We believe that, through the study of history, children make sense of their world, begin to make links between facts and their knowledge, and enrich their understanding of it. We aim for an ambitious, high quality history curriculum which should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about Britain’s past and that of the wider world.
We want children to enjoy and love learning about history by gaining this knowledge and skills, not just through experiences in the classroom, but also with the use of fieldwork and educational visits. Fundamental in the intent of the curriculum is the sequence in which history is taught. Through carefully planned units, children are able to build upon previous topics, and make links between periods. We believe this is important to enable children to gain a deeper understanding of the chronology of events. This enables children to understand the wider aspects of events of the past and discover a sense of identity and cultural understanding based on their historical heritage.
Intent - What Do We Aspire For Our Children?
Our Curriculum Intent for History
At OLSA, we provide a high-quality history curriculum that has been carefully designed and sequenced to equip our children with a secure, coherent knowledge about British, local and world history. Underpinning each concept is a firm reliance upon children's knowledge of chronology. Curriculum content is knowledge, vocabulary and experience rich, delivered in a sequenced chronological order, allowing children to develop their understanding of abstract historical concepts as they move through school. Wherever possible, the curriculum reflects our locality and endeavours to ensure children are knowledgeable about their locality’s history and the changes it has seen both in terms of events and significant individuals. Our history curriculum promotes curiosity and a love for learning about the past. Through an enquiry based approach, children are encouraged to ask and explore historically valid questions and report their findings by drawing on skills from across the curriculum.
Alongside the development of substantive knowledge, children will develop their disciplinary skills as they learn the fundamental elements of what it is to be a historian. Children will study a range of cultures and historical perspectives enabling them to be respectful, tolerant and empathetic, linking in key British Values. We aspire that children will move on from OLSA being knowledgeable about key people, events and time periods from the past and will weave these together to form informed, overarching historical narratives.
Miss Fleming is the subject leader for History. She is passionate about children learning from first hand experiences and believes that, through the study of history, children can begin to develop an understanding of the world in which they live. She believes that encouraging children to ask and answer those 'bigger' questions will enable them to gain a sense of the world around them. It is through these experiences that they will begin to make links with previously taught units to further inspire and promote curiosity into our own heritage.
Miss Fleming wants children to enjoy and love learning and regularly arranges field trips to provide first hand opportunities to handle artefacts; listen to people who experienced events first hand and provide opportunities to question people who are specialists in their knowledge of history.
Knowledge at the Heart of the Curriculum
Learning knowledge is not an endpoint in itself, it is a starting point to learning more knowledge. Each unit in our overview is underpinned by rich, substantive knowledge and ambitious vocabulary, whilst also ensuring children are developing their disciplinary knowledge (historical skills). Each unit of work is planned carefully to ensure concepts are taught in a sequential order to support children's understanding. Each unit of work has a clear emphasis on historical enquiry where children investigate historically framed questions whilst also developing historical enquiries of their own. We also aim to provide children will memorable experiences through museum visits, handling artefacts and engaging in carefully planned fieldwork. It is fundamental that key historical concepts sit at the core of our curriculum.
Our curriculum is refined yearly, but it maintains a consistent knowledge base to ensure conceptual progression. We have identified a set of key historical concepts or ‘golden threads’, that children will repeatedly revisit throughout their time at OLSA. Our golden threads are: settlement, migration, religion, invention, invasion, trade and societal change. Each unit will not include every 'thread', but over a year, children will visit each one more than once.
Valuing Our Local Heritage
We believe strongly that children should have a rich understanding of their local heritage, especially in Whitworth which has seen a vast amount of changes over the years. This is why local history is woven into our history curriculum to ensure it is explicitly taught and that links with larger historical themes are made. For example, in Year 2, children learn about the Whitworth Doctors to identify the historical significance and difference with today's medicine world. In Year 4, children explore the history of transport within the local area, from the local train line to the River Spodden impact. In Year 5, children explore the impact of the Industrial Revolution on society and trade, exploring the changes in a town over time. In Year 6, children visit the local war memorial and use it to answer enquiry questions related to the impact of WWI and WWII on the local area.
Local history teaching ensures that the children have opportunities to collect information about the place in which they live; reach conclusions; develop fieldwork skills; is relevant to their knowledge and provides a clear link to the community in which we live.
Throughout their time at OLSA, children will explore significant places such as Whitworth House, The Briars and Healey Dell Viaduct.
Implementation - How Will We Deliver the Curriculum?
Linking the Curriculum
We have developed our curriculum to make learning stick. At the heart of our approach is retrieval practice and recapping. Retrieval practice involves deliberately recalling knowledge from memory to make learning more robust and flexible. Each time a memory is retrieved, it is strengthened and less likely to be forgotten. If we wish our curriculum to build over time, then we need to teach in a way that makes knowledge ‘stick’. Units of work refer to learning from previous units to enable children to grapple with historical concepts such as 'continuity and change', and 'similarity and difference'. For example, when studying the Anglo-Saxons in Year 5, children make comparisons between Roman Britain (studied in Year 3) and Anglo-Saxon Britain. Our teaching of history is driven by an enquiry approach that seeks to capitalise on children's curiosity and prior learning. Units of work are structured around an overarching historical enquiry, along with the 'Golden Threads' to ensure teaching is focused and children are working towards a clearly defined outcome. The overarching enquiry is often broken down into small sub-enquiries to give children a sense of gradual progression and make learning large chunks of content more manageable.
Teaching History Through Narrative
When possible history units of work will be taught alongside thematically linked texts during English lessons. For example, when studying the WW2, Year 6 children also study the text ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajama's'. Similarly, Year 3 study the text ‘Stone Age Boy' whilst studying the Stone Age unit.
Reading Across the Curriculum
In order to develop children's reading skills, our teaching staff plan opportunities for children to independently read age-appropriate texts that link to the history topic being studied, or topics that have been previously studied. We have invested heavily in supporting our history topics with a variety of narrative and non-fiction texts that enrich the wider curriculum. Each class has a library full of themed texts that children can access independently as they move through each unit. Whole class reading lessons are also intentionally sequenced to develop children's background knowledge and widen their subject-specific vocabulary. We also believe that diversity and inclusion should run throughout the whole curriculum. We have a clear curriculum map that ensures children explore a range of diverse significant individuals throughout history such as Walter Tull, Katherine Jenkins, Trudy Aarons, Amelia Earhart, Dorothy Vaughan and, incorporating significant individuals that affected our local area such as Barrington Young.
The wonder of past worlds - the importance of Historical Fiction
For many the first encounter that we have with history is through story, personal stories of family history or places in our environments. For the story to work, the author must enable the reader to see the sights, hear the sounds, smell the scents, feel the textures of that past time and place. For the historical fiction writer this requires extensive research, in order to enable a valid representation of the past to be created.
Historical fiction is and should be about story and enjoyment. The narrative shapes the tale and in so doing allows us to enter different time periods through the exercise of imagination. There must be a compelling plot with attractive characters or there is no story and we will not want to read on.
Historical fiction can also be used as a source itself by making use of extracts.
The author’s role is to create a visual image in which to set the scene. Take a physical location set within a particular period such as the description of Athens and the hill to the Parthenon in Geoffrey Treece’s Crown of Violet. Read it to the children asking them to think about their senses: what do they see, hear, smell, touch? Now use a plan of the city (https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b6/39/4a/ b6394a8438dc13ed428b9b9ef3eb9c99.png) and get the children to describe their walk from the Agora up the hill. Supplement this with photos of Athenian and Greek countryside (travel brochures are good here) and reconstructions of buildings. Now you can begin to get a feel for Athens at a particular point in time.
Select a series of extracts to demonstrate either a particular theme or the reasons why people acted as they did. Use this to generate discussion and debate, relate to historical context or provide stimulus for further historical research using primary material.
Select a dramatic extract and use it to stimulate creative work alongside contemporary images and possibly sound.
See below for reviews of excellent historical fiction that your children will love to read again and again.