“Our rationale for how we teach history at The Bewbush Academy is to enable our pupils to understand how events in the past have contributed to shaping the world in which they live today and how gaining such awareness can contribute to building a more informed and sustainable society in the future.”
In History, we follow the Collins’ Primary Connected History Curriculum. Upon careful evaluation of the scheme, we felt its key principles aligned with many aspects of our curriculum driver: Well-being of Body and Mind, particularly the aspects of developing a Sense of Place; Connecting with Others and Learning (developing a thirst for knowledge through an enquiry based curriculum).
Connected History has been very carefully designed and resourced to provide teachers with a coherent, progressive and rigorous learning programme for Years 1–6 which will engage and motivate pupils and encourage them to see the world through the eyes of young historians.
Our aim at The Bewbush Academy is to provide and embed an engaging curriculum that inspires our pupils to continue their enthusiasm for historical enquiry. Therefore, developing an interest in studying history at GCSE and beyond. We appreciate that many of our pupils will live to see the next century and we are confident that the content and approach to learning, adopted in the Connected History programme, recognises this. Each enquiry is aligned to the National Curriculum for History.
Outcomes focused curriculum
Learning objectives are outcome focused and progressively more challenging for Years 1–6 and reflect what it means for a pupil to get better at history. We recognise that whilst it is important for pupils to increase and extend their knowledge of the subject, it is also vital they have space and time to develop the concepts and skills of young historians.
Above is an illustration showing the progression of historical enquiry skills.
These are reflected in our History Progression Document.
Core knowledge is made explicit in each enquiry with adequate time and opportunity for pupils to master these key subject skills and outcomes by ‘doing less better’. This ensures progression in both the complexities of content and in terms of pupils applying their knowledge to achieve higher order outcomes as they move through the programme. The 18 Connected History enquiries have been written to ensure that pupils are progressively challenged to achieve more demanding outcomes as they become more mature learners – progression which reflects increasing mastery of the subject. We recognise that increasing mastery of a subject occurs as a result of a pupil combining the application of key subject skills, processes and subject vocabulary with the development of knowledge and understanding. These are interdependent components of a pupil developing the attributes of a young historian.
The importance of subject vocabulary
Choosing subject content carefully and effectively ‘doing less better’ provides space to ensure that appropriate and specialised history vocabulary is introduced and consolidated with our pupils. At the beginning of each unit, our teachers identify ‘Star Words’ to supplement the Core Knowledge previously identified. This is of course not an exhaustive list and teachers may want to add to it as the enquiry process unfolds whilst maintaining a consideration for cognitive load. An important aspect of both continuity and progression is to ensure that time is devoted to thinking about what ‘Star Words’ the pupils have already mastered and how this can be built upon and extended during their time at The Bewbush Academy.
Clear purpose and context to every enquiry
Our rationale for how we teach history at The Bewbush Academy is to enable our pupils to understand how events in the past have contributed to shaping the world in which they live today and how gaining such awareness can contribute to building a more informed and sustainable society in the future. Throughout our curriculum, considerable thought has been given to concentrating on the most relevant and purposeful aspects of the history subject content of the National Curriculum so as to provide pupils with a subject knowledge base fit for purpose in the 21st century. At the heart of our history curriculum is the desire to support all pupils to work historically through enquiry and this investigative approach, which is the fundamental principle underlying the design of every enquiry, is shown visually to the right:
Key question-led and enquiry-based learning
Our History curriculum does not attempt to teach topics in their entirety as this often leads to an overemphasis on content and ‘knowing’, rather than on enabling pupils to achieve higher order outcomes by building concepts and applying knowledge, skills and processes from one historical context to another. At Bewbush we identify Core Knowledge for each unit of study. This enables children to embed key principles that will stay with them throughout their Primary and Secondary education. We ask big questions about historical topics, significant people and events – questions that are particularly relevant if you are going to live to see the next century.
At Key Stage 1 many of these questions are understandably more tightly defined or closed ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Where’ and ‘When’ questions, but at Key Stage 2 a more open-ended approach exists with an emphasis on ‘Why’ and ‘How’ questions. Each enquiry has a key question underpinned by several ancillary or sub-questions for the pupils to complete in turn as they progress through the investigation.
Before starting any history enquiry, our teachers begin their units by assessing pupil ‘start points’. They do this through the use of a ‘Learning Map’. In their first lesson, pupils are introduced to the topic of their enquiry and asked two questions: What do you think? and What do you wonder?
Children complete the boxes connected to these questions. As the unit progresses, lesson by lesson, children are encouraged to consider if they can confirm what they thought or wondered; or whether they actually had misconceptions relating to the topic. There is also an opportunity for children to record new learning. Teachers may decide to present this as a whole class Learning Map but, at the very least, all children will have their own individual map showing their journey.
Right, is an example of a learning map proforma.
To end each unit, children take part in a low stakes quiz. Teachers will compile questions (mostly multiple choice) inspired by the core knowledge identified in the planning process, before the unit has been taught.
Throughout the unit, and after the low stakes assessment is completed, teachers track progress on our Core Knowledge Trackers.