“We are not makers of History. We are made by History.”
Martin Luther King, Jr
What we teach
At Mersey Park Primary School, we have developed a broad and ambitious History curriculum, which meets the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum and the EYFS Statutory Framework. Our History curriculum is rich in knowledge and skills. We teach the pupils about a range of cultures and encourage them to develop an enquiring and critical outlook on the world, giving pupils knowledge about issues at a local, national and international level from the ancient era through to the present day. This range of history offers the opportunity to explore different people’s perspectives on issues and events and think critically about the world in which they live. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced to give students a broad understanding of the chronological development of British history, as well as being able to make links to other societies, cultures and world events, starting from the immediate past in the early years through to the Stone Age in year 6.
We encourage an inclusive school environment and ensure that all pupils, including those most vulnerable and those who are disadvantaged, have the opportunity to access the full and broad curriculum through carefully adapted teaching, with planned support and scaffolding as required.
How we teach it
In the Foundation Stage, our pupils are given opportunities to discover and learn about the world they live in. The History element of the children’s work is related to the Knowledge and Understanding of the World objectives set out in the EYFS Statutory Framework.
In Key Stage One, History develops pupil’s knowledge of the similarities and differences between ways of life in different time periods, drawing comparisons with modern life, in accordance with the KS1 National Curriculum.
In Key Stage Two, History extends pupil’s skills to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study, in accordance with the KS2 National Curriculum.
We endeavor to provide our pupils with opportunities they may not otherwise experience, which bring our History Curriculum to life with trips to local museums or areas of significant historical interest, for example visiting Chester while studying the Romans. In recent years, we have also arranged visits from local historians to talk to the children about certain topics and offer a range of perspectives.
A key part of our History curriculum is the study of important historical figures. We ensure we provide children with the opportunity to learn about a diverse range of significant individuals throughout the Key Stages and look at how these individuals have contributed to the world we live in today.
Knowledge of key components within History, such as Monarchy, Leaders and Government and Invasion and Settlement, are identified and progression carefully planned to enable pupils to ask leading questions, analyse information and convey their views in a methodical and structured way.
Subject overviews ensure all subjects are carefully mapped out throughout the year to ensure effective spaced practice and regular repetition.
Lesson objectives are taken from the National Curriculum and developed to match the topic theme and ensure a broad and balanced curriculum. From these lesson objectives Key Learning is then highlighted and this learning is regularly revisited and forms the basis of the end of unit assessment.
Each topic starts with the children completing their ‘What do I know?’ bubble. This is an opportunity for the children to think about what they already know about a topic and activate any prior knowledge. This also allows the teacher to assess pupils’ starting knowledge and adapt their teaching as necessary.
The teaching of key subject specific vocabulary is a high priority across the school. Vocabulary is carefully selected to ensure progression and repetition to endeavor to embed this in to long term memory. It is revisited each lesson and using our ‘we know’, ‘we’ve heard of’ and ‘we don’t know yet’ vocabulary displays the children have an opportunity to revise, secure and develop their subject specific vocabulary knowledge. Vocabulary is modelled throughout the topic to build confidence and children are encouraged to speak like historians. This will ensure pupils access and apply high level vocabulary with increasing rigour over their time at Mersey Park. We also plan opportunities for P4C sessions throughout our History curriculum to allow pupils to debate important historical issues and express their opinions about how these events have shaped the world we live in today.
Each History lesson starts with a mini-quiz, which revises prior knowledge and embeds important facts into children’s long-term memory. These quizzes are informal and allow teachers an opportunity to address misunderstandings and highlight key areas, which need more revision. Short assessments are undertaken by the children at the end of each topic to check for gaps and revise important facts if required. This information is then used to inform future teaching and for teachers to adapt and edit planning as required. End points are taken from the History aims in the National Curriculum and are looked at every term, and with some objectives discussed and revisited every lesson.
Our Mersey Park knowledge organisers, created to carefully link to our planning, along with quizzes each lesson help the children to retain new knowledge and recall previous learning. Use of knowledge boxes in each class filled with key questions support repetition and help to embed important knowledge from previous topics. Assessment, linked to Key Learning is used regularly to gauge knowledge retention and understanding. Where there is a particular concern over knowledge retention key questions are added to the knowledge box to be revisited regularly. Class teachers record assessment outcomes using our tracking grid and the subject leader analyses gaps in knowledge and skills. Actions are identified and followed up.
Subject leaders play an important part in the success of the curriculum by leading a regular programme of monitoring, evaluation and review. They regularly hold pupil interviews in order to check on knowledge and skill acquisition and retention. Subject leaders are provided with regular opportunities to further improve their own subject knowledge through CPD opportunities and attending local cluster group meetings. Subjects are planned to ensure progression of knowledge and skills throughout their primary education.
Teachers are provided with regular opportunities to develop their own subject knowledge through sharing good practice, peer observation, professional development and visiting experts.
SMSC through History
Humanities subjects are focused on people and their relationships and, therefore, are well placed to contribute to the children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education. In lessons the children are given the opportunity to either consider the needs and experiences of others, or their own personal responses to events, problems and changes. Teachers encourage children to discuss and debate controversy within the classroom. We encourage children to enquire, consider and question in lessons and beyond.
The idea of truth is central to History that uses sources. Children show a willingness to reflect on past events and how they shape life in modern day England through various topics, e.g. The Gunpowder Plot, The Victorian Empire and The Roman invasion of Britain
Children have the opportunity to develop their understanding of democracy within lessons.
The children understand the wide range of cultural influences such as when studying the legacies of the Ancient Greeks.
Social and moral issues are regularly discussed through Philosophy for Children within History such as The Gunpowder plot, Remembrance and Victorian Entertainment.
The progression of key knowledge taught through school includes ‘Achievements and Follies’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’, giving children to opportunity to discuss and reflect on various issues.
The impact of our History curriculum is that our learners are equipped with the historical knowledge and understanding that will enable them to be ready for the secondary curriculum and for life as an adult in the wider world. The children will be able to discuss their learning and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through a range of activities. They will be able to recall facts and make links between time periods through knowledge of historical concepts. They will apply critical thinking skills when analysing sources of information and take a broad and balanced view when presented with important issues.
End of topic assessments cover the exact knowledge taught within the unit of work. These assessments are used to gauge an understanding of what knowledge has been retained and what needs further repetition to embed it in the pupils’ long-term memory.
Pupils will talk confidently about their learning using a range of historical vocabulary.
In the Early Years, children will be able to talk about the past and present and begin to use simplified timelines to show a typical day. By the end of Key Stage One, children will begin to use timelines more efficiently to show the history of a significant individual’s life and will know the difference between living memory and beyond living memory. Children in Year 2 will be able to discuss key significant events from the past and how they have affected our lives today. At the end of Key Stage Two, children will have a clear knowledge of the British timeline and how the different civilisations have changed the way we live. They will be able to talk in depth about the key aspects of certain topics throughout British history and certain significant individuals within the topics. Timelines will be used effectively and consistently by the children to show an understanding of chronology.
Outcomes in topic books evidence a broad and balanced History curriculum and demonstrate children’s acquisition of identified key historical knowledge and skills.
Long Term Overview
History at Mersey Park
In Foundation 1 the children begin to make sense of their own life-story. They are encouraged to talk about special events as they occur in their life such as Bonfire Night and Birthday celebrations as well as talking about past events and memories. They find out about Remembrance Day and why the poppy is a significant symbol. They also create a class timeline and add to it each month to remember key things in their F1 year.
In Foundation 2 the children explore and talk about how they have changed since they were babies. At Harvest time the children look at the ways crops are harvested today and through looking at images compare it to the past. The children sort toys from the past and toys today. The children compare familiar buildings in their local area. They observe the new hospital building and the old church. The children share some stories that begin to help them develop an understanding of life at Christmas time in the past. The children enjoy finding out about Christmas time in the past. They make pomanders using tangerines and cloves. They compare them to their own Christmas decorations.
In Year 1 the children learn about the history of toys. They compare old and new toys and talk about how technology has developed to create more advanced toys. They look at the different materials used to make old and new toys and make comparisons. They think about toys which people played with a long time ago that are still played with today. They create a toys timeline and discuss the evolution of toy technology.
Year 2 start their history journey by learning about different modes of transport and how cars, planes and trains have evolved over time. They create timelines to show the progression in development of these different technologies. They make comparisons and discuss how the development of these modes of transport have impacted on trade links. They learn about significant events in history related to transport such as the first moon landing by Neil Armstrong and the first female solo flight to Australia by Amy Johnson.
They then start their topic of Fire Fire where they learn about The Gunpowder Plot. They learn about when this happened and how this event took place beyond living memory. They also talk about why Guy Fawkes wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They take part in a P4C discussion about, ‘Should you always follow your friends?’. They also create a story map pf the events of The Gunpowder Plot and act out the events.
In Year 3 the children look back in time to different historical landmarks within the UK and specific places on the Wirral. The children visit Birkenhead Park and learn about the history behind the park. They discover why this was such an important place to people.
Year 4 learn about the Roman Empire, its beginnings and lifestyles including Emperors, Gladiators, slaves and the army. They learn about Britain at the time of the Roman invasion and find out about the names of towns created by the Romans such as Bath, London and Chester. Year 4 also find out about the legacy of the Romans- calendar, money, roads, aqueducts, architecture, bureaucracy and rules. The highlight of this history topic is the trip to Chester, where they examine Roman artefacts in the Dewa Museum and also march around the city to see the remains of the Amphitheatre with a Roman legionary.
In Year 5 the children learn about Ancient Greece. They start their topic by creating a timeline including all the significant historical periods they have previously studied and learn about key significant dates, people and events. They have the opportunity to handle artefacts and discuss their uses. Within each lesson thereafter, they gain an understanding of a different legacy from the Ancient Greeks have left and its impact they have had on the modern world. They then discuss the most important legacy to them.
In Year 6 the children complete a pyramid investigation. They compare Egyptian pyramids to Mayan temples, looking at similarities and differences. They create their own timelines during their study of Ancient Egypt. They consider key dates in Ancient Egyptian history and look at other powerful civilisations around that period.
In Foundation 1 the children think about the moon and space. They find out about who the first people to walk on the moon were.
In Foundation 2 the children use the story of Little Red Riding Hood to investigate household items from the past. They explore how things used to be cooked and cleaned, how we had light and kept warm before electricity and more traditional seating at dining tables and in living areas.
In Year 1 the children locate their locate area Tranmere on a map. They research which significant buildings they would find in Tranmere and learn what they were used for in the past and still used for today.
In Year 2 the children continue with their Fire Fire topic. They find out about The Great Fire of London and who the significant people involved where. They record the events on a timeline of the events that happened during and after the disaster. They gain an understanding of how fire fighters and their equipment has changed from the past to now.
In Year 3 the children learn about the importance of the history of Liverpool as a port for trade with a focus on the import and export of food. They look at how transport on the Mersey River has changed over time. They find out about the culture of Liverpool and the impact this has had on the wider world.
In Year 4 the children learn the legacies of the Romans on Britain and the impact of the Romans on the languages spoken in the countries where they settled. As part of this work they look at the events before, during and after Mount Vesuvius erupting. Then read the text ‘Escape From Pompeii’ and write a diary entry. They learn about trade links over time.
In Year 5 the children research a specific earthquake from history (e.g. San Francisco, USA, 18.4.1906), placing the time of the event in context with other historical periods that they have studied. They create a report/presentation that outlines the timeline of the earthquake and the main events, with reference to the impact at the time and the lasting impact in modern times. The pupils will research a specific volcanic eruption from history (e.g. Mt Vesuvius, Italy, 79 AD), placing the time of the event in context with other historical periods that they have studied. They create a report/presentation that outlines the timeline of the eruption and the main events, with reference to the impact at the time and the lasting impact in modern times.
In Year 6 the children learn about the significance of water in the local environment. They learn about the trade links provided by the River Mersey over time and the industry that was developed along its Wirral and Liverpool banks. They learn about the change to the channel of the River Dee and the impact on the settlement of Parkgate over time.
In Foundation 1 the children enjoy looking back at the timeline of events for their fun filled year they have had in school.
In Foundation 2 the children finish the year with a Pirate topic. They learn about and create their own skull and crossbones flag, talk about maps from the past and what they show and discuss how pirate boats from the past look different to today’s boats.
In Year 1 the children explore Seaside holidays in the past. They look at when seaside holidays became popular, entertainment that you would have seen at the seaside and how the clothes you would have worn at the beach have changed over time.
In Year 2 the children discover a mystery box which contains artefacts from the school a long time ago. They learn about schools in the past and how they compare to school today.
In Year 3 the children find out about our local village of Port Sunlight. They explore how it became the town it is today and look at a timeline of the important people who influenced Port Sunlight village.
In Year 4 the children find out about how the Anglo Saxons lived and create some amazing posters while doing it. They learn about Anglo Saxon crime and punishment and act out the capture and punishment of a criminal.
In Year 5 the children are lucky enough to have a real Maya archaeologist come to visit. They see a whole host of different artefacts and learn many amazing facts about the Ancient Maya. They also compare life in the Maya civilisation to life in the Anglo-Saxon times focusing on key areas like houses and lifestyles.
In Year 6 they look at lots of Stone Age artefacts to find out information about how they farmed and lived. They also look at different hillforts, it is very interesting to look at different maps of them and discuss why they were designed and built the way that they were.
FOUNDATION SUBJECT REPORT TO GOVERNORS – HISTORY