‘A people without knowledge of their past origin and culture is like a tree without roots’. Marcus Garvey (Myatt)
Here at Fairburn, we want all of our children to understand their own history- their personal stories; the story of their local area and the story of the past leading up to the time they currently live in.
However, we recognise the challenges apparent when teaching history- namely that we weren’t there and the evidence we might have is wholly dependant on the context and perspective of the evidence source. Therefore ‘certain key ideas are paramount to help children see history as being full of rich, varied and exciting narratives alongside a knowledge base and skillset which enables them to understand, interpret and question those narratives they encounter’. (Tiffany 2023)
Essentially, we want our pupils here at Fairburn to develop a curiosity about the past recognising its relevance so that it becomes much more than just dates and facts.
Our History consultant is Stuart Tiffany. Stuart works alongside us to support staff training and enhance staff knowledge and understanding so that all children can see the world as Historians.
As well as working as an independent consultant and teacher in school, Stuart works for the Historical Association and received an Honorary fellowship in 2023.
What does our History curriculum look like?
As for other foundation subjects, our history curriculum covers the National Curriculum entitlement 2014 however it has been tailored to reflect the community around our children. The image below which was used in the introduction to exemplify our curriculum design is relevant once again to History teaching because it shows how we begin introducing the concept of history in EYFS looking at living memory as a starting point. This gradually peels outwards through KS1 looking at our locality before moving further afield to consider world history in KS2.
History is taught termly in topics. However staff take opportunities to reference history in other topics when the occasion arises so that learning is continually linked and reinforced.
Staff teach substantive (the what) and disciplinary (how we learn interpret and acknowledge limitations of a viewpoint) knowledge which is most prevalent by the time children are in upper KS2. By this stage, we want children to really understand that being a Historian is knowing facts but also recognising the different lenses that the past can be viewed through and that these will continue to change.
What does teaching and learning look like?
Please see the long term plan listed below.
Each classroom has a timeline relevant to the periods of history that they will learn about and is age appropriate. Learning is documented through working walls which evolve as the topic unfolds.
In EYFS, History falls under the ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ area of the Early Learning Goals. A key theme is ‘Change’ drawing children’s attention to the fact that events may have happened in the past or that things have changed such as a toy or household object. Through our planning in the moment approach, staff take opportunities to weave in opportunities to reinforce this concept. The curriculum in Y1, which EYFS also partake in, starts with the familiarity of school and homes and changes there before looking at a local Castle and how travel has changed over time.
The units have been chosen because they are local; they link to other parts of our curriculum so cohesion is achieved or because they build a chronological understanding.
Lessons follow a three part phase:
Context- Chronology, vocabulary, context and the Enquiry Question.
Enquiry lessons- teach knowledge, key concepts and link to previous learning.
Outcome- Answer the enquiry question.
Each unit of work has an enquiry question. As suggested by the Historical Association, this is
‘shorthand for a sequence of lessons integrated by a direct focus on a single ‘enquiry question’ and within which pupils build knowledge systematically and cumulatively in order to be able to answer that question by the end of it.’ (2018)
Staff take all opportunities to celebrate aspects of History within other areas of the curriculum. This might be links to the Geography curriculum or looking at artists, musicians, engineers and scientists from the past in other topics. Class timelines are used across the curriculum to constantly reinforce chronology or sense of time and the context something was happening.
Children often choose to study as aspect of history through their personal projects each term.
Special celebration days- Remembrance, Guy Fawkes, Royal events to name but a few.