Why do we learn history?
At Ark Little Ridge, we aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity about the history of the world in which they live. All children will leave us with a wide ranging and deep knowledge of the past; of places and people and significant events through time. Our curriculum ensures that children are equipped to ask perceptive questions, think critically, analyse evidence and weigh arguments.
Subject Lead: Hannah Hathaway and Denise Lennard
Our history curriculum is carefully mapped out so that all pupils leave primary school equipped with an understanding of the past that paves the way for their future. Throughout their journey in history, pupils will acquire a breadth of knowledge of places and people and significant events through time.
Alongside this knowledge, pupils are given the opportunity to develop historical concepts: evidence, interpretation, cause and consequence, change and continuity and significance. Historical concepts provide the structure that shapes the practice of history. These will be revisited multiple times throughout the year and progress across year groups.
Finally, pupils learn to communicate historical findings in a sequenced, coherent manner both in verbal and written form.
Children’s discovery of the world around them and their awareness of the passage of time begins in the Early Years Foundation Stage, where children are provided with opportunities to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. In Key Stages 1 and 2, our pupils will learn about Global History alongside that of the British Isles; how nations have changed; how empires have risen and fallen and the legacy they have left behind. We have mapped out the significant people and places of history to ensure the sharing of knowledge from around the world.
In Key Stage 1, pupils continue to develop their awareness of the past. Our Year 1 children start with nationally significant events beyond living memory (Guy Fawkes and Remembrance Sunday), and then move to study changes over time inside the home (comparing old and modern houses in ‘Once Upon a Time’) and in transport use (examining how travelling by train has changed over time). In Year 2, our children deepen their understanding of chronology by studying changes beyond living memory through a unit on castles (‘Turrets and Tiaras’). Building on the history of homes in Year 1, we compare living standards between a 14th century castle and modern times. Furthermore, we develop our children’s ability to understand diversity in the past by identifying similarities and differences between ways of life in a 14th century castle. Finally, Year 2 further develop their chronological understanding through an in-depth study of the life of a significant person, Florence Nightingale.
In Key Stage 2, the history curriculum divides into two main strands, a study of Britain’s past and a series of studies about Civilizations from around the world. When studying British History, concepts are taught chronologically starting with ‘Settlers of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Age’ (Y3), then exploring the significance and impact of the invaders starting with the Romans (Y4), then the Anglo-Saxons (Y5) and finally the Vikings (Y5).
When studying Civilizations from around the world, our curriculum starts in Ancient Greece (Y3), then delves into Ancient Egypt (Y4) and finally examines the Early Islamic Civilization (Y5). In Y6, pupils will expand their chronological knowledge to significant events beyond 1066 through a study of World War 2 and its impact on the lives of children.
In addition, Y6 pupils will carry out a local history study linked to the Battle of Hastings, tracing how several aspects of national history are reflected in our locality.
After this chronological study of British History, pupils move to studying three isolated units, each chosen because of their significance: The Industrial Revolution, WW1 and WW2. Pupils then end Year 6 with a chronological study of how groups of people have stood up for their own rights and the rights of others to influence change – Making our Mark.
Where appropriate, we use a cross-curricular approach to immerse children in the study of the historical period. We ensure that our RIDGE VALUES (Rigor, Integrity, Determination, Generosity, Enthusiasm are permeated throughout our curriculum and discussed considering people, places and events.
The children’s understanding of the content is strengthened and extended in our reading and writing lessons.
Also, at Ark Little Ridge, we place great emphasis on the value of visits and visitors to enrich and enliven the curriculum. We want our pupils, particularly our vulnerable and disadvantaged children, to visit places of historic richness and beauty. These experiences make an invaluable contribution to raising our pupils’ cultural capital and broadening their horizons.
Alongside the rich knowledge taught in the units of study listed above, pupils will develop their skills of historical enquiry. These are the ongoing skills that are taught and retaught, and thus cannot be assigned to any single unit of study. They will be covered in all units of learning and can be found at the end of this curriculum document.