Our Humanities Subject leader:
We aim to bring history to life at Towngate by immersing children in realistic experiences both in school and on exciting educational visits linked to our topic areas. Children have a real understanding of their place in history and concepts of when events happened in relation to each other are reinforced.
At Towngate Primary Academy, our History curriculum is designed to ignite children’s curiosity about the past through a topic-based approach and hands on experience wherever possible.
We are determined that alongside historical knowledge there will be a high focus on the development of specific historical skills. The teaching of history in our academy is intended to equip pupils to ask pertinent questions about the past, analyse evidence, think critically, appreciate different perspectives and develop informed judgements.
We believe our pupils should be taught to understand how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world. In addition, our bespoke curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to explore their own identity, for example, through local history topics.
Our History curriculum is intended to help pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups. We deliberately foster strong links with our PHSE/SEAL curriculum and British Values.
Our History curriculum covers the skills outlined in the National Curriculum through broad, challenging and inspiring topics. A topic based approach is used to deliver the content within a meaningful context and wherever possible cross curricular links are exploited, particularly links with geography, British values, out values based learning and SMSC. However, teachers make it explicit to the children that they are learning history skills and encourage them to think like ‘historians.’
At Key Stage 1: topics taught include learning about a range of famous people in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. For example, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong. These are chosen carefully to ensure pupils learn about individuals of both genders and from diverse backgrounds. Other topics consist of changes within living memory and events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally including the Great Fire of London and the first aeroplane flight.
Key Stage 2: The National Curriculum for History outlines that: Pupils should continue to develop chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. At Towngate Primary Academy a long term plan, with carefully constructed units of work covering the full range of skills, is in place in order to achieve this.
History is taught within each year group following a two year rolling programme. Medium term plans ensure coverage of both the required knowledge and the subject specific skills. Individual sessions are planned to inspire, engage and challenge pupils in response to their needs. Children are given a wide variety of experiences both in the classroom and out. We encourage school visits and visitors into school to enable the children to gain first hand experiences to support their learning. One element in the development of the pupils’ communication skills is for pupils to apply their writing skills within an extended written piece linked directly to their history theme.
Pupils are encouraged to think like historians and develop their skills including historical enquiry. There is a strong emphasis on developing children’s other skills such as understanding of chronology, interpretations of evidence, changes within a time and across time periods and cause and consequence.
The History units taught have been developed to help children appreciate their own identity and the challenges in their time. It will help them understand the process of change over time and significant developments
History assessment is ongoing to inform teachers with their planning, lesson activities and differentiation. Summative assessment is completed by all class teachers to inform leaders of individuals’ progress or skills that still need embedding further.
History is monitored by subject leaders throughout all year groups using a variety of strategies, such as book monitoring, lesson observations and pupil interviews to discuss learning and establish the impact.
These are some of the comments pupils have made about History at Towngate Academy:
"We get to ask lots of questions about key people. My favourite was learning about Florence Nightingale and how she helped look after injured people. Now we have the NHS." Year 1
"We enjoy learning about the past and finding out how people used to live." Year 1
"We are curious in all our lessons because we always want to find out more." Year 2
"We use different sources to find out information and facts about historical events. My favourite was learning about the Ancient Greeks." Year 3
"In our lessons we ask lots of questions. It is really interesting learning about the past and life before we were alive." Year 3
"History helps us to discover why the world is like it is today from past events. We learn using artefacts, photographs and visitors who help us understand what it was like before we were born. " Year 4
"We want to keep using our curiosity to know more about the past. We can ask questions to find out new things. My teacher sorts trips for us to go on so we can experience life in the past." Year 4
"In History, we show perseverance when we are trying to find out information and if we can't find it straight away we need to keep trying." Year 5
"People visit buildings and museums to find out about History. This allows people opportunities to discover more about History. When we've learnt History in school we tell family and friends about it and then we might get to visit new places to learn more about what we have learnt in school." Year 5
"We've learnt to be tolerant of other people's views when we are discussing History. We know that some sources are more trustworthy than others so we have to be careful when using primary and secondary sources to research." Year 6
"In our learning we have opportunities to use democracy to ensure everyone has an opportunity to have their say. We sometimes vote and know people can vote to share their opinion. Some people in the past haven't had the same chance or rights to vote - even now in some countries people still can't. " Year 6
"I think it's important to remember key people in history - like Harriet Tubman and how she used her courage to save others. We learnt that Mary Prince wrote about her experience of slavery- like Anne Frank when she went into hiding and wrote about it in her diary." Year 6.
Physical, human and environmental geography are taught through topic areas. The children are encouraged to immerse themselves in a variety of learning opportunities to secure their knowledge of places, processes and geographical skills. School visits and focused activities ensure that the children understand through experience and practical application.
At Towngate Primary Academy, it is our intention that Geography is taught through topic work, as part of a whole school topic-based approach to teaching and learning. This enables teachers to forge cross curricular links giving a meaningful context for the learning. However, teachers make it explicit to children that they are learning geography skills and that they are being ‘Geographers’.
Geography is important in our school as it provides a means of exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. We explore the relationship between Earth and its people. It stimulates curiosity and imagination. Wherever possible, we aim to build upon the child’s ‘Individual Geography’ by developing geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through studying places and themes.
Our progressive units of work are designed to be modified for our children and their experiences. Staff continually review and adapt work and learning to meet our children’s needs. Fieldwork sessions are incorporated into the units of work to actively engage the children in their learning.
The progressive skills learning challenges that are used, to plan and teach humanities, ensure that children are accessing work at age related expectations, with regular opportunities to be challenged through higher-level objectives.
At Key Stage 1, our pupils develop knowledge about their own locality in Ossett, the United Kingdom and the World. They can understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.
At Key Stage 2, pupils extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom, Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. Our pupils develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enrich their locational and place knowledge.
At Towngate Primary Academy children have humanities or topic books to enable the children to make cross curricular links.
The children’s learning and understanding is assessed according to the learning challenge age related expectations which directly links with the 2014 National Curriculum statements for Geography. This is both ongoing, to inform future planning, and summative to share with staff, leaders and parents. This ensures the pitch of lessons is well matched to individual children’s needs and that, by the end of each key stage, required content within the National Curriculum is adequately covered to prepare pupils for the next phase of their education. Leaders conduct book monitoring, lesson observations, pupil voice and interviews with the children to discuss their learning and establish the impact.
These are some of the comments pupils have made about Geography at Towngate Academy:
"In Geography, we ask and answer questions to learn new things about the World." Year 1
"We get to find out new things and explore new things about people and countries." Year 1
"We have learnt to look at maps and atlases to find places in the World and putting places on maps." Year 2
"Going on visits and walking in the local area make learning in Geography really fun and interesting." Year 2
"We used maps/atlases to explore where the cities are in the World." Year 3
"Geography learning allows us to learn about others and to remember/learn to be tolerant of others, especially from other cultures." Year 3
"We've learnt about capital cities in different countries around the World. We had to persevere to find them on maps and atlases." Year 4
"Geography lessons give us lots of opportunities to explore new people and places." Year 4
"In Geography when we work in pairs or groups we have to cooperate and work together." Year 5
"I have learnt to find places and read maps. I used to find it hard but because I persevered I can now do it." Year 6
"In Geography, we get to explore maps and find out more about the world we live in; we used a compass to complete an orienteering activity around our academy grounds. Some of use even used an ordnance survey map to locate physical and human features in our local area." Year 6
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