ensuring children develop their understanding of these concepts over time. New topics are put in context of British and world history to ensure understanding of how different civilisations existed at the same time with varying levels of technological advancement.
Using the ‘Oak Sheets’ children explain what they already know and what they want to find out. At the end of the unit, children use what they have learnt to answer the enquiry question.
Flashback 4s, mini quizzes and checkpoints, for example, are used as a means of securing key knowledge in each topic area.
History is assessed in a variety of ways at Oak Tree. Embedded in our teaching are a variety of AfL strategies and summative assessments (e.g. quizzes, flashbacks and checkpoints) to check retention, address misconceptions and secure key points in learning. Children review their learning at the end of a unit by completing the ‘know it’ section of their oak sheets and answering the enquiry question in a variety of ways to showcase their new knowledge and understanding. Teachers have high expectations of all pupils and, as a result, all pupils continually produce work of a high standard. Teachers use the knowledge and skills documents to design these assessments and make their end of year judgements which are recorded for every child. By the end of 2023, 84% of children in KS1 and 89% of pupils in KS2 had achieved or exceeded the end of year expectations for history.
Teaching and learning is evaluated using a triangulation of evidence from a cycle of monitoring activities completed by the subject lead and other members of SLT. This includes book looks, lesson observations, drop-ins and pupil/teacher voice opportunities. Our curriculum is regularly reviewed and CPD is tailored to enhance quality teaching and to continue to develop the subject inline with the most recent educational research.