Fern Hill History Rationale
‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without its roots.’ - Marcus Garvey
Love of Learning
At Fern Hill, our children enjoy history as a series of real-life stories of the past that are painted in full colour so that pupils grow into passionate historians with inquiring minds. We place importance on our children recognising their place in time and in understanding events in history as a chapter in a fascinating narrative that is still being written and involves us all. Our history lessons start with motivating hooks, such as sources, artefacts or questions to spark curiosity about the past and promote imaginative reconstruction of key events through enquiry, drama, exploration of multimedia sources and research. Engaging trips and visitors are weaved throughout our history curriculum to ignite inquisitiveness and promote hands-on and active learning.
Our pupils become knowledgeable about significant people and events that have left a legacy and have influenced and shaped our society today. Carefully planned knowledge, concepts and vocabulary is currently being mapped out to ensure our pupils can recall the what, when and why of key events in history and explain their impact. Lessons are sequenced to look at the place of these in the grand narrative and chronology of time before zooming into an intimate or local story that reveals part of the backstory to today’s diverse society.
Our pupils know that the story of the past is told differently and is created from the evidence that remains. Sometimes this evidence is fragmentary or contradictory; they are challenged to weigh it and test it for reliability so that they develop as historians who can find ways of making sense of this incomplete picture. We teach them to know which questions to ask so that they can describe and make links between events, situations and changes within and across periods and societies.
A detailed history skills progression ensures that our pupils build upon the core skills of being a successful historian:
Whilst learning about history at Fern Hill, our pupils are taught to be open-minded and respectful of the past. We aim to give them a sense of their own identity within our historic social, political, cultural and economic background and relationships. This is further enriched with high-quality texts that are specifically chosen to transport our pupils back in time to help them empathise with and understand the actions, ideas, beliefs and attitudes taken through time.
Our pupils’ successes as historians are celebrated through purposeful opportunities which enable them to demonstrate and present their knowledge and skills.
History Curriculum Intent: what is taught and when
Pupils engage in weekly humanities lessons and alternate between history and geography sequences of learning throughout the year with explicit links being made between the both when relevant.
Topics draw on the local area to make history relevant to the lives of our children and give them an improved sense of identity and place. For example, in Year 1 pupils visit Hampton Court as part of their study on Henry VIII and Year 3 take a walk to the Coronation Stone in Kingston as part of their work on King Athelstan. In Year 6, a local history study focuses on Kingston during wartime, looking at the achievements of Thomas Sopwtih and his contributions to the First World War. This local study is enriched with a poignant trip to the Somme region in France to visit the battlefields, trenches and memorial at Thiepval which allows our pupils to experience first-hand and learn from the devastating impact of the follies of man.
*** Our History Curriculum is in a period of transition. As a result into deeper research into cognitive science and effective sequencing, we have considered the order of the topics we teach and how these link to the wider curriculum.
To deepen our pupils’ understanding of the concept of chronology even further, we have reordered some topics so that from September 2020 British history and world history are taught in chronological order and builds upon geographical knowledge of the localities in which these historical periods and events occurred. Year 3 have already begun to study the re-sequenced curriculum by studying the Stone Age as their first history sequence.
Additional sequences of learning have also been added to revisit and extend key concepts that are pertinent to our context and local area, such as the concept of Monarchy.