History is the story of humanity. It is intriguing, sometimes unsettling but always compelling. When children study the fascinating detail of the past, they begin to see its legacies in the present and gain a richer understanding of the wealth of human experience beyond their own.
Topics and Big Questions
Our history topics are framed as an ‘enquiry’, driven by a ‘big question’ that steers learning through a clear sequence of lessons. As one lesson feeds into the next, knowledge and understanding grow. By the end of the topic children can use the knowledge they’ve gained to address the ‘big question’ in a meaningful way.
How dark were the dark ages?
Can we call the the Maya an advanced civilisation if they practised human sacrifice?
From the prehistoric to the 20th century, children study the dates, narratives, beliefs and diverse lives that characterise different periods of history. We aim to develop a broadly based understanding of the past where children can empathize and make sense of a variety of perspectives.
There are two core lines of enquiry in our history curriculum:
- What is the nature of civilisation?
- What is the story of our islands?
These two overarching questions provide a defined end-point to which all topics contribute. In order to ensure that knowledge builds cumulatively, children study a unit of British history and an ancient civilization each year.
British units are chronological; world civilisations have a chronological thread, with the exception of the Roman Empire which is positioned within the narrative of British history.
Vocabulary concepts underpin our history progression.
Ideas like invasion, settlement, heritage, conflict and culture help to better understand and describe the particular historical era.
In fact these big ideas turn up in many other subjects besides history; they provide the means to see the world in different and more complex ways.
That’s why we plan for them to be specifically taught and recur across our curriculum.
History also has a set of disciplinary concepts which act as a framework for study. This allows our learners to understand the role of evidence and grapple with historical claims.
Continuity and change
Perspective and interpretation
Cause and effect
Similarity and difference
Museums and Visits
Strand’s proximity to museums and sites of interest is a golden opportunity for first-hand experience. Across the key stage, visits are planned to best supplement learning. Children go to The Museum of London in Year 3 and The British Museum in Year 6. We also draw heavily on the immediate area including a neighbourhood walk, nearby museums and ‘mysteries’ of local history including the claim that Julius Caesar crossed the Thames at Brentford.
History Progression Model