The history curriculum at Gifford delivers the aims of the National Curriculum for History. Subject matter taught is that specified by the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. The history curriculum at Gifford also supports delivery of the school’s aims, outlined in its ‘Intent’, which are to:
How the National Curriculum for History and the school’s aims have informed selection of content is outlined in the document titled Curriculum Rationale. The school’s Knowledge, Skills & Understanding Progression Grids for each subject set out the learning pupils will gain as they progress from year to year. The school delivers an engaging and ambitious history curriculum that challenges pupils to think deeply about people and events of the past. Pupils are encouraged to look for patterns and to make connections between people’s experiences across time, as well as identifying significant change in different areas (such as technology). Some events and individuals from the past have been chosen because of their place in the history of the countries of origin of members of the school community.
The history curriculum at Gifford strongly supports the development of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development and an understanding of British Values. Separate documents outline how SMSC and British Values are embedded within the history curriculum. Bringing history to life through the use of quality resources, through visitors, experiences and visits to museums and other places of historical interest, is an important aspect of history learning at the school and boosts the cultural capital offered to children.
History units are taught over three half-terms in each year group. Overarching themes for the units of each half-term (such as ‘Movers and Shakers’ in Autumn 1) give unity and continuity, and support progression from each year to the next.
Links are made between subjects where meaningful and where this helps deepen understanding of the history. The focus of learning in history is on key knowledge (of people and events, for example); understanding (e.g. of why events happened) and on the skills which are needed in order to find out about the past. Key concepts, such as migration, empire and technology, are introduced and revisited over time in different contexts, enabling pupils to build their vocabulary and understanding. Teachers assess pupils’ learning using the school’s assessment framework through questioning in class, book scrutiny and pupil conferencing.
Middle and senior leaders monitor the quality of teaching and learning and outcomes through planning meetings with teachers, lesson observation, book scrutiny and pupil conferencing, often involving external participants (senior leaders from others schools and independent consultants).
Pupils at Gifford talk with enthusiasm about their learning in history. They are engaged by units covering local, British and world history and take pride in being able to draw on their own, or family knowledge, in relation to units such as The Empire Windrush and Early Islamic Civilisation. Children show empathy for people from the past.
Pupils gain a wide vocabulary which they use to describe past lives and narrate events and to comment on issues raised, such as discrimination and governance. They are able to describe some of the characteristics that define different periods in time and to identify changes in specific areas, such as technology. They are also able to make comparisons within and across periods in time and to comment on the significance of events.
Pupils are able to sequence events within a period in history and, as they move through the school, to sequence historical periods and identify when these happened.
Through using a range of quality resources and experiences within and outside school, pupils develop the skills needed to find out about the past, including observation, questioning, comparing and researching. Pupils are able to explain how we know about the past and why there are limitations on what can be known.
In the Foundation Stage History is covered in Understanding the World. Through activities children learn about the past and present in their immediate lives as well as through stories. They begin with an investigation into their own history, talking about their families and personal experiences. Children are provided with opportunities to explore and make links between objects, places and people from the past and present.