The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future - Theodore Roosevelt
At Burrington Church of England School, we are HISTORIANS!
We are passionate about the subject and want our children to love history. We believe that history makes a significant contribution to citizen education: incorporating British Values, and how Britain developed as a democratic society.
To young children, the world is an exciting and interesting place. They are inquisitive and ask questions about the world around them. Burrington School will support them in developing the skills to use appropriate evidence to answer those questions, encourage their curiosity by stimulating their interest and understanding about the lives of people who lived in the past, and help them to appreciate how events of the past have shaped our present and may influence our future.
The history curriculum at Burrington makes full use of resources within the immediate and wider local area enabling children to develop a deep understanding of the history of their locality. It is designed to inspire pupils’ curiosity about the past and what we can learn from it. Pupils will gain clear knowledge and understanding of their world and the chronology of events that have led us to where we are at today. Our curriculum ensures that pupils can recall key facts and information, whilst also developing their historical enquiry skills.
Topics are informed by the National Curriculum and, in addition, we teach specific topics (annually) as a whole school, such as Black History Month, Remembrance Day and Holocaust Day (UKS2). We also believe in incorporating and exploring topics that the children, themselves, highlight as being of interest, and we positively encourage ‘ad hoc’ history discussions based on current affairs (Bristol Anti-Slavery riots, Queen’s Jubilee, Elections, etc.)
The history curriculum at Burrington is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning, and ensures a progression of skills development for each year group.
In line with the National Curriculum 2014, Burrington aims to ensure that all pupils:
Develop an interest in the past and an appreciation of human achievements and inspirations;
Are encouraged to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement;
Develop an understanding of the concepts of time and chronology;
Understand how the past is different to the present, and that the people of other times and places may have had different values and attitudes from our own;
Understand that events often have a multiplicity of causes and that historical explanation is provisional, always retractable and sometimes controversial.
This is underpinned by a focus on stimulating their imagination in arriving at insights into historical events, understanding and conclusions, and fully utilising Burrington Church of England School’s cultural entitlement programme to organise visits, e.g., to the London Houses of Parliament. Our passion is inspire children to consider a future career in an area where history plays a key role.
Story and narrative are central to history teaching and are a natural resource in which sequence, causation and change can be explored. For younger children in particular, they can provide a vehicle for developing language, a chronological environmental understanding, and a stimulus for a range of work. There is an important and central place in history for good stories so that children can be taught to listen carefully and critically. History teaching should inspire pupils to ask, “How do we know?” and provide them with experiences of working with different source materials, documents, photographs, maps, artefacts, oral testimony, videos, secondary interpretations as well as visits.
Although history will not always be taught and learned in a chronological sequence, by the end of Year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. The will be able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Egyptians.
History is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children achieve depth in their learning. Teachers have identified the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression across topics, throughout each year group, and across the school as a whole. At Burrington, we ensure that children have complete coverage of the National Curriculum, and use a rolling 2-year curriculum to reflect mixed-age classes.
Topics are informed by the National Curriculum. However, Burrington uses a ‘Learning without Limits’ pedagogy, particularly focusing on KWL (What we know, what we want to know and what we have learnt) for each topic. This ensures children’s interests and curiosities steer the program of learning (within the National Curriculum). In addition, we teach specific history lessons (annually) as a whole school, such as Black History Month, Remembrance Day and Holocaust Day (UKS2) to ensure greater immersion in history education over an extended period. It is also recognised that History teaching may be enriched by making use of current news items that are relevant to the learning of the subject. For example: watching weekly topical Nespresso videos (KS1) and weekly BBC Newsround (news specifically for KS2 children). Children will be encouraged to understand current/topical political issues, such as elections, refugee crises, civil wars, etc. Teachers will be sensitive to children’s age in determining level of appropriateness when discussing/planning lessons.
Cross-curriculum outcomes in history are specifically planned for, with strong links between the history curriculum and literacy lessons enabling further contextual learning. Consideration is given to how greater depth will be taught, learnt and demonstrated within each lesson, as well as how learners will be supported in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.
Although history is strongly rooted in written and spoken language, information technology is a very useful tool for the historian. It can be used to store, retrieve and analyse information, and for word processing. All classes have class computers, interactive whiteboards with access to the Internet, and opportunities to use laptops and iPads.
It is always advisable to base learning on first-hand experience, and teachers are encouraged to focus attention on the opportunities available in the local area, exploring a world ‘beyond the classroom’. History lends itself to, and benefits from, a wide range of teaching and learning styles, i.e. whole class teaching, when new or complex materials are introduced, as well as paired, group or individual work.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in Foundation Stage to have an ‘Understanding of the World; People and communities, The World and technology’ by the end of the academic year.
There is no statutory teacher assessment in KS1 and KS2 for History. However, teachers will assess children’s security of acquisition. Teachers allow for assessment to be made during the course of a History lesson using discussion, question and answer techniques, and in encouraging pupils to communicate findings to others. Children will be consulted using feedback on their own understanding whilst learning is taking place. By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply, understand and have gained the skills specified in that key stage for the four areas of study (Locational and Place knowledge, Human and Physical History, History Skills and Fieldwork).
Teachers will develop further challenges to encourage firm acquisition of the curriculum, such as low-stake quizzes, whole-class presentations, end of topic homework, etc. Teacher’s professional judgements and the citing of examples of children’s work and performance in class will provide a basis for deciding if a child is emerging or has mastered an area of the curriculum. Outcomes in topic and literacy books are also considered as evidence in KS1/KS2, while photos are used for EYFS and Nursery.
At the end of each topic, children review their KWL document and complete the ‘what we have learnt’ section. They also find the answers to any incomplete questions that have not been covered. KS2 children review their topic-specific 'knowledge organisers' throughout the term as a working resource and at the end of term, they are quizzed using this resource as a form of assessing 'what they know'. In addition, Year 5/6 children write an essay of what they have learnt. These essays are collated into booklets and given to each child when they leave the school.
Child-led, end of term ‘museum’ days are presented, to which the whole school, parents and the wider community, e.g. St Monica’s residential home, are invited. These are an opportunity for children to be able to demonstrate their learning in a variety of forms, such as drama, writing, games, displays of artefacts, booklets, art and DT work, etc.
At Burrington, we plan termly topic WOW days to inspire children and engage them with the subject. Not only do WOW days enable children to develop their History skills and knowledge, but also allow them to have fun whilst learning in a different way! These may take the form of workshops, trips to museums, acting workshops, dress up days, etc.
Burrington also encourage visits by individuals and organisations that can provide enrichment to support core curriculum topics and inspire the children’s imagination, such as authors, Farmlink, and members of the public, e.g. Mr Hanson who did Shackleton’s tour of St. George and presented his photos.
We also plan numerous trips to explore our local area, such as: Mendip Hills (Roman fort and WW2 Folly), Bristol (SS Great Britain and Egyptian workshop), Bath (Roman settlement), Weston-super-Mare (Victorian and Anglo-Saxon workshop). All UKS2 children visit London (Houses of Parliament and other museums).
History Write ups