At Springfield Primary School, history forms an integral part of our Footprints Curriculum. We believe that by learning about the footprints of the past, we can better understand the world we live in today and make informed decisions about the footprints we may leave in the future. Central to our approach to teaching history, is a belief that it is far more than a list of dates and events that must be memorised. We explore the past and learn about key periods by answering big questions. Within our classrooms, we follow rich lines of enquiry such as What is the lasting legacy of the Ancient Greeks? Studying history in this way inspires children’s curiosity, encourages them to ask critical questions and enables them to have a better understanding of the society in which they live and that of the wider world.
In our EYFS (Early Years), children will explore historical themes and content through the Understanding of the World strand of the EYFS curriculum. This involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places and time.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, children will start to develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They will start to know where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods. As they progress through the key stage, they will demonstrate a growing confidence and accuracy when using historical vocabulary, such as monarchy, explorer and artefact. In Year 1, children will be taught to identify changes within living memory, by examining how schools have changed over time. Our school building, which dates from 1900, will provide an excellent starting point for thinking about how schools how changed over time and a detailed investigation of the building will provide some excellent clues as to how children’s experience of school was very different in the past. Parents and grandparents will also be invited into our classroom to give a first-hand account of what school was like and how it was different in the living past. As they become more familiar with living memory, our children will begin to investigate events beyond living memory, to develop a growing sense of chronology and awareness of time and changes over time. As part of this focus children will study the Great Fire of London in Year 2 and investigate how the homes we see around us in London have changed over time. We will also study the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements: the great explorers Columbus and Armstrong and the first Queens – Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. Using literacy and drama, children will develop their ability to ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. Children will start to use, and begin to evaluate, some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
Key Stage 2
In Key Stage 2, children will continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. This chronology, or sequence of events, will be referred to throughout KS2 so that children become secure in their understanding of important historical events and eras. It will also enable them to begin to identify trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms such as ancient and civilization. As our children work towards answering the big questions that underpin our history curriculum, they will also have the opportunity to address and devise their own historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.
Children will be taught to select, organise, review and present relevant historical information. They will also begin to understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources and that the validity of these sources needs to be critically evaluated.
In Year 3, children will learn about the changes that happened in Britain from the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. They will also learn about the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain; both in the short term and to the present day. This study will be followed by an investigation of Britain’s settlement by the Anglo-Saxons and Scots. The study of these periods in the ancient age will culminate in Year 4 with a study of the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor. In addition to this focus on British history, we will study the achievements, beliefs and legacy of one of the earliest civilizations – Ancient Egypt. We believe that no child should leave primary school without delving into the Tudor period and encountering one of our most famous monarchs – Henry VIII. As part of their learning about the Tudor period, the children will focus on the famous explorer Sir Francis Drake which will lay the foundations for their later thematic study of empire and expansion. These periods of history will be studied in a broad chronological order, to help support children’s understanding of the sequence of events and trends, e.g. invasion and settlement, over time.
In Year 5, children’s study of ancient civilisations will be extended by a study of Ancient Greece, where children will explore Greek life, the major achievements of this society and its influence on the western world. This will be followed by a comparative study of childhood in Victorian times and the present day. By drawing these comparisons, children will be exposed to some of the most significant developments of the last two centuries, from children’s rights to technological breakthroughs. By the end of Year 5, our pupils will be ready to explore one of history’s greatest dilemmas: what lies at the heart of empire – exploration or exploitation? This thematic study will allow children to revisit their knowledge of ancient civilizations as well as key figures such as Christopher Columbus and Sir Francis Drake to make connections and draw conclusions.
In Year 6, we will study the impact of the World War I and the Zeppelin air-raids on our borough of Hackney. To further develop our understanding of the lasting impact of global conflict, our children will study the Battle of Britain. By studying this historical turning point, we explore how the present is shaped by the past. Posing ‘what if’ questions will reinforce the understanding that a key moment or event can completely alter the course of history. To conclude their primary history learning, our children once again broaden their perspectives by studying a non-European society that provides a contrast with British history, using the civilisation of Benin as the context of this comparison.