As our pupils move through the school, we would like them to be thinking as young historians, approaching the past through enquiry. We hope that our children are open-minded, enthusiastic and curious about the past and the different ways it can be interpreted.
By the end of year 6, our pupils should be able to use their accumulated knowledge to draw comparisons between time periods, significant events and figures. They should also be aware of chronology, continuity, change and causation on a large scale and be beginning to think about these things for key events. We would like pupils to use their skills of evaluation to make judgements and ask questions about different historical sources. Alongside this, they should be able to use historical evidence and relevant vocabulary to justify and debate their ideas.
Our History curriculum is designed to encourage historic enquiry and curiosity. Alongside the National Curriculum, Oaklands Junior School uses a combination of teacher plans and the Connected History scheme to ensure progression of key skills and understanding.
The teaching of History is blocked, with each year group covering at least 2 topics per academic year. By the time children leave in Year 6, they have explored British History from the Stone Age to the Vikings as well as events from WWII and local history. Children will also study world history through the ancient civilisations of Egypt, China and the Mayans. Throughout all topics, children are encouraged to make connections and draw comparisons.
The teaching of History is underpinned by four key strands of learning:
Knowledge and Understanding
Children’s knowledge and understanding is supported on a lesson-to-lesson basis through frequent discussion of key terms, dates and events. We build upon the language used in KS1 to use a range of historic terms to help deepen children’s understanding.
A good understanding of chronology is fostered through constant reference to timelines, both visually and using dates. Children will refer to previous topics of study to contextualise their current learning and enable them to make links between them. To help put time periods into a larger context, each child has a timeline stuck into their books. This timeline highlights some key areas of study alongside some other areas of world, British and recent history. Children are encouraged to ask and answer questions about change and continuity, using their accumulated knowledge to make links and draw conclusions.
Children will be exposed to different sources of information. Many sources have been collated from the Connected History scheme and include text and images. Interpretation of sources is encouraged through analysis, debate and asking questions. Speaking and listening skills are honed through the encouragement of group discussions around history.
Children are supported to ask and answer historically valid questions. Throughout the school, they are taught how to use sources of information to begin drawing conclusions and opinions.
Within History lessons, children can show their understanding in a range of ways. Important speaking and listening skills are honed through the encouragement of group discussions around history. Written work is valid, using factual writing and creativity to deepen understanding.
Throughout our History topics, there are many opportunities to make cross curricular links through subjects such as Art, Geography and Computing. This enables children to become more immersed in the topic and apply their knowledge and understanding in different ways.
During the year, there are opportunities for children to go on trips to contextualise their learning further. Special and events are also included within the academic year which allow the children to further immerse themselves in their topics. Furthermore, assemblies and one-off series of lessons are included within the school calendar for significant events or anniversaries.
Oaklands’ Thinking School ethos is evident through History teaching. During lessons, thinking maps are used for different purposes. Among other things, they can be used to collect information, demonstrate understanding, sequence events and construct plans. Lessons and activities are planned with thinking in mind, looking to support and develop higher level thinking from Year 3 to Year 6.
Additional History Experiences at Oaklands
- Butser Farm (Y3)
- Ufton Court (Y4)
- Wellington College (Y5)
- Special Days based on History topics for Egyptians (Y3), Romans (Y4) and the Shang Dynasty (Y6)
- History of Space Travel session to link with Science (Y5)
At the end of Year 6, Oaklands Junior school children:
- Have gained a wealth of historical knowledge of time periods, key events and figures.
- Appreciate the significance of chronology and can understand where different time periods or events fit within a timeline.
- Can summarise key events using accurate vocabulary, facts and detail.
- Are thinking more critically about sources and using them to form judgements.
- Are able to have discussions based on their own knowledge, interpretation and judgements.
- Have been exposed to a variety of topics and intriguing areas of enquiry to support an enduring interest in the past.
For History, teachers use formative assessment to track pupil progress during each topic. Understanding and evaluation can be seen through contributions to class, depth and detail of written work and how children use their accumulated knowledge to make connections
Children at Oaklands with Special Educational Needs are supported through differentiated tasks and adult support where needed.
Through pupil voice surveys, a real curiosity and thirst for knowledge in History is clear. Pupils report that they enjoy learning new information, supported by role play and exploring sources. Children would enjoy more opportunities to look at physical artefacts and images during History lessons.
Children are able to articulate the importance of History and the skills surrounding being a good historian, including being a “good talker” and being able to have quality discussions with their teachers and peers. One child commented that learning about History is important to understand what may happen in the future.
Children are enthusiastic about their experiences outside of the classroom through trips to Butser Farm and Ufton Court.
“I don’t think History could be more fun.” – current Year 5 child.
A previous target in History was to improve the children’s sense of chronology. Alongside the timelines in every book, teachers continue to make explicit references to chronology as well as inviting children to make their own links between time periods they have previously studied. This continues to be a key area of focus in History. To support this, the subject leader has created some templates for retrieval practice to be used throughout different topics. These activities are short, thinking exercises to draw upon knowledge and understanding while encouraging children to articulate their own opinions based on evidence and ideas surrounding chronology.