At West Rainton Primary School, we are very proud of the varied history curriculum that we provide for our pupils. Within our history curriculum, we ensure that children are given opportunities to learn about a range of events from our past, ranging from ancient civilisations to modern day history. We promote a love of history and give pupils the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to become historians.
Leadership and intent of history at West Rainton
At West Rainton Primary school, we are HISTORIANS! Our intent is that our teaching of history will inspire pupils’ curiosity about the past in order for them to develop their understanding of key events. We aim to make our children aware of significant people from history and the impact they had one people’s lives. Our whole school approach to chronology gives children the opportunity to expand their historical understanding through enabling pupils to place their learning within the bigger picture. Each year group is taught an element of local history which makes the children feel proud of their local heritage and gain an understanding of what came before them in their local area. As well as local history, our children will also learn about aspects of British and Ancient history. From studying a range of different periods, we want our children to ask perceptive questions, think critically and develop a sense of perspective and judgement. History is also promoted through the celebration of anniversaries, festivals and events that happen throughout the year. This gives the children opportunities to develop a cultural understanding as well as valuing their own and other people’s cultures in multicultural Britain. We want our children to become enthused learners in history by giving a range of opportunities to understand the importance of history. We also want our pupils to have no limits for their ambitions and grow up wanting to pursue careers in history.
As a class teacher at West Rainton Primary School and an avid historian, I am very proud to lead history in our school. I believe it is important that children learn about significant events from the past and how they have influenced life today.
Please see my mission statement as subject leader here:
Our subject map was created after consultations with staff to ensure that children’s learning in history is progressive and varied. Staff are aware of previous and future topics to make sure children have retained facts from previous topics and have the knowledge they need for future ones. This whole school approach to planning is particularly important when planning for mixed age classes, to ensure complete coverage of all objectives. This Full governing body training was also carried out in Autumn 2019 in line with new curriculum guidelines.
Below are the links to view the subject policy and curriculum mapping for history:
How history supports and promotes our overarching curriculum key drivers:
We want our pupils to be inspired by our provision, and to ignite strong aspirations and high expectations of themselves and their future. Promotion of strong attendance is fundamental in this. Through the use of visits, visitors and enriching experiences, we will build knowledge and understanding of career possibilities as well as a hunger to embrace new and exciting opportunities. We will ensure we plan regular opportunities for children to develop self-belief and to see the benefits of taking risks and overcoming challenge. Our pupils will be supported to light up future pathways to fulfilling lives of employment choices, prosperity and future happiness. In history, this is achieved through the engaging and enriching opportunities on offer, such as exciting educational visits and visitors. Children in all key stages have regular opportunities to interact with a range of artefacts. Our history units also lead to discussions about possible career pathways.
Skills for learning and life
We want pupils to leave our school with a bank of knowledge and a skillset specific to each individual subject, whilst also making transferable connections across other areas of learning and life. Fundamental to this, is a curriculum rich in core skills of language, vocabulary, communication, literacy and numeracy. Our pupils will be taught to be inquisitive, follow a line of enquiry to reach answers, and to recall and present their learning in a vibrant range of ways. Opportunities to develop resilience, organisation, leadership, teamwork, adaptability, patience and initiative are all interwoven into our subjects and wider school life in order for our children to adjust to new learning situations. In history, this is promoted through high level questioning and ample opportunities for teamwork and leadership. Children gain a bank of vocabulary and also answer a range of questions, focussing on how and why. Skills in patience, resilience and organisation are fostered within history.
Equally as important to us is the development of the whole child. Feeling safe, happy and valued is a fundamental right of all pupils. Our inclusive-rich ethos provides the backdrop to our personal development and wellbeing provision which is skilfully interwoven into all that we do. All pupils are supported to develop a strong understanding of the importance of good physical and mental health, whilst also learning a whole range of factors and influences that can have a negative impact on us. Making, nurturing and maintaining healthy relationships, both on and offline, equips children with the strength and security to recognise what they want and need in life. We believe a strong understanding of e-safety forms a crucial part of being a healthy, well-rounded 21st century global citizen. In history, our lessons promote an understanding of current issues and often have a focus on exploring people’s rights and how these have changed over time. Our children also learn how to work together as part of a group and extent their understanding of e-safety when completing research tasks online.
Knowledge of the world
When our pupils leave us at the end of Y6, we want them to feel so proud of themselves as people that they have the personal strength and self-confidence to find their place as positive global citizens. Through our carefully-planned provision, our pupils will experience a diverse and inclusive-rich experience that allows them to bank cultural capital as well as developing a secure understanding of the importance of equality. As well as a secure knowledge of British values, our pupils will have their minds and horizons broadened through diverse social, moral, spiritual and cultural experiences. Pupils will be regularly encouraged to revisit and extend their world-view, fostering tolerance, sensitivity and empathy to interact positively with others. The history curriculum map and is carefully tailored so our children experience a diverse range of historical figures throughout the different topics. Our children also develop an awareness and understanding of the foundations of our country and others around the world.
How history is taught at West Rainton
Children at West Rainton Primary receive 60 minutes of history teaching per week. Each class has a history focus topic every term, which lasts the duration of a half term. Each topic begins with an enquiry question to focus the children’s learning and develop their curiosity for learning. We have also developed a progression of skills document, which enables pupils to develop and build on their skills each year. All children have a history specific exercise book in which to complete their varied history activities. Having a subject specific book ensures that the children are aware of the subject they are currently working on and they know which activities are relevant to this subject. Our diverse curriculum ensures that our children study a range of incredible individuals from all backgrounds.
In EYFS the foundations of history are seen mainly through a wide range of vocabulary use and through the different topics covered. We also explore a wide range of books with the children, which give them a sense of the past. They are then given opportunities to take part in activities related to this. For example, the children might take part in an archaeology dig activity after reading a story about Mary Anning. In nursery, children begin to think about the idea of chronology through the exploration of personal timelines and thinking about things that happen next and before. In reception, the foundations of history are seen through. Children also begin to think about events from before they were born (the lives of their grown-ups at home) and understand their place in history.
In KS1, the children look at significant events and people, as well as their actions and the impact this had on people’s lives. Children in KS1 also explore the idea of chronology through the use of both personal timelines and those of significant individuals. Children in KS2 study aspects of local history, British history topics and topics from ancient history. The children also begin to think about how periods of time have influenced or changed life today as we know it. Chronology is continued to be built on in KS2 though extensive timeline use. Children use our whole school timeline to see where each topic fits and have individual timelines in classrooms for use during lessons.
At West Rainton Primary, we also plan for effective use of educational visits and visitors, to enhance and enrich our pupils’ learning and history curriculum. Recently, we have purchased a wide range of artefacts to be used in the classroom to enhance the teaching of history in our school. Each history topic has a designated box of artefacts to be used in the classroom alongside the relevant topic. These boxes include key images, costumes, pottery, armour, etc. (topic and age group specific). Our artefacts lead to the children developing key skills such as, enquiry, analysis and investigation. Our children have thoroughly enjoyed using these in their history lessons!
As part of our provision on offer, pupils with special educational needs are planned for very carefully in school. This is an important part of the history curriculum, as we strive to ensure that all of our pupils fully understand what they are being taught. This may involve greater explanations about what they learn, and simplified tasks to ensure that pupils with SEND gain as much as they can from the learning on offer. Our provision across the curriculum was highlighted when we were awarded the inclusive ‘Centre of Excellence’ award in late 2020. It is crucial for us that our pupils with SEND make progress, and move on from where they are in their learning journey. This provision may look very different to our other pupils, through differentiation and modification of the curriculum. Our decisions are made in consultation with the SENDCo, Mrs Firth, who advises and supports members of staff with their provision.
The impact of history at West Rainton
At West Rainton, we believe that it is essential that our children know why we teach what we do, and how these subjects can help them progress in secondary school, further education and potential career paths.
The skills learnt within the subject of history are a vital part of future life. It ensures children are aware of where they come from and how our lives today have been shaped by the past.
Particular careers where history will be beneficial include: archeologist, lawyer, genealogist, heritage manager, conservationist of historic buildings, museum curator or education officer.