September whole school attendance:
September attendance by class: Rec AG 96.1% Rec KH 95.6% Y1AB 97.6% Y1R/L 96.4% Y2MN 96.4% Y2CS 95% Y3MM 99.3% Y3HM 96.3% Y4DD 98.5% Y4ML 97.4% Y5BS 98.4% Y5LW 96.6% Y6LT 97.3% Y6LJ 94.9%
The study of history can bring pupils into a rich dialogue with the past and with the traditions of historical enquiry. The past and changing accounts of the past have shaped the identities of diverse people, groups and nations. Through history, pupils come to understand their place in the world, and in the long story of human development. The study of history challenges pupils to make sense of the striking similarities and vast differences in human experiences across time and place. At Amberley, we want to:
All pupils are required to study history at KS1 and KS2 and follow the national curriculum. By following the national curriculum we aim to equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. In order to ensure a broad curriculum offer for all pupils, a school’s history curriculum should ensure that: there is a breadth of historical periods studied; a range of places and societies studied as well as the connections between them; that people, groups and experiences are studied, ensuring that no groups are misrepresented across the curriculum and a range of historical fields of enquiry are taught, for example, political, social and economic history. At Amberley we also believe in ensuring our curriculum is personalised to our local area and there has been careful consideration of what is taught in our history curriculum and why it was selected. We ask ourselves ‘why that? Why now? How did it earn its place in our curriculum?’
We also want our curriculum to be diverse and reflect all of our learners – we often use Emily Style’s metaphor of the curriculum as the mirror and the window: the mirror signifying that pupils see themselves in our curriculum and the window representing our ambition to show all pupils the world beyond their immediate experience.
Pupils make progress in history through building their knowledge of the past (substantive knowledge), and of how historians study the past and create accounts (disciplinary knowledge). Deploying both substantive and disciplinary knowledge in combination is what gives pupils the capacity or skill to construct historical accounts – they are closely related as it is through disciplinary methods that pupils are able to construct substantive knowledge of the past. Teaching supports pupil progress by embedding frameworks of content and concepts that enable pupils to access future material. Abstract concepts are best learned through repeated exposures in different, meaningful contexts. The amount of progress that pupils make through the curriculum is dependent at each stage on the range and depth of their existing knowledge and how secure it is in their minds. This knowledge is what allows pupils to understand new material. Some knowledge is likely to be particularly important to future learning (generative knowledge). Pupils are likely to benefit when curriculum design, teaching, and assessment prioritise this knowledge.
At Amberley, the substantive concepts that we use are:
The disciplinary concepts that we use are:
All of these concepts feature regularly throughout the study of history in a range of contexts so children become familiar with them across their time at Amberley. We understand that repeated encounters and meaningful examples make new information more familiar to pupils and therefore easier to learn. Pupils’ prior knowledge also makes new information and abstract ideas more meaningful and therefore easier to comprehend and learn. Knowledge is generative - it enables future learning.
We know that children’s first interactions with history start far earlier than when they begin Key Stage 1. Before they start school, children will begin to encounter the past and the world around them. When children encounter the past they are provided with a starting point from which curiosity can blossom as they enter more formally structured education. What children learn in the EYFS is crucial knowledge for them to build on in the future. The knowledge and vocabulary that they develop, through the ‘understanding of the world’ area of learning, enables them to access history content at KS1, where children continue to develop their understanding alongside a more formal introduction to the disciplinary side to the subject. Children at the expected level of development in ‘understanding of the world’ will:
From Key Stage 1, history at Amberley is taught for approximately 90 minutes per week from Year 1 to Year 6, every other half-term (Y2, Y4, Y6 during the first half-term of each term and Y1, Y3 and Y5 during the second half of each half-term). Staff follow units as detailed in the long-term plan set by the subject leader. From this long-term plan, teachers plan their medium-term plan which centres around an enquiry question to shape curriculum content. This enquiry question organises historical content to enable pupils to develop disciplinary and substantive knowledge simultaneously, with their understanding of each supporting the other. The medium-term plan unit considers what the intent of the unit is (what we want children to be able to do / remember by the end of the unit), how it will be implemented (sequenced) and how impact will be judged. It also details the hook into the learning, which national curriculum objectives will be covered, how the topic develops SMSC and which visitors or visits will take place. We also place a large importance on vocabulary and look at how the topic will include both subject specific vocabulary and transferable vocabulary. What prior knowledge will be needed to access and unlock new learning is also carefully considered by staff.
Prior to a unit beginning, pupils are given a ‘knowledge organiser’ which details the key facts and information which children will need to access the topic. It contains the essential facts about the topic, key vocabulary or technical terms and their meaning. We use the knowledge organiser as a regular retrieval tool, particularly at the start of the unit and teachers often use short, low stake quizzes to embed knowledge which supports pupils as they access more complicated content in later years.
All current medium-term plans and knowledge organisers are placed on our school website to ensure that parents are aware of what their children are learning about and working towards.
At Amberley, we follow a set lesson design which encompasses our teaching and learning golden threads. Lessons begin with a quick discussion of ‘what is history?’ and a shared definition as well as what historians do. We then look at any common misconceptions which may have arisen from previous lessons as well as our history timeline and focus in one area of this eg sequencing, duration, interval. We then do our retrieval work which activates the prior knowledge that pupils will need for that day’s learning and discuss how what we have learned previously helps us to answer our enquiry question. We move on to looking at the vocabulary which will be important in that day’s learning and at the end of the lesson summarise what we have learned today.
Across the Autumn term, we run an extra-curricular history club after school focusing on our local area and how it has changed over time. We feel that local history is an introduction to how the past is still around us today and that sometimes telling the stories of people that lived on our doorstep can be both powerful and an eye-opening moment for pupils! We were lucky to have one such gentleman who did just that in our community. We were also able to use the local history of Killingworth to relate to national or global narratives such as George Stephenson and the birth of the railways and locomotives. This very much enabled our children to see the past being all around them and not just happening elsewhere.
As part of our Assembly overview, we focus on certain events / days or celebrations throughout the year. These may include such events as black history month, Remembrance day, local history month and Windrush day.
We also have an Amberley book spine where we include historical fiction as we know what an important role storytelling can play for pupils in bringing history to life.
We are proud to have been presented with 'The Local Heritage School award' and are now a Heritage School. To achieve this award our Year 5 classes explored 'How much heritage is on our doorstep?' with a predominant focus on George Stephenson and Victorian Killingworth. The children took part in a Heritage walk around Killingworth with a local historian to compare modern and historic maps and images. As part of this topic the children also visited Beamish.
Supporting and challenging pupils
At Amberley we are responsive to information about learning. We then adjust teaching to better match pupil need whilst maintaining high expectations for all, so that all pupils have the opportunity to meet expectations.
We follow 5 key principles to ensure high quality teaching benefits all pupils, including pupils with SEND.
Examples of scaffolds and support can be found in pupil books and may include word banks, helping hands sheets, simplified language, reduced text to read, multiple choice, providing sentence starters or vocabulary accompanied by images to name a few.
Challenge may include pupils being able to compare and contrast current learning with that of previous historical periods eg settlements of the Romans compared to Stone Age settlements.
We continually review and evaluate the impact that our history curriculum is having on our pupils.
Learning and making progress is knowing more and remembering more and we use a regular and robust monitoring and evaluation system to gauge the impact of our curriculum design.
From this, we may implement support to improve the curriculum offer:
Enquiry question and content review with the subject leader