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"If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday"
- Pearl Buck
At Emmaus, we are all historians! Our intent is to ignite a passion for History; to equip our children with the knowledge, skills and understanding to become the next generation of historians! We encourage children to be curious and excited to learn about Britain’s past and that of the wider world and understand that History could also shape their future. A high-quality History curriculum encompasses topics which aim to foster awe and wonder and drive children to ask questions linked to the period of time they are studying. Through our teaching of History, we aim to equip children with both the tools and confidence to ask perceptive questions, reflect critically, challenge viewpoints and develop their own judgements based on historical evidence.
In order to provide a range of opportunities for our children to develop as independent, successful learners with high aspirations, our History curriculum is also intrinsically linked to our whole school curriculum drivers:
As a joint denominational school, Christian values are at the forefront of daily school life at Emmaus. The values of ‘Hope’, ‘Trust’, ‘Friendship’ and ‘Love’ are actively promoted throughout History lessons. During lessons, the children are encouraged to reflect on their own values that inform their perspectives about life in both the past and the present. They are encouraged to show respect for different people’s faiths, experiences, feelings and principles.
At Emmaus, we believe that a rich and broad curriculum builds cultural capital and we thus provide our children with a vast range of experiences and opportunities to help them progress and achieve success. Visits to historical sites (both locally and abroad), themed History days, drama workshops, History Ambassador representatives, assemblies and visitors, for example, further enrich the children’s learning by enabling History to ‘come alive’.
At Emmaus, we understand the importance of developing a curriculum that is diverse, allowing the children to expand their knowledge and understanding of many different identities in a manner appropriate to the subject matter being taught. The children study a range of diverse historical figures – such as Neil Armstrong, Mary Seacole, Anne Frank, Christopher Columbus, Florence Nightingale, Olaudah Equiano and John Lennon - that represent an array of genders, cultures, social classes and religions.
Our History curriculum heavily promotes independent learning. The children are encouraged to think historically, to ask their own questions and explore for themselves. They are encouraged to express their own findings freely via the use of open-ended questions and historical enquiries, drawing upon the evidence.
In line with all areas of our school curriculum, we have high expectations for all children to achieve their potential in History - regardless of their starting points. The History curriculum and assessment system at Emmaus is developed to ensure that we motivate pupils, monitor progress and achieve consistently high standards. There are high expectations for children to use appropriate historical vocabulary to articulate their thoughts and ideas.
At Emmaus, we use a topic-based approach to develop historical skills and to encourage children to work as historians. We intend for our children to learn about History in an active and creative way. Our aims are to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum for History; providing a broad and balanced curriculum that encompasses the British Values throughout; ensuring the development of historical concepts, knowledge and skills; and for the children to study life in the past.
The National Curriculum for History aims to ensure that all pupils:
· Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
· Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind.
· Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’.
· Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses.
· Understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
Topic areas that we undertake to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum objectives:
Opening Worlds Humanities Curriculum
(Year 3 only in 2021-22, rolling scheme)
(Ancient Egypt / Cradles of Civilisation / The Indus Valley Civilisation / Alexander the
world (Persia and Greece / Ancient Greece).
Through our carefully designed curriculum, the History topics will help children to gain an understanding of the complexity of people’s lives and the process of change; as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. This will be done by using a range of resources that will bring history to life and include photographs, diaries, newspaper articles, music and handling real artifacts from the past. Excursions and visiting experts will enhance the learning experience.
Teachers have identified the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression across topics throughout each year group across the school. By the end of year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Mayans.
The impact of our History curriculum is measured through a range of different strategies:
· Data which is produced from on-going teacher assessments
· Lesson observations
· Monitoring of History books
· Learning walks
· History Ambassadors
· Pupil voice
The ultimate impact and measure of the History curriculum at Emmaus is to ensure that our children are equipped with historical skills, knowledge and understanding that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. Outcomes in History books evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. We want the children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about History, therefore encouraging them to undertake new life experiences - both immediate and in the future.