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History at St. George’s

History Curriculum – Statement of Intent

At St. George’s, we want our children to gain a coherent understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We desire a language rich curriculum that will inspire our children so that they are curious to know more about the past. Our children should gain historical knowledge and an understanding of chronology while asking perceptive questions, thinking critically and supporting their opinions using sources of evidence. They should develop an understanding of how lives have changed, of diverse societies and the challenges humanity has faced over the course of history.


Curriculum Intent Model

1. Curriculum drivers shape the breadth of our History curriculum. They derive from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs about high quality education, and our values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.

2. Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values.

3. Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

4. Our History curriculum distinguishes between the different topics and ‘threshold concepts’.History topics being the specific aspects of History that are studied.

5. Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards and backwards engineering’ of the curriculum,students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.

6. The threshold concepts in History are: Investigate and interpret the past, Build an overview of world history, Understand chronology and Communicate historically.

7. For each of the threshold concepts three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and Knowledge categories in each subject, give students a way of expressing their understanding of the threshold concepts.

8. Knowledge organisers help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.

9. Cognitive science tells us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for students to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, whichtaken time.

10. Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and 3 semantic strengththroughthree cognitivedomains:basic,advancing anddeep. Thegoal for students is to display sustained mastery atthe ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the endof eachmilestone andforthemostabletohaveagreaterdepthofunderstanding atthe‘deep’stage.

11. As part of our progression model, we use a different pedagogical style in each of the cognitive domainsofbasic,advancinganddeep. Thisisbasedontheresearchof Sweller, Kirschner and Rosenshine who argue to direct instruction in the early stagesoflearninganddiscoverybased approaches later. We use direct instruction in the basic domain and problem based discovery in the deep domain. This is called the reversal effect.

12. Also, as part of our progression model, we use POP tasks (Proof of Progress) which shows our curriculum expectations in each cognitive domain. Implementation: Planning and Teaching of History

13. Our curriculum design in History is based on evidence from cognitive science; three main principles underpin it:

13.1. Learning is most effective with spaced repetition.

13.2. Interleaving helps pupils to discriminate between topics and aids long-term retention.

13.3. Retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength.

14. In addition to the three principles we also understand that learning is invisible in the short-term and that sustained mastery takes time.

15. Continuous provision,in the form of daily routines,replaces the teaching of some aspects of the History curriculum and,in other cases,provides retrieval practice for previously learned content. Lessons begin with a Revisit session to help maintain and embed the learning.

16. The planning and teaching of History is organised into a series of cycles in each Key Stage. Cohesion has been developed between the cycles, helping the children gain a sense of different historical themes and build a sense of chronology over the two Key Stages. Children study a range of topics: From ancient civilisations in Britain and across the World, through significant periods in British history, and to main events in Britain and the World from both the distant past to more recent times. In EYFS and in the early stages of Key Stage 1, children look at their own personal history and that of their family to bring them to an understanding of what ‘history’ is.

17. A number of Knowledge Categories are identified for each of the cycles. These are taken from this list: Main Events, Settlements, Beliefs, Food and Farming, Location, Culture and Pastimes, Conflict, Travel and Exploration, Society, and Artefacts.

18. Vocabulary is specifically identified in the planning for each of the cycles. Tier Two vocabulary is that which drives the learning in History and helps determine the kind of tasks the children undertake. Basic tasks may be driven by words such as, observe, identify, describe or use. More advanced or deep tasks may be driven by words such as, seek out, analyse, compare, select. Tier Three vocabulary used in each Cycle is that which is specific to that aspect of the topic. For instance, when learning about Viking exploration, words such as longship or place names, such as, Newfoundland and Greenland are specific to the topic being studied at that time.

19. Detailed in the diagram below, are the topics taught in History across the school. This shows St. George’s Learning Journey in History:

Picture 1

For more detailed information about our approach to the History curriculum, please read our History policy: