A high-quality history education will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. (2014 National Curriculum)
Overview of History across the school
The youngest children study history through 'Understanding the world' and learn to talk about past and present events in their own lives, and those of family members. They develop an understanding of changes over time, and a sense of past and present as well as recognising similarities and differences between communities and traditions.
This is taught throughout the year and covers the topics of Toys through the ages, Homes and castles and the seaside and development of holidays. These all fulfil the National curriculum requirement to consider changes within living memory, revealing aspects of change in national life. The class undertake a visit to Stansted Mountfitchet castle as part of their work on castles which covers local history aspects. Wide use is made of contemporary sources such as pictures to provide evidence.
Across the year the class study the Great fire of London as an ‘event beyond living memory that was significant nationally or globally’ which builds on their work on homes in year 1. A study of transport through time provides a link to local history as a chance to explore the coming of the railway and the way in which it shaped the development of the town. Considering the roles of Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and Edith Cavell as ‘lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements’ gives an opportunity to explore the contributions to society made by people of all backgrounds, and introduces awareness of the contribution made by Black people.
The class start the year learning about the Stone Age and move through the Bronze age and Iron Age. They think about the concept of pre-history and how, when there are no written records, evidence is gathered by means such as archaeology. During the Spring term they study the Roman Empire and the impact on Britain, The concept of how British history has been developed and shaped by continual immigration is explicitly explored and celebrated. In the Summer term the class investigate the achievements of earlier civilizations through a study of Ancient Egypt. The local history study links with Geography in considering the development and growth of the town as a settlement for the many groups of people who call this area their home.
British history knowledge is extended with learning about Britain’s settlement by the Anglo-Saxons and their struggle with the Vikings for the Kingdom of England until 1066. The class visit a re-created Anglo-Saxon village to help their understanding of how people lived in this period and learn about the role of archaeology. In the summer term they consider Ancient Greece and study Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world. This is a chance to make direct links with the role of democracy and the way in which this is integral to building fairness in our multi-cultural community. Usually the class enjoy a Greek day incorporating a re-creation of some Olympic sports in a cross-curricular link with PE.
One topic covered is the Mayan civilization around AD900 as a ‘non-European society that provides a contrast with British history’ with the aim of helping build an understanding that many other cultures exist and are of huge importance to global society. A study of the Tudor period focuses on the establishment of the Anglican church as a significant turning point in British history, which is of relevance to us as a church school. Work on the early Tudor explorers links to work on the history of Empire and colonialism which is explored in more depth next year. Local history is investigated with regard to the many Tudor buildings in the town.
The class cover the development of the British Empire from the Tudor period until its decline at the end of the 20th century and consider many of the social and economic aspects of colonialism. They extend this to look at local history with learning about Cecil Rhodes, son of a past vicar at our church, as an African colonist and his role in shaping Southern Africa. This topic was chosen as a chance to fully meet the national curriculum requirements of expecting ‘pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement’ as it is often a source of controversy in today’s multi-cultural society. By this age, the children are ready to explore complex, and sometimes painful, issues with a clear understanding of history impacts lives today, whilst allowing them to make distinctions as to the way in which views of the past should be considered in light of the values that were current at that time.
Timeline showing the periods of history covered in KS2
In 2018 the school celebrated it's bi-centenary!
This display shows some of the historical evidence we uncovered showing school life over the 200 years that we have been part of our town's community.
Year 2 built their own buildings to experiment and see how the Fire of London took hold so quickly!
They also created a very colourful classroom display with their versions of Samuel Pepys famous diary.
Year 5 combined their art knowledge of 'how to make a collage' to re-create a portrait of the great Tudor King, Henry VIII.
History learning is often taken outside with visits to places of interest. Year 4 went to West Stow Anglo-Saxon village to see how experimental archaeology has enabled historians to interpret their findings and understand the lives of our ancestors.
Year 5 study the Tudors and they went for a trail around the town to discover the many fine Tudor buildings still standing today.