The intent of our History curriculum is:
To help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world to build respect and appreciation. We aim for it to inspire pupils’ curiosity about the past. Children will ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. We intend to enable pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and beliefs and celebrate these differences.
At Birkbeck, we believe that History plays a vital role in shaping our understanding of the world around us, what has gone before, the way things are now and what is to come. It also provides an excellent grounding for thinking around what our individual roles in the future of our world could be.
Our curriculum coverage posters provide information about which units are taught in which year groups and the order in which they are taught. You can view the History one below:
Our History curriculum is underpinned by threads of key concepts which are strategically revisited throughout a child's journey through the curriculum. By designing our curriculum in this way, we ensure that new knowledge builds on existing knowledge which makes it more easily retrievable from long term memory and enables children to see links and connections more clearly as they progress through the school. In turn, this makes it easier for them to engage in the disciplinary elements of the subject to analyse, compare and draw inferences and conclusions. You can read about what our History concept threads are and where they appear in our curriculum in the document below:
Below you can see the development of our key concept threads in grid form so that you can see how each one is progressed and developed as children move through the school.
Because of the nature of our curriculum, the knowledge we teach is planned in precise detail and you can read more about what we cover in each unit of work in the documents below.
The relationship between History and Geography
We believe that a full understanding of the key threads of our History curriculum is not possible without consideration of the Geographical influences on events throughout History. For example, the Romans' decision to come to Britain in the early part of the first century is crucial to developing children's understanding of cause and consequence. However, children must understand that part of the motivation for the invasion was the physical Geography of the British isles.
This also builds on the curriculum in the Early Years Foundation stage where History and Geography understanding is taught under the umbrella of Understanding of the world.
Because of this, while two units of work per year group are driven by History (and the remaining one by Geography,) some elements of the Geography curriculum are taught as part of units of work that are driven by History. We believe that sequencing our curriculum in this way allows children to not only develop disciplinary knowledge of both subjects but to also cultivate an understanding of the relationship between the two.
Every History lesson begins with a retrieval practice starter which has the aim of activating prior knowledge around the concept thread which the lesson to come is focused on.
Every lesson also includes clarification of any technical vocabulary to be used in the lesson. This always takes place before the main lesson content begins.
All History lessons are delivered in line with our principles of teaching and learning which are the same for all subjects. These are the principles that we believe underpin truly great teaching and learning. You can read about how these are applied to History lessons below:
We assess History once per term. Teachers assess children's body of work against a set of descriptors which match the threads of concept that our History curriculum is designed by. As such, the curriculum is the model for progression that we follow and assess against. Assessment is reported to parents and carers every term at parents evening.
Please also take the time to watch our History curriculum presentation from our parents and carers workshop below.