"The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future".
At Mattersey Primary School, we believe that History is an essential part of the curriculum, a subject that not only stands alone but is also woven into learning in a range of subjects. Our intent is to deliver the National Curriculum for History in an engaging and exciting way to inspire our pupils to be curious and enthusiastic in their learning about the past.
History has an impact on the lives and experiences of everyone today. We live in a society that has been shaped by significant events and people in the past and it is important for our pupils to understand local, cultural, national and international history. We intend to raise cultural capital and develop connections through people and events in different places and different times. We want to equip our pupils with the critical thinking to understand the way that the world is always changing so that they have independence and confidence with their learning, and generate interest, inspiration and challenge of the events in the past as well as a sense of curiosity and intrigue in our Mattersey historians.
The History curriculum is mapped out over a two-year cycle in EYFS and Key Stage 1 and over a four-year cycle in Key Stage 2 to ensure complete coverage of the substantive and disciplinary knowledge in the National Curriculum for pupils in our mixed age classes. History is a key subject and forms the basis for half termly topics across the planning cycles so is taught as an independent subject, as well as linked to other subjects across the curriculum where appropriate, such as creating information leaflets about a famous Roman emperor in English lessons in Key Stage 2 and working with clay to create Greek vases in Art when learning about the influence of the Ancient Greeks, as well as designing and building models of Tudor Houses in Design and Technology when learning about the Great Fire of London in Key Stage 1.
Across school, lessons have a ‘Big Question’ approach, which supports children’s understanding of the key learning within each lesson and helps pupils to develop a sense of questioning and historical enquiry. For example, in KS2 pupils explore the question, what impact did the Roman Empire have on Britain at the time, and what legacy did it leave us with over the course of their learning. Furthermore, the Success criteria, presented to children as Red/Amber/Green statements help to ensure that they are very clear about how they can show their achievements in this subject.
History is an essential part of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage as it is incorporated into everyday learning. The historical aspects of the children’s work relate to the objectives set out in the EYFS Development Matters Statements and the Early Learning Goals (ELGs) relating to the area of Past and Present.
In Key Stage 1, the children will begin by learning about small snapshots of history by considering changes within living memory to help children to understand that History is always being made. They will also look at local history for them to understand how their homes have been affected by people and events around them, giving them a sense of regional identity. They will start to look at History on a wider scale by looking at significant people and events from the past within this country and across the globe.
In Key Stage 2, the children will begin to study specific periods in chronological order and build up their knowledge from ancient history to modern history. Topics of study have been chosen carefully to suit the interests of the children and to enable a rich variety in their knowledge and skills as well as to ensure progression of knowledge and experiences as historians.
We have identified both the substantive History knowledge our pupils will acquire over the course of their primary school journey which includes the historical periods they will study, as well as the specific disciplinary knowledge pupils will build within each year group. Our progression documents have recently been updated (Nov ’22) as we develop this subject area to reflect the learning progression in knowledge as well as the key vocabulary for each year group through school.
Our Mattersey historians will know and be able to remember their historical knwoeldge. They will understand historical concepts and use the correct vocabulary to show their understanding of the events and people that have shaped the world that we live in today. They will develop a range of skills from chronology and interpretation to enquiry, asking and answering questions to developing a sense of intrigue as well as examining a range of historical sources with knowledge and respect. They will be equipped to use these skills across other areas of learning (independently and through teamwork) that will also allow them to progress with resilience in their learning as they transition to secondary education.
Our progression documents outline the impact (end points) for each year group of our History curriculum.
Here is our Learning Progression document for History (updated November 2022) which includes the substantive and disciplinary knowledge for each year group from EYFS to Year 6:
Autumn Term 2022: History at Mattersey - this term we are looking at change over time.
The Hive Class are studying Crime and Punishment exploring how this has changed over time. To help them learn about this, they visited the National Justice Museum in Nottingham. We chose this topic for our History curriculum at Mattersey as we are lucky to have the galleries of justice nearby and we could immerse our pupils in their learning. It was a really engaging experience where they visited the dungeons and 'dark cell' from Georgian times, met a Georgian gaoler who put them through their paces and explored the prison routines and punishments from Victorian times. The pupils ended the day in the court room, taking on the roles of judge, clerk, usher, witness, defendant, solicitor and barrister. This really helped them to remember their learning in school of the layout and procedures in a court room.
The Burrow Class are looking at changes of time in terms of houses and buildings. This also links in with their Science topic on Habitats. They enjoyed a walk around our village observing the house styles and, for example, looking at an Edwardian house and their differences to houses built in the present day. Our EYFS pupils are learning about similarities and differences between houses and buildings and the Key Stage 1 pupils are developing this further with how the local area has changed over time.
Key Stage 2 pupils developed their knowledge of the impact the Roman army had on British society by imagining they were Roman soldiers. They researched the life of a Roman soldier to understand how the army was so successful, then made traditional Roman shields so they could reenact some of the formations the army would make. They then used their knowledge to write diaries in English about a day in the life of a Roman soldier.