History has always been held in high regard at William Patten School. The school’s own rich history, within the context of the local area, is a celebrated and inspiring feature of the school. The history curriculum at William Patten draws from and makes full use of the immediate and wider local area, enabling children to develop a deep understanding of the rich history of their locality.
Topics are informed by the national curriculum and are sensitive to children’s interests, as well as the context of the local area. The history curriculum at William Patten is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy. In line with the national curriculum 2014, the curriculum at William Patten aims to ensure that all pupils:
History is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children achieve depth in their learning. The key knowledge and skills that children acquire and develop throughout each block have been mapped to ensure progression between year groups throughout the school. At the beginning of each new history topic, teachers refer to classroom timelines to develop children’s understanding of chronology. Each topic is introduced with reference to the chronology of previous topics (including those from previous years). The KWL strategy (What I Know, What I would like to know and what I have learnt) is used to check existing knowledge at the beginning of each history topic and this process informs a programme of study that is responsive to children’s interests. Key knowledge is reviewed by the children and rigorously checked and consolidated by the teacher. By the end of year 6, children will have a chronological understanding of British history from the Stone Age to the present day. They are able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives. Interlinked with this are studies of world history, such as the ancient civilisations of Greece and the Egyptians and early Islamic civilization.
Topic Vocabulary mats underpin children’s understanding of subject specific language, remind children of previous knowledge and provide visual and summative information on key knowledge to be learned. They support children in engaging in independent tasks. These are placed in books after their KW input and are used as a reference point as needed. In addition, they are made available to parents to support learning at home.
Within all sequences of lessons, teachers plan a phase of progressive questioning which extends to and promotes the higher order thinking of all learners. Questions initially focus on the recall or retrieval of knowledge. Questions then extend to promote application of the knowledge in a new situation and are designed to promote analytical thinking, such as examining something specific. In history, an example of this level of questioning might ask children to find a historical period on a class timeline, study an artefact from the time and infer what it is made from and what its use was and draw a conclusion about the people who made it.
Cross curricular outcomes in history are specifically planned for and these are indicated on the school’s progression mapping. The school’s own context is also considered, with opportunities for visits to places of historical interest and learning outside the classroom also identified and embedded in practice. Visits to the local area and use of local artefacts, such as the use of maps and photographs of bomb damage to the local area in WWII, also support contextualised learning, as well as the acquisition of key knowledge and systematic development of key skills.
Planning is informed by and aligned with the National Curriculum. In addition, staff have access to the Hamilton plans and resources. However, teachers’ lesson design is not limited by the scheme and teachers have access to further guidance from national agencies, including the History Association, of which the school is a member. The history curriculum is designed to ensure appropriate diversity in the significant figures that children learn about. Teachers cater for the varying needs of all learners, differentiating activities where necessary and as appropriate, and ensuring an appropriate level of challenge. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge. A record of this process kept in children’s books. At the end of the topic, children affirm what they know according to the key knowledge statements identified on the school’s progression map for history (as worded on the TV Mat of the topic). Teachers support the children and scaffold this ‘knowledge summary’ as appropriate, according to the children’s age group as well as individual needs. This process is used to consolidate the key knowledge of the topic and each strand of knowledge included in the outcomes is ticked or highlighted.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.
Outcomes in topic and literacy books evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge.
Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking and questioning and children demonstrate a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, in addition to being curious to know more about the past. Through this study pupils ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Regular heritage projects provide further relevant and contextual learning, engaging member of the community in children’s learning and providing positive role models from the community for children to learn from (including the development of meaningful resources, that are shared nationally to support excellence on the teaching and learning of history –
The school is a recognised ‘heritage School’ through its ongoing collaboration and links with Historic England and supports wider history teaching through its partnership working –
The school achieved a Mary Wollstonecraft School accreditation at the end of 2021-22, from the Wollstonecraft Society. This award recognises the school’s focussed approach to developing children’s knowledge and awareness of this local significant individual, and her influence and relevance to the local area.