At Aston St Mary’s, in line with our Christian values, we aim to enable every child to:
- develop a love and curiosity for history;
- build a good knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from a range of historical periods, including significant events in Britain’s past;
- be inspired to ask their own thought provoking questions about the past;
- develop a secure understanding of chronology throughout history;
- develop the skills of historical enquiry as a common thread which runs across our history curriculum, regardless of the topic covered;
- think critically about history and the sources of information they study;
- reflect upon the lessons that can be learnt from events in the past and appreciate how history can help us to embed our Christian Values such as tolerance, forgiveness and wisdom.
By using expert resources such as Key Stage History for inspiration, teachers plan engaging lessons which adopt an enquiry based approach. Children are encouraged to discover new knowledge and piece together understanding for themselves by using different sources of evidence. Several lessons can be spent solving an enquiry and most lessons feature aspects of enquiry based learning in some way. Each lesson begins with a “Learning Question” which children should then be able to answer by the end. We understand that children need to be supported to appreciate how enquiry is a common thread throughout their study of History. Therefore, we created our own “process for historical enquiries” which is displayed in each classroom and referred to during planning and lessons. Enquiries also provide children with the valuable experience of making links across their learning and drawing upon their knowledge from several lessons. For example, “Who could the mystery box, found in Colchester, belong to?” and “What advice would we give to the planners of the new monument to Mary Seacole on the site of St Thomas’ Hospital?” We want children to develop a critical understanding that much of history is what historians have chosen to interpret from the surviving evidence of the past. Therefore, we encourage children to evaluate and challenge these ideas.
In order to support chronological understanding throughout history, a timeline is displayed in our school hall which is specific to the periods of history and topics taught. This is referred to throughout the school, so that children can understand when in history their current topic took place in relation to previous topics covered and future learning.
It is important to us that children understand the impact of history within our locality and learn from hands on experiences. Therefore, where possible, we ensure children have the opportunity to visit these places for themselves. For example, The British School Museum in Hitchin (to support the study of Joseph Lancaster – a person of local significance).
The impact of our History teaching and learning shows that standards in History are high and match standards in other subjects such as English. Children are encouraged to research independently to further their own enjoyment and understanding through choosing home learning “projects”. Teachers make judgements and assess progress using our progression skills ladders and report to subject leaders termly.