History has always been a subject which we are passionate about at St John XXIII. Through history, we want children be enthusiastic, lifelong learners. Our intention for the teaching of history is to give pupils the opportunity to develop an understanding of why the world and its people are the way they are today; to be independent, resilient learners who enjoy challenges. They begin to ask questions as they explore the diversity of human experience, past lives and societies. We intend that by the end of their primary education, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from Prehistory to present day and are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this is the need to look at world history. At St John XXIII the children will explore the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Baghdad with dedicated Experience days, visitors and workshops interwoven in the curriculum topics, developing their understanding of trends over time and across concurrent civilisations. Pupils will look at the impact on the local area and are taught to understand how to keep themselves safe and be respectful in their communities.
At St John XXIII history is taught through investigation and enquiry. Children develop an understanding of how history has had an impact on our lives today both locally, nationally and internationally. Whilst it is important for children to have facts, we wish to encourage independent and critical thinking which will foster an understanding of ‘why’ as well as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’. Vocabulary is key in all classes across all topics. We want pupils to be good communicators – language will be modelled daily to encourage speaking and listening. Lessons are planned so that there is time for discussion and debate, fostering an environment of enquiry which enables children to revise and justify their opinions as well as encouraging children to ask as well as answer questions about history.
We believe that history should be an interactive subject which strives to ignite a child’s natural curiosity. History lessons will develop pupils God given talents by being creative and allowing their curiosity to flourish.
Each unit being planned includes opportunities for children to investigate, handle artefacts, pictorial evidence, watch historical footage, take part in role play activities, visit relevant sites and museums and where appropriate, experience oral history, engaging with historical characters and ways of life.
Our curriculum provides a rich variety of topics that cover The Stone Age to the first moon landing. All history topics start with an overarching 'Big Question' that the children contribute to answering throughout the unit to see how different events and actions can accumulate to build a deeper understanding of a historical period. They explore this question using a variety of investigative skills, engaging and becoming more familiar with historical skills such as analysing and debating the reliability of sources, making comparisons between historical periods, devising historically valid questions, drawing conclusions from sources and making links between events.
Underpinning this is an emphasis on children understanding the world around them, their country and their values.
Children learn to make links and form a life-long love of investigating, enquiry and questioning. This has a huge impact on other curricular areas due to the links the children make. Vocabulary is continually being expanded and embedded, giving children more confidence to tackle new ideas and dig deeper.
Cross-curricular links with history.
Geography is an integral part of history as land use and location are central to why certain historical events happened. Many of the tasks our children tackle in history lessons draw upon this understanding.
Each unit will look at an aspect of art from that era such as Roman pots and Maya tablets. This allows children to reflect on how art to help us build a picture about the past.
Through science each class looks at significant scientists and inventors, this is all linked to the children’s chronological understanding of the past, for example year 6 look at the Victorian inventor Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light bulb when looking at the electricity unit.
History Trips, Visitors and Workshops
At St John XXIII we believe that fieldwork trips are highly valuable for cementing historical understanding and bringing history to life. We are fortunate to live in an area rich in local history, and we look at the impact on the local area.
Experience days are an important part of the history curriculum at St John XXIII. Like partaking in fieldwork, experience days give pupils the opportunity to immerse themselves in the past.
Across the whole school, there are four key historical learning intentions that the children will explore over the course of their education at St John XIII:
· To investigate and interpret the past.
· To build an overview of world history.
· To understand chronology.
· To communicate historically.
As they develop these skills in a range of contexts, so too will they develop the ability to be independent learners, using the key historical skills they have gained to analyse, question and compare sources of evidence to form their own judgements about the past. Children learn to make links and form a life-long love of investigating, enquiry and questioning.