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At the Nar Valley Federation, we believe that all children should be given the chance to become historians. Through examining significant individuals, events and time periods, we give our children the opportunity to engage in their learning and to explain the world as it is by exploring the world as it was.
Drawing from the historical knowledge, concepts and vocabulary taught, the children consider in history lessons the diversity of life experiences in many different places at many different times and give thought to how this has shaped the world we live in.
As well as explicitly teaching British history and that of the wider world, we also make use of our rich and varied local heritage either by incorporating it into our history units or by teaching stand-alone units of local history. With all this in mind, it is hoped that through our history curriculum we provide all children with enriching, memorable experiences and opportunities that nurture them to become confident and curious historians.
The Nar Valley history curriculum is planned to ensure historical knowledge and concepts (also known as substantive and disciplinary concepts) are taught alongside the development of subject-specific skills including: knowledge and understanding of chronology; interpretations of the past; historical enquiry; and organising and communicating information about the past.
In their history lessons, and across the wider curriculum, we want our pupils to be able to ask pertinent questions about the past, analyse evidence, think critically, appreciate different perspectives and develop informed judgements. Our children will be asked to consider how the past influences the present, what past societies were like and what beliefs and cultures influenced people's actions. As they do this, our children will develop a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people.
At the Nar Valley Federation, children from Y1 to Y6 study three history units per year. In Year R/1 the children follow units which develop early historical knowledge and skills using their own experiences of life and the past as a starting point. They will then progress onto units which develop their understanding of changes within and beyond living memory whilst also learning about significant individuals and events both locally and nationally.
Children in Y2/3 classes follow units which build upon the curriculum started in YR/1; however, they will also encounter both a World History unit and a Local History unit preparing them for their learning in Years 4, 5 and 6.
In Years 4/5/6, the children study three discrete units of history per year. Having mixed age classes and a three-year rolling programme means that developing a sense of chronology over KS2 can be quite a challenge. For this reason, we have deliberately ordered our units to ensure that we develop the children's understanding of chronology over the course of each individual year. Therefore, in Year A children learn about British history before 1066, in Year B they focus upon British history post 1066 while in Year C they study history units from the wider world.
In all classes, we are developing the use of over-arching enquiry questions to focus our learning in History.
In addition to this, we have started to implement whole-class retrieval activities at the start of every history lesson. We believe these retrieval sessions will enable our children to develop deep, long-lasting and connected historical knowledge which will support their understanding of complex historical concepts.