History at Mab Lane
History Curriculum Rationale 21/22
At Mab Lane we are historians! We want our children to love history. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be archivists, museum curators, archaeologists or research analysts. We want them to embody our core values and believe that we are: “Only The Best”. The history curriculum at Mab Lane has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their historical capital. We want our children to remember their history lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the historical opportunities they are presented with! Recently, Year 5 travelled 5000 years back in time to a period when the Ancient Egyptian civilisation began and visited the World Museum in Liverpool City Centre and found out some fascinating things about the Egyptians. The children were given the opportunity to experience the mummification ritual, as well as carefully handling genuine Ancient Egyptian artefacts. The children had a fantastic day with one child commenting: “I had so much fun, especially when we got to take the mummy’s brains out of its nose!” Bringing history alive is important at Mab Lane Primary School.
The history curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the history National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. For example, in the spring term some of our Year 6 children visited Western Approaches; a World War Two bunker in central Liverpool, as part of their History topic. The children were privileged to see a genuine site of significant importance during the war. One of our children said: “I loved visiting the bunker, it was great to visit the street that has been recreated to show what life was like during the war. We even got to see a real life bomb!”
We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong PSHE curriculum, with British Values and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the history curriculum. For example, in the autumn term the whole-school celebrated ‘Respect’ as a theme and as part of this, our pupils remembered and honoured those who sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. The children explored why remembrance is part of modern British life, culture and heritage. They impeccably observed a two-minute silence, explored how the poppy is a symbol of remembrance and were inspired by John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. Each class created some beautiful poppies using a variety of materials to create a wonderful display in school. We are extremely proud of our pupils, who ensure that no-one is forgotten and unite to honour all who suffered or died in war.
We enrich pupil's time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, recently Year 3 studied ‘The Victorians’ as part of their local history study and where better to start than at Croxteth Hall, right on our doorstep! The children experienced the different jobs that Victorians had, with some ‘working’ inside the house, and others outdoors. They thoroughly enjoyed visiting Croxteth Hall. One pupil commented: “I can’t believe how different life was for the Victorians. It was really hard work!” We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.
A complete audit of the history curriculum has been conducted. On the back of the findings from this audit, the history curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills.
History subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in history and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:
An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.
The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgments.
A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our subject leaders. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. For example, in Year 4 when the children explore ‘Ancient Maya’, they also tackle; democracy in their PSHE lessons, explore Mayan hieroglyphs in art and design, enjoy Mexican and central American themed cookery in design technology and use the text ‘The Hero Twins’ in English. To further ensure our children are taught the right, connected knowledge, year 3 have been following a scheme called Opening Worlds. Within this scheme, children are taught history once a week, every term alongside geography. The topics have been designed to embed key concepts and vocabulary within children's learning and understanding. For example, in history pupils learnt about the Indus civilisation, which they made links to from an earlier topic in geograghy about the River Indus. Therefore, pupils where already equipped with vocabulary and a prior understanding and knowledge of why ancient Sumerians built civilisations near the River Indus.
Our short-term plans are produced on a weekly and daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.
We encourage staff to teach a weekly history lesson. This was a notable change after the history audit. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to history and that historical subject matter can be revisited frequently. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every history lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in history are progressive and build year on year.
Our staff use history formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each topic.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in history. The last history monitoring took place in Spring 2022. Monitoring in history includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.