At Birchwood, History is taught to equip the children with an understanding of how the world around them has emerged and to foster a curiosity about the people and events of the past. The aim of our history curriculum is to provide a thorough understanding of the key concepts and vocabulary of history whilst establishing a knowledge of the chronology of British history and some of the historical civilizations of the wider world. Additionally, children at Birchwood are taught to study history through the lens of key historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance.
At Birchwood, our history curriculum covers the full National Curriculum. Children are taught the substantive knowledge and the vocabulary that they need in order to understand the past, and the disciplinary knowledge needed to write about it skilfully and accurately. Our children are also taught to develop skills of historical enquiry and learn that there are different interpretations of the past.
Through their learning in history, children at Birchwood will develop a clear understanding of the interwoven nature of British and world history, and will gain a deeper understanding of what has made the United Kingdom the country that it is today. They will also learn respect for cultures and civilizations from across the world whilst deepening their understanding of the rich history and heritage of their local area.
At Birchwood, our teaching follows a clear progression as the children advance through the key stages. The children are taught British history in chronological order, and are frequently encouraged to refer to prior learning when moving from an earlier period of history to a later one.
The History curriculum has been carefully planned to provide learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group. These are crafted to ensure progression and repetition, embedding key learning, knowledge and skills and providing children with an opportunity to put new learning within a familiar context.
History at Birchwood is usually taught as part half-termly themes which provide the focus for the children’s learning over a period of weeks. Lessons and activities are designed to provide the substantive knowledge needed to gain a robust understanding of the chosen period whilst simultaneously develop the disciplinary knowledge needed to craft historical explanations and opinions.
In Key Stage 1, our children begin exploring the past by studying significant events, individuals and changes both within and outside living memory. The Key Stage 1 curriculum is designed to introduce children to periods of history which will be studied in more depth in Key Stage 2, allowing children to refer to their prior knowledge as they progress through school.
Throughout our Key Stage 2 curriculum, a narrative of ‘invasion and settlement’ is studied across the elements of British History. This allows the children to build on prior learning and refer to their studies of previous historical groups when approaching new learning and historical periods. Key Stage 2 children also complete in-depth learning about the historical changes and events that have shaped their locality, allowing them to gain a greater understanding of their own heritage.
Trips and visiting experts enhance the learning experience and are planned into the curriculum, and home learning tasks which children complete with adults at home are set as part of Birchwood’s Home Learning. Children’s History books, used in lessons, allow pupils to revisit their prior learning, and be confident when articulating their new learning as they progress through school.
Staff receive professional development to support with their delivery of the curriculum.
We believe that by creating our history curriculum in this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, committing it to long-term memory.
Our History curriculum is high quality, carefully structured and is planned to demonstrate progress. Historical themes have been chosen to enthuse the children and ensure that the demands of the national curriculum have been adhered to. Emphasis is placed upon the development and embedding of substantive knowledge first, before the children are then encouraged to explore this knowledge using historical disciplinary skills.
We measure the impact of our History curriculum through the following methods: speaking to pupils about their learning; evidence in books; assessments prior to and following learning; and from termly teacher assessment and lesson visits.
By the time children leave Birchwood Primary School they will have an excellent knowledge the history of Britain and selected civilizations from across the wider world. Children will have a deeper understanding of the discipline of history and the ways in which the past is studied. They will have a solid grasp on the vocabulary of history and will have learned that there are different interpretations about the past. They will be prepared for the next phase of their education and have a passion for History and a drive to delve deeper into the past.