Medway Sports Awards – Primary School of the Year – Bronze
“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
At Lordswood School, we are teaching children to think like historians! We believe that history is all around us and that the study of history will ignite children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Our intent, when teaching history, is to stimulate the children’s curiosity in order for them to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding. Our history curriculum provides children with opportunities to ask perceptive and challenging questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift through arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. In history, our children are taught metacognitive strategies which empower them to think about their own thinking which gives them an awareness of the learning process; enhances their control over their own learning and personal capacity for self-regulation; and manage their own motivation for learning. Through the teaching of history, we endeavour to teach children 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. Afterall, what they learn through history will influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values. At Lordswood, we place an emphasis on examining historical artefacts and primary sources. Where appropriate, children are given the opportunity to visit sites of historical significance. such as Leeds Castle and Hampton Court Palace. We work closely in partnership with our local museums and library; encourage visitors to come into the school and talk about their experiences of events in the past so to enhance lessons. We recognise and value the importance of stories in history teaching and we regard this as an important way of stimulating interest in the past.
We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they are encouraged to ask searching questions. We believe that teaching history in this way is important in broadening children’s horizons, challenging preconceived ideas and developing life skills in order to prepare them for secondary school and beyond.
In order for the children at Lordswood to gain a deeper understanding of topics and develop skills more effectively, we have adopted a number of strategies and tools:
- A subject blocking system with a full week focus for each subject area at least three times a year.
- Planning that covers all aspects of the National Curriculum and is carefully linked to other subject areas to create a more immersive experience for the pupils during each term.
- History topics link directly to our English ‘Power of Reading’ texts such as Treason-Tudor; Goodnight Mr Tom- World War 2; Street Child- Victorians; The Thieves of Ostia- Romans etc
- Lessons planned according to the key skills identified by the subject lead, which are embedded into learning objectives and progress both throughout each year and from year to year.
- Our skills progression grids allow teachers to plan lessons, considering prior knowledge and skills covered in previous years.
- Metacognitive approaches are embedded into lessons to allow the children to organise their thinking and prior knowledge, as well as giving them opportunities to question more deeply and reflect on their own learning and how they will use it moving forward.
- We plan for effective use of educational visits and visitors, to enrich and enhance the children’s learning experience and the history curriculum. Children have opportunities to immerse themselves in History and act out historical events both in school with ‘Now Press play’ and out on visits.
- Prep-For-Learning tasks are set for pupils to obtain key knowledge ahead of lessons, so that more practical, skills-based lessons can be planned.
- Teachers are provided with regular opportunities to develop their own subject knowledge through sharing good practice, CPD, peer observation and visiting experts
In addition to providing in depth and engaging lessons in and out of the classroom, the celebration of Black History Month, Roman Day, VE Day, American Day, Tudor Day and other enriching activities allow our children to have real life experiences and learn about history in an active and creative way and therefore visitors and trips form a fundamental part of our curriculum. These days are planned and organised by our own children via our Pupil Parliament thus giving the children a voice in designing their own curriculum. The teaching of history at Lordswood School utilises links with a number of other subjects and develops a range of more generic pupil skills in order to enhance the history curriculum and support general pupil progress in a range of areas. The planning of learning always begins with the skills, then knowledge that needs to be taught, in order to build upon prior learning. Enrichment opportunities are carefully designed through the planning process to apply learning. As a school, children are encouraged to adopt our ‘Characteristics of Griffin Great’ in order to be: independent, courageous, proud, curious and persevere with all tasks. PSHE lessons and the use of metacognitive tools provide opportunities for the children to refine these skills.
Children at Lordswood are confident and can articulately talk about the skills and knowledge they have acquired using subject specific vocabulary. Pupil voice demonstrates that pupils enjoy history and are able to recall their learning over time. Children positively engage in their history lessons and are motivated to extend their learning to complete research independently through projects and prep-for-learning, to further develop their knowledge and understanding. Children’s work demonstrates that history is taught at an age-appropriate standard across each year group, with opportunities planned for children to dive deeper into concepts (greater depth). Work is of a high quality and demonstrates pupils are acquiring knowledge, skills and vocabulary in an appropriate sequence. Children become historians and learn to think critically, asking perceptive questions and evaluating evidence to influence the decisions they make in their lives in the future. The school environment reflects a history-rich curriculum through displays (showing future career opportunities), resources, vocabulary and other stimulating artefacts. Achievements celebrated through our Gold book, Wow work and social media, promote history in the wider community.
Assessments and regular ‘Week in Learning’ reviews demonstrate high standards in history and ensures skills and a wide range of topics are being covered within lessons; cross-curricular links are being made where possible; differentiated work set as appropriate and matches standards in other subject areas. An exemplary portfolio of work shows progression across the school. Children’s understanding of topic-linked vocabulary, assessed before and after the unit taught, reflects their increased knowledge and understanding. Effective feedback which extends, challenges and questions children’s thinking against the school’s feedback policy is clearly visible in children’s books. Regular assessment using Target Tracker, reviewed by the subject lead, ensures coverage of key knowledge and skills from the National Curriculum. The impact of this curriculum design leads to outstanding progress over time across key stages, relative to a child’s individual starting point and their progression of skills. They appreciate the changes and diversity in society and the relationships between different groups and their own identity and the challenges of their time. Children leave Lordswood as historians, equipped with the skills and knowledge for the next stage of their education and beyond.