At Ely St Mary’s, we encourage our children to develop as historians, practising a range of skills to develop their critical thinking. Our skills work focuses on enabling children to become historians through a process of enquiring about the past, using evidence to draw comparisons and inferences, and understanding through timelines the context of events. We also use trips and experience days to bring history to life, helping the children to broaden their knowledge of how people in Britain and across the world lived.
We endeavour to foster an appreciation of the significance of the different periods we cover from the National Curriculum, teaching each period chronologically through the school, giving pupils the opportunity to understand the legacy left behind by each of the significant historical periods.
APPROACH AND RATIONALE:
The approach to History at Ely St Mary’s falls under three main themes:
1. Understanding the legacy of past cultures to Britain and the world today.
2. Gaining a broader knowledge and awareness of historical facts and information.
3. Acquiring and developing historical skills.
As they progress through the school, pupils will study discrete historical topics following the design of the National Curriculum. This takes a chronological approach to British history, with other historical topics covered from world history. In each year, pupils can expect to study at least two History topics:
o The Stone age and Iron Age in Britain.
o Kings and Queens of England.
o Ancient Egypt.
o The Romans in Britain.
o A study of the Ancient Mayan civilisation.
o The Saxon settlement of Britain.
o Local studies of the Littleport Riots and the significance of Oliver Cromwell to Britain.
o The struggle for supremacy in Britain between the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings.
o World War II: The Rise of Hitler and the build up to conflict, significant turning points of the War and life on the home-front – particularly from children’s viewpoint (The Blitz and evacuation).
o An overview of the Ancient Greeks, looking in particular at their legacy to the world.
Through studying each of these topics, we cover the three main themes:
Firstly, through asking over-arching or summarising questions in each topic we address the theme of legacy, such as ‘How did the Romans change the landscape of Britain?’ (e.g. roads / Hadrian’s wall), ‘How did the Viking invasion have a lasting impact on British history?’ (e.g. town names, organisation of England as a more or less unified country) or ‘What have the Greeks ever done for us?’ (well, there’s sculpture, architecture, drama, philosophy, democracy, maths, sport, language…)
For the second theme, through encountering different forms of evidence in each topic and through wider reading of relevant history-focused texts (both fiction and non-fiction) set for each year, pupils will broaden their general historical knowledge and awareness.
Finally, the third theme of acquiring and developing historical skills is broken down into seven strands:
1. Constructing the past: Develop chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history and establish clear narratives within and across the periods they study. Note connections, contrasts and trends over time.
2. Sequencing the past: Develop chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history.
3. Change and development: Address and devise historically valid questions about change, similarity and difference.
4. Cause and effect: Address and devise historically valid questions about cause.
5. Significance and interpretations: Address and devise historically valid questions about significance.
6. Planning and carrying out a historical enquiry: Construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation and develop appropriate use of historical terms
7. Using sources as evidence: Understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. Each of these strands relate to historical skills that are then used as a focus for learning objectives and outcomes within history topics, allowing for progression and development in these skills through a pupil’s school journey.
COVERAGE AND PROGRESSION:
To view the History coverage map and progression of skills, please see our curriculum document 2020/21, which may be accessed via the PDF link below.
Our History Policy is to be found via this link: School Policies