Subject Leader: Mrs Deavin
The National Curriculum (2014) sees history as essential for helping pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. A high-quality history education therefore should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past, and equip them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. It should also help pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change and the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups.
History at Caedmon
History at Caedmon helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of the past of Britain and the wider world. Pupils will leave school with a sound understanding of their own personal history, the history of their local area and how these link with British and international history.
Through a range of different approaches and with appropriate scaffolding, history at Caedmon will encourage pupils’ curiosity and interest in the history of their own environment and beyond. Pupils will develop a sense of their own identity and will be able to understand the complexity, diversity and the relationships within and between different societies. Pupils are exposed to a range of historical sources – including authentic artefacts and documents – and lessons are supplemented by trips to museums and historical sites and visitors to the school.
By developing skills in interpreting and evaluating historical sources, pupils will leave school with the tools to think like historians: to ask and independently look for answers to perceptive questions and to critically examine evidence and competing arguments. Through an understanding of chronology, and historical concepts like cause and effect and continuity and change, pupils will also begin to develop an increased understanding of the present in the context of the past.
History at Caedmon also aims to make history engaging, and pupils here find the subject ‘fun’ and ‘enjoy learning about the past.’ Pupils particularly like the variety of ways history is taught and they also enjoy going on trips, which include Jarrow Hall and the Great North Museum and immersive workshops delivered by That History Bloke.
The history curriculum at Caedmon is guided by the statutory requirements laid out in the National Curriculum. It is taught during alternate half-term blocks and ensures incremental progression in both historical knowledge and historical skills (thinking historically). A knowledge-rich curriculum is fundamental to teaching history effectively – pupils cannot apply historical skills without a sound understanding of the key features of the periods they are studying. This content is driven by a number of historical strands that are woven into the curriculum: civilisation and technology, monarchy, war and conquest and legacy. By relating these strands to previous units, pupils can make links and comparisons between and within time periods. Importantly, the curriculum has been designed to be relevant to the context of our pupils, with local history units focussing on Gateshead and, where possible, other units containing a local focus. Because of the percentage of Muslim families within our school community, we have chosen Baghdad, c.900 AD. The building of historical knowledge is supported through the use of knowledge organisers, the explicit teaching and recap of subject-specific vocabulary, display boards and classroom timelines, and high quality enrichment activities such as artefact boxes, visits to sites such as Jarrow Hall, Beamish and the Great North Museum and in-school workshops from That History Bloke. The progression of historical skills, i.e. thinking historically, is also a feature of the history curriculum at Caedmon. These skills are: chronological awareness, using historical vocabulary, interpreting sources, enquiry skills and communicating historically. Alongside developing these skills, history units also focus on one or more of a range of important historical concepts: continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity and difference and significance. Revisiting these skills and concepts will enable pupils to develop a sound understanding of, and ability to apply these skills to any period of history they study.
The history curriculum at Caedmon Primary impacts pupils in three ways. Firstly, as pupil voice has highlighted, pupils at Caedmon love studying history. History lessons are fun, engaging and informative, and pupils particularly enjoy the mixture of group work, discussion and drama, and cross-curricular links, such as with English and art. Pupils love handling artefacts from the Discovery Museum’s Boxes of Delight, the educational visits and the fantastic workshops of That History Bloke – all of which bring the subject to life. This helps to create curious and confident pupils who love learning. Secondly, the rich content of each unit provides pupils with a deep understanding of their local area, Britain and the wider world in the past, evidenced through formative assessment, end of unit tests and the quality of pupils’ work. This knowledge – alongside their understanding of geography – helps pupils to develop a sense of who and where they are in the world, and how the world as they understand it has been shaped. Finally, pupils leave Caedmon with an understanding of key historical concepts and skills to think like historians. These skills not only provide a solid base for studying history at secondary school, but can also be transferred into other subjects, and everyday life.