History Curriculum Rationale
Article 29 of the UNCRC: a child or young person's education should help their mind, body and talents be the best they can.
At Bridgelea we know that learning is a change to long-term memory. Our aims are to ensure that our children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of knowledge and skills.
At Bridgelea we want our children to love and understand history to a deeper level. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be archivists, museum curators, archaeologists, or research analysts. The history curriculum has been carefully designed so that our children develop their historical capital. We want our children to remember their history lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with!
At Bridgelea we want our children to know more, do more and remember more. Thinking is the process that precipitates such a change, a process involving our working memory. Many of the children at Bridgelea present with working memory deficits, as part of their SEMH (Social Emotional and Mental Health), and it is crucial that we understand how this impacts children’s learning and how our curriculum and its implementation can limit the impact of these difficulties. Many of our children also have attention and concentration difficulties which can be a further barrier to effective learning.
In History we know that our children need additional opportunities to repeat the content as many times as necessary to deepen their understanding of historical concepts by the end of each milepost.
Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if children are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that for children to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding, they must first master the basics, which takes time.
Foundations cannot be rushed, but by securing them, children will establish an excellent basis for progressing beyond basics towards greater depth. At Bridgelea children join at different points in their primary years, having experienced different curriculums in their previous schools. Ensuring that these foundations are secure can be a challenge.
The historical key concepts which we expect children to develop have been reviewed. These concepts underpin all work in history and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. This is linked to National Curriculum:
- Chronological Understanding – time and events
- Contextual Knowledge and Conceptual Understanding – understanding people’s lives, changes that have happened and how they compare to our lives.
- Historical Enquiry and Investigation – research events, ask questions, look at views and arguments and develop own ideas.
Key Stage 1 focuses on:
- Changes within Living Memory
- Local Area
- Significant Individuals
Key Stage 2 focuses on:
- British History
- World History
- Local History
Staff are expected to teach 45 Minutes of history each week, every alternative half term (approximately 6 hours per topic).
To support our children to use and apply their understanding of history, we make connections between history and other subject areas, creating a connected learning experience.This cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values and children’s rights.
As we begin the academic year 2023, we are introducing the Twinkle Plan It scheme to support the delivery of the history curriculum at Bridgelea.
At Bridgelea we believe in the fundamental foundations of our history curriculum and understand that it is important not to rush through content and to ensure that children have a strong basic understanding of each key concept. This is even more important given our children's SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) needs. Withing each milepost children will meet each concept multiple times to secure fundamental foundations.
For children to know more and remember more in each area of history studied, the lesson sequence is structured so that prior learning is always considered and opportunities for revision and retrieval of key dates, events and facts are built into lessons. ‘Remember It’ sections at the start of lessons that often revisit the key substantive knowledge taken from the linked knowledge organiser. Retrieval quizzes also provide great opportunities to help make the key knowledge stick. This all allows for revision to become part of good practice and adding depth to children’s historical understanding. Through revisiting and consolidating skills, our lessons and resources help children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and challenge.
Revision and introduction of key vocabulary is built into each lesson. This vocabulary is then included in knowledge organisers, display materials and additional resources to ensure that children are allowed opportunities to repeat and revise this knowledge. Adult guidance is included, and accurate historical subject knowledge is provided within lessons to allow the teacher and other adults to feel confident and supported with the historical skills, knowledge, and concepts that they are teaching.
Through these lessons, we inspire pupils and practitioners to develop a love of history and see how it has shaped the world they live in. It is important for children to understand that the past influences the present and the future. We want to encourage children to learn that they cannot change history but what they can do is learn about it and learn from it then use this information to help shape a better future.
History and Metacognition
As a school we are currently working towards a ‘Thinking School’ accreditation. We are working hard to embed a whole school approach, resulting in a common language and framework, which enables children to talk explicitly about thinking and to understand there are various kinds of thinking. In History we use the’ Thinking Frames to help children to organise their thinking. Teachers are trained to use the Thinking Frames to support children to create increasingly sophisticated mental models to scaffold fundamental foundations. Thinking Frames are also used to support children to apply their understanding of History as their learning becomes deeper.