Our Curriculum - Intent
We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious History curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils and inspire and develop in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the past of Britain and the wider world.
Our teaching of sequenced historical knowledge builds on pupils’ prior understanding and equips them with an awareness of how the history of Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. Pupils will be taught to know and understand significant aspects of history, such as:
- ancient civilisations and empires
- changes in and beyond living memory
- the lives of significant people of the past
We recognise the importance of children being given opportunities for real-life experiences in the subject to develop their cultural capital, such as by linking learning to local places and further afield. Children compare and contrast their lives with those of others in different times to develop empathy, which helps them to become more reflective citizens. Children visit historical sites and use artefacts to apply their learning to real life, developing enquiry skills and a curiosity to find out more about the past.
The breadth and depth of the curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all abilities: it is sequenced to ensure the progressive development of historical concepts, knowledge and skills and to foster curiosity and a passion for reading through the study of life in the past.
Children will learn methods of historical enquiry and how to ask questions to find out specific information. They will be taught to use historical vocabulary accurately and gain knowledge and skills not just in the lessons, but also through fieldwork, educational visits and reading.
We promote positive mindset and resilience so that our children attain their best, are challenged to achieve their best and leave The Russell School ready for their secondary education and beyond. It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, proofreading and redrafting. Having the confidence to take risks is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the History curriculum.
Our Curriculum - Implementation
The History curriculum is structured to be progressive in knowledge and skills across all phases and is closely aligned to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. Knowledge and skills are sequenced to build on prior learning and the subject is taught through a half-termly topic focus. Historical knowledge and skills are taught creatively and children work towards clearly defined end points, creating opportunities to make connections within and across their learning. Pupils are taught to understand the key concepts that link their learning within History to other subjects by clearly-defined learning intentions for each lesson, and use of ‘mind maps’ at the start of each new topic. Children have frequent opportunities to write at length, read texts linked to their learning in History and we promote a strong emphasis on talk throughout the curriculum.
Real-life experiences enhance learning in History to develop cultural capital. We value the importance of real-life experiences within the children’s locality. The curriculum includes a visit to Windsor Castle in KS1 and the local Chiltern Open Air Museum in KS2. Our curriculum provides a rich context for pupils to express their opinions on real issues; frequent opportunities for discussion allows pupils to reflect and deepen their understanding.
Regular opportunities for retrieval practice enables children to deliberately rehearse newly-acquired skills and knowledge, transfer these across different contexts and identify gaps in their learning, ultimately strengthening long-term memory. Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts. They are encouraged to recognise mistakes as a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.
Our Curriculum - Impact
The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time, as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world.
Children’s achievements in History are assessed in a variety of ways. Marking and feedback provides ongoing assessment information which is used to shape future teaching. Children are assessed formally at the end of each term and phase to determine their understanding of: the key knowledge and skills covered; their use of historical vocabulary; enquiry skills and ability to communicate historical information in a variety of ways.
We continually evaluate the impact of our History curriculum by assessing evidence that defines a high-quality education, through:
- Judgements which are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school, such as work scrutiny, Pupil Voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning.
- The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children.
- Ongoing feedback and assessment which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning, to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.
- A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil interviews, use of assessment grids and data tracking systems, to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education.
- Evidence from monitoring which shows that children are active in their learning, are able to construct their own knowledge and are able to think flexibly and creatively.
- High levels of engagement in home learning.
By the time our children leave The Russell School, we intend to:
- Develop inquisitive children, who are keen to ask questions about the past and persevere to able to find the answers. Our children will be able to discuss historic events in relation to their own history and be able to communicate their historical knowledge effectively and creatively.
- Encourage children to have an appreciation and empathy of events before their living memory and how the history and culture of the world has shaped the one we live in today. Our children will be knowledgeable about significant people, both from the past and those from their more immediate history, that have impacted on how we live now.
- Encourage a sense of community by enquiring about the history of our local area and understanding that the role we play within our community could become the history of where we live.
Progression in History