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Winscombe Primary School

Subject Overview

Our vision is a nurturing community that expects respect, encourages creativity and embraces aspiration.


Our Federation provides a broad and balanced education that is relevant, engaging and challenging whilst meeting the needs of our pupils. It aims to furnish them with the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need in preparation for their future lives, to be respectful, caring, creative and ambitious citizens in our local and global community.

History at Sandford

At Sandford, we view History not only as simple facts and dates, but as a way of encouraging our pupils to become historians who explore the past like detectives and learn from our ancestors. History is taught mainly through a topic-based approach, covering key concepts, and gives our pupils a chance to explore a wide range of sources from which the past can come alive. Our curriculum aims to develop historical skills and concepts which are transferable to whatever period of history is being studied and will equip children for future learning. They will compare and contrast, examine how and why things have changed, learn about historical characters and expand their research skills. We teach children to be open minded, respectful and enquiring thinkers who understand cause and effect. We want them to understand how people have lived in the past and compare this to modern life. We encourage first-hand experiences through handling real artefacts and wherever possible arranging field work visits to relevant sites of historical interest in our locality (Strawberry Line, Bristol & the Slave Trade, Weston Super Mare’s Victorian History) or bringing in specialists for in-school workshops.


The coverage of recent history in Class 1 such as ‘Toys Today Toys Tomorrow’ and ‘Who Am I?’ enables children to acquire an understanding of time, events and people in their living memory and their parents’ and grandparents’ memories. In Class 1, pupils extend this to beyond living memory, examining significant British historical events and figures and, in Class 2, this progresses to significant international historical events and figures. This approach aligns with our Geography curriculum for KS1 classes to make topics more meaningful.


As a school with mixed-age classes, we work on a 2-year cycle, to avoid repetition, that takes on a conceptual approach, rather than wholly chronological, to the progression of knowledge. For example, where children learn about tradition in Class 1, this progresses to ritual and legacy as they move up the school, to deepen their understanding of these concepts. Another example is the understanding of invasion, tyranny and power in KS1, which deepens with the exploration of resistance, empire and justice in KS2 (see Knowledge Progression Map). Where our cycle allows, we aim to sequence learning in KS2 as chronologically as possible, so pupils can understand how Britain has developed from the Stone Age, through to the Roman and Viking invasions, up to the Victorian era and the Benin Expedition, then the effects of World War II.

The intent in all classes is that children can read about, discuss and debate the impact of events in history (locally, nationally and globally), and become historians who can articulate their understanding, backed up by the evidence of source materials and use their knowledge to make sense of the modern world to make informed decisions in the future. We want our pupils to learn about local figures but also ensure our curriculum includes figures which demonstrate a fair representation of our diverse school community – including Black History and Female Achievements (eg. Blackbeard, Brunel, Dwayne Fields, Jane Goodall, Edward Colston, the Benin Kingdom).

How do we teach History?

How do we teach History? When teaching History, we are helping to develop and equip the children with the skills to think and act like historians. We support the children to:  develop a sense of chronology and curiosity about the past, understanding that it can be interpreted differently  explore and question significant events and figures from British History and to identify and appreciate how elements have changed over time  investigate and respond critically to significant events and to communicate how they have influenced or affected society  develop skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation  gain a secure understanding that Britain is part of a wider European culture, and to study some aspects of European history  explore, question and reflect on their understanding of society and their place in it  understand how British Values have been influenced from past events and individuals, which have formed the British Values of today  explore and understand how events in the past have influenced our lives todays  gain an insight into early civilizations and their legacies  respect historical evidence  demonstrate empathy for people and societies of the past At Sandford, we want History to feel real and have meaning. We ensure that children can visit sites of significant historical importance and have regular visits from Roman Centurions, Treacherous Pirates, Pioneering Pilots or Stone Age Man. Role play brings history to life and links clearly to our ‘Talk for Writing’ approach in English. On top of this, we place an emphasis on using the locality to help deliver many aspects of the History curriculum. Whether this is a trip to King John’s Hunting Lodge or Weston Pier or the S.S.Great Britain, we ensure that history is taught and delivered by using the abundant resources we have at our fingertips. In order for children to know more and remember more in each area of history studied, there is a structure to the lesson sequence whereby prior learning is always considered and opportunities for revision of facts and historical understanding are built into lessons, through discussion, fun quizzes and mind mapping. Through revisiting and consolidating skills, our lesson plans and resources help children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and challenge. The revision and introduction of key ‘expert’ vocabulary is built into each lesson, displayed in classrooms and shared termly with parents to support children’s communication and ensure the highest expectations. The image overleaf details the approach to History topics at Sandford. From an enquiry based question, medium term plans identify the essential knowledge needed and how children can demonstrate an understanding of this. The class teacher will then generate a relevant task/activity/experience for children to demonstrate their understanding, with a meaningful outcome at the end of each unit.


The impact of our History Curriculum

The impact of using quality resources, including display materials, will be seen across the school with an increase in the profile of history. The learning environment across the school will be more consistent with historical technical vocabulary displayed, spoken and used by all learners. Whole-school and parental engagement will be improved through the use of history-specific home learning tasks and opportunities suggested in lessons and overviews for wider learning. We want to ensure that history is loved by teachers and pupils across our school, therefore encouraging them to want to continue building on this wealth of historical knowledge and understanding, now and in the future.


History in the Early Years and KS1

In Early Years, we also undertake a conceptual approach, tailoring aspects of this to suit the needs of our early learners. Under the ‘Understanding of the World’ ELG, much of the history content is explored, by studying people and their communities and the wider world. This is the beginning of basic historical enquiry, being able to compare and study primary and secondary resources. During the ‘Toys Today Toys Tomorrow’ topic, children visit Clara’s Cottage in Weston Museum and begin to make links about now and then, through role-play and the use of the ‘toy artefacts’.


In KS1, we follow the National Curriculum content and deliver this over a 2-year period. Due to split age year groups, we ensure that all children are exposed to the statutory content:


· changes within living memory

· events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or internationally

· the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods

· significant historical events, people and places in their own locality


Our planning uses a mixture of teacher based planning and schemes of work taken from Twinkl, Hamilton and The Historical Association -


Through our ‘Wow Days’, we explore aspects of history through firsthand experiences. We also ensure children: are exposed to a broad variety of famous artists from across history; make links with religion and belief systems with their historical topics; explore modern day / topical links with our key concepts.


History in KS2

In KS2, we follow the national curriculum content and deliver these over a 2-year cycle. Due to split age year groups, we ensure that all children are exposed to the content below. Every child will spend 2 years in just one of our KS2 classes, therefore one key period of history is split to ensure it is visited by every pupil.

  • The Stone Age
  • The Iron Age
  • Achievements of the earliest civilizations – Ancient Egypt / The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
  • A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Aztec civilization / Benin kingdom (West Africa) c.AD 900-1897 up to the Punitive Expedition
  • Ancient Greek achievements and influences on the modern world (split across Year A&B of our topic cycle in C5)
  • The Roman Empire and its impact on Britain (split across Year A&B of our topic cycle in C3)
  • Britain’s settlement by Anglo Saxons
  • The Scots and the Picts
  • Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor (split across Year A&B of our topic cycle in C4)
  • An aspect or theme of British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 – Victorian Social History / World War 2
  • A local history study – The Strawberry Line / Bristol’s Black History (inc. Windrush)

Our planning uses a mixture of teacher based planning and schemes of work taken from Twinkl, Hamilton and The Historical Association -

Through our ‘Wow Days’, we explore aspects of history through first-hand experiences. We also ensure children are exposed to: a broad variety of famous artists from across history; links with religion and belief systems with their historical topics; exploration of STEM achievements of the past; exploration of modern day / topical links with our key concepts.


How we make History exciting and motivating

History holds an important place within our curriculum planning and delivery and we are always looking for new and engaging ways to deliver the subject to our learners. As mentioned previously, we ensure that the children are able to access high quality educational visits to important historical sites and we arrange for many special visitors to attend school to bring history to life. Access to laptops and iPads ensure historical research using appropriate websites can take place with ease, as well as ensuring our learners are equipped with the right tools to access future learning methods. Our enquiry based approach also ensures that children are motivated by ambitiously building self-direction and initiative in the work they undertake.


Both English and History subject leaders ensure writing outcomes are linked clearly to the history topics, ensuring a breadth and depth of high quality responses are able to be created in all subjects. Work is celebrated on the walls, via Class Dojo/school website and with the head teacher, as well as within celebration assemblies. Importantly, linking to current research, writing and other outcomes are given a meaningful purpose, e.g. to persuade, advertise or inform their peers, to open a class museum, to hold a debate, to deliver a speech, to create a class mural. All of which are not only motivating, but essential in engaging our learners more fully.


Another important aspect of our provision is access to high quality texts that allow our learners to access additional information and engage with topics and themes with greater ease and pleasure. These texts drive the termly class curriculum, making cross curricular links where appropriate. In fact, such is the importance of this, the PTA ensure money is available each year to provide more books and resources for the curriculum.


How we assess History

In History, like all other foundation subjects, we choose to make a summative assessment by selecting specific skills or key knowledge areas from the curriculum. After completing a pre-topic assessment, to ascertain prior knowledge, pupils complete quiz-style assessments at the end of each topic. Questions are generated during the plenary session of each lesson as pupils work through the unit, then tested together at the end, which gives us an indicator of how the children are progressing in that subject. Impact can be measured through key questioning skills built into lessons, child-led assessment such as success criteria grids and KWL grids alongside our summative assessments aimed at targeting next steps in learning. Verbal feedback and marking also allow opportunities to assess understanding and provide more instantaneous feedback to the pupil. Shirley Clarke’s work on formative assessment and growth mindset help us consider what effective assessment looks like in the classroom environment, whilst also allowing the children to develop their own self and peer assessment skills.


How we help children who find History difficult

Children who find History difficult are supported in a variety of ways. As a dyslexia friendly school, many of our resources are printed on neutral or buff coloured paper, as well as using a font that is more easily recognisable. Pre-topic teaching mats with key vocabulary are created and shared with all pupils and their families prior to any new topic being taught. These not only contain key vocabulary, but core concepts too, and suggestions for home learning. As with all children, first quality teaching from the class teacher is used as an important tool in ensuring the gap in attainment is lessened. As such, all class teachers operate a ‘hug closely’ group for children who have been identified as requiring additional support in achieving their learning outcomes. More broadly speaking, common practices applied by our classroom teachers and teaching assistant would be:


  • setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses; as well as giving more time to complete tasks
  • setting tasks of increasing difficulty: not all children complete all tasks
  • providing resources of different complexity / requiring different outcomes depending on the ability of the child
  • using Learning Support Assistants to support children individually or in groups, where needed


At the point where a child is unable to demonstrate progress in this area, a conversation with the SENDCO would take place. Please see the SEND policy and the school’s graduated response forms for further information for when a child requires additional support because there is a significant gap in their learning.

How parents and carers can help their children with History

A child’s life outside of school can have a huge impact on their ability to retain the knowledge they learn in school. As parents and carers, you are in the best position to encourage your children's natural interest in history. It is to you that they address their first historical questions: "Where did I come from?" and "Was I always here?" These two questions contain the two main meanings of "history",

  1. It is the story of people and events.
  2. It is the record of times past.

Now is the time to bring out the historical evidence and to share family stories with your child. Birth and adoption certificates, immunization records, first pieces of your child's writing and art, as well as photographs. These all count as historical sources that tell the story of your child and their history. The stories you tell and read to your children, or make up with them, are part of their cultural heritage and reinforce the basic parts of ‘history’.


Practically, some of the best ways to nurture your child’s interest in history is to work alongside them, show enthusiasm and explore with them. Be active in their learning. Take time to explore areas of interest and reflect on how people felt in the past. Make use of the resources you have available to you. We are lucky that in our local area we have many significant historical sites: Kings John Hunting Lodge, Cheddar Caves and Gorge, Banwell Castle, the Strawberry Line, Weston Museum and Bristol - all full of history! Take time to visit these sites/places and discuss what it is you see and feel when there.


Other things you can do:


· Share family history with your child.

· Read newspapers, magazines and articles that allow you to make informed judgements of the world.

· Make globes, maps and encyclopaedias available to your child.

· Participate in your community – by voting and helping make changes in areas that interest you.

· Read through your child’s Topic Web and Knowledge Organisers with them, which are sent home every term.

· Read stories about different cultures, people from the past and significant historical events.

· Make and create arts and crafts linked to our history topics.

· Take photographs with your child to record significant family events.