We want to make History come alive at Whitehall by stimulating the children’s understanding about the life of people who lived in the past through exciting creative lessons, visits to places with an interesting history, using our Grade 2 listed school building and drawing on other places that children are familiar with and exploring their past. To support an understanding of change and the passing of time we start by learning the chronology of their life so far and how they have changed. This skill can then be used to begin to understand the passing of time outside of their lifetime. We want History to be relevant to them, so we build on what they already know and then help them to broaden their knowledge, so that they can use the information about the past and learn how to use the lessons learnt from others to help influence our decisions for the future. History at Whitehall contributes towards the teaching of PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) by learning about how Britain has influenced our lives today and how to use independent learning skills to learn about history. The children are encouraged to develop their research, enquiry, analysis, interpretation and problem-solving skills throughout the learning in this fantastic subject.
History is a subject which is based on retention of knowledge and skills. Our long term plan for history builds on knowledge and skills from Nursery up to year 2 and develops curiosity and an understanding of being able to ask questions to find out more. We want our pupils to be curious about the past and to find enjoyment in finding out new information. We begin to develop an understanding of Cause & consequence, change & continuity, similarity & difference, handling evidence and historical significance. The curriculum aims to build up historical vocabulary over time and there are clear expectations as to what children should know and understand by the end of each term or academic year. We have tried to plan our coverage to reflect what is best and necessary for our pupils. Resources for history are mostly tangible objects rather than abstract, which make them more accessible for all of our pupils, including those with SEND. Bespoke resources and technology can be utilised to support where necessary in the form of videos and power point presentations.
Implementation In EYFS, history is taught within the area of KUW, mainly the ‘People and Communities’ section. Teachers use the EYFS document to plan provision, then cornerstone topics are utilised if they are appropriate. All of the topics cover People and Communities and children will start to observe similarities and differences, change over time and significant events in their own past. In Key Stage 1, History is delivered as part of our creative curriculum. At the beginning of year one, this is taught using small groups, while other children access continuous provision – similar to the set up in EYFS. We then gradually introduce more formality to lessons over the year. In year two, children are taught more formally as a whole class. Both year groups also utilise the cornerstones topics if they are appropriate for the content and ability of the children. Year 1 discover The Great Fire of London, Queen Elizabeth 1 and castles. Year 2 discover Space exploration, Dinosaurs and Grace Darling. Across the school we discover the history behind bonfire night and why we remember that night. Additionally, we celebrate history week in March each year, which is based on our Victorian school building. We discover who Queen Victoria was, what she was, why she is so important and what it may have been like for children in our school during Victorian times. In October each year, we celebrate Black History with a day learning about significant black people throughout history. We try to change and develop these days each year but the main people we celebrate are Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther-King and Mary Seacole.
Impact Our implementation of the history curriculum develops an understanding of chronology and shows children that our lives today are different from people in the past, and each new piece of discovery, learning and development has tried to make our lives better. Our children are able to observe change over time and are able to see similarities and differences in the lives of people and animals from the past. They are able to talk about people of historical significance and be able to say what they did that was important.