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 include 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 have been 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 units 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.
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.
Topics draw on the local area, where possible, 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 Windsor Castle as part of their study on Knights and Castles, and in Year 5 attend a workshop at Hampton Court Palace to look further into the life of Henry VIII and his impact as monarch. In Year 6, a local history study focuses on Kingston during wartime, looking at the achievements of Thomas Sopwith and his contributions to the First World War in aviation design and manufacturing.
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. Early Years and Key Stage 1 introduce pupils to historical periods that they will study more fully in Key Stages 2 and 3. British history and world history are now taught in chronological order across Key Stage 2. Year 3, for example, study the Stone to Iron Ages as their first chronological history unit. Knowledge and skills are then revisited in Year 4 when further exploration into the lives of the Celts and later Anglo-Saxons are studied. Links are constantly being drawn by comparing and contrasting societies and civilisations across different time periods.
Our aim is to equip our children with inquiring minds, open to the idea that ‘history’, as we know it, is constantly under review in the light of further evidence and that they and their families have their own part to play in current and future historical events.