Purpose of Study
‘A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world.’ The key word here is coherent – the fact that children’s knowledge needs to be part of a wider narrative upon which they can build on year after year.
Whenever we encounter new knowledge within the curriculum, it’s important to place it within the context of when and where it happened to add to the level of understanding.
In Key Stage 1, it states: ‘Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should know where the people and events they study, fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.’ This can be broken into describing the passing of time with words such as ‘then’, ‘next’, ‘before’ etc, and understanding a sense of time. This is more complex and requires children to be able to understand when in the past an event took place, what life was like during it and how that relates to other learning. The significant individual studies require children to make such a comparison at least once during KS1. The key bullet point objectives require children to understand the difference between within and beyond living memory.
This is further developed in Key Stage 2 where children should continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms.
How do we teach chronology?
In every class, children will have access to a timeline. In KS1, It will refer to events within and beyond living memory which we be added to as the terms progress. In KS2, children will have a timeline placed in the front of their books that they can refer to continually. The timeline will show the concurrence of time periods and also, the length of time of each time period will be analysed and discussed.
Each unit of work will focus upon a specific period of time rather than try to cover all areas of e.g. The Roman Empire, hence breaking the teaching into smaller, manageable chunks to reinforce learning. Regular revision sessions and quizzes will assess the children in what they can recall from past learning, including vocabulary, and build on the links of concurrence of civilisations each year. The use of simple scaled timelines will emphasise the narratives and act as a focus from which children can relate their lessons as part of the wider topics.