"We study history not to be clever in another time, but to be wise always."
- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Statesman and Lawyer
At Downsview, we want to inspire all our students to be curious about the world and our past. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. Throughout their time at Downsview we aim to equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
The History curriculum allows us to nurture our students’ critical thinking skills so they have the tools to reflect and understand different points of view and make sense of the world around them based on personal observation and understanding. We want pupils to develop their general knowledge as well as know that when historians describe and explain the past, what we get is their construct, and not a fixed and uncontested view of the past. For this reason, we offer pupils the opportunity to see how and why different versions of the past differ by using a variety of sources and by following our Skills Progression Map in each year group. Through carefully chosen themes, we are able to develop our students’ understanding of our world and develop the skills required to interpret events around them. History is a fun and engaging subject that many children enjoy throughout their time a Downsview, especially as we strive to make History come alive through exciting trips and themed days.
Intent- Why do we teach History?
- To provide us with the framework of knowledge: We need knowledge to build our entire lives. Learning about History is learning about people’s stories ("His…story") …
- To develop our sense of identity: We learn who we are and how we came to be. It helps children to see the diversity of human experiences and develops their understanding about themselves as individuals and members of society.
- To motivate and inspire: History inspires us through bravery and courage of our forefathers. History teaches us that a single individual with great convictions or a committed group can change the world. It is from numerous acts of courage that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the life of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
- To learn from it: History has the largest reference of mistakes. As we learn from the successes of our ancestors, we can also learn from their mistakes to prevent us from making them again.
- To develop critical thinking: History helps us to look beyond the headlines, to ask questions properly, and to express our own opinions. History trains our minds and teaches us to think and process information.
- To help children understand sense of the world and to develop the concept of historical time and chronology.
Implementation- What do we teach?
The skills of History are taught to our pupils in a topical manner as opposed to chronological order. This allows children to go through history and make necessary links throughout their primary education starting from the Great Fire of London from Key Stage One, to WW2 at the end of Key Stage Two.
Content of learning in History:
Y1: Toys, Kings & Queens
Y2: Great Fire of London, People who made a difference
Y3: Stone Age, Ancient Egypt
Y4: Romans, Beyond Face Value
Y5: Vikings and Anglo Saxons, Benin, Ancient Greece
Y6: World War II, Crime & Punishment
Each unit has a Knowledge Organiser with key facts and dates from the period studied plus a list of skills they will develop while they study. Students are encouraged to build on their knowledge each year and draw comparisons or recognise patterns across themes. Our units are chosen to cover the National Curriculum aims whilst capturing our pupils’ imaginations about the past and developing their interest in our world’s future. Additionally, each year group follows the Skills Progression Map to develop the skills needed to be a historian: historical knowledge, chronology, historical interpretation, historical investigation, presenting, organising and communication.
Impact- Expectation of History
We want our children to leave Downsview with an understanding of how their lives are effected by the events of the past; a knowledge of the sequence of key events; an understanding of historical concepts; an ability to question sources and accounts and an enjoyment of history.
Our bespoke knowledge organisers set out what we want the children to know by heart by the end of the topic. We expect the majority of children to be able to recall many, if not all, of the key facts and use their skills to think critically to answer questions. At the end of each unit we use a 'pop quiz' to assess the children's knowledge and understanding in relation to the content of learning.