History in the Curiosity Curriculum
History is all around us. The study of history ignites children’s curiosity about the past in Britain and the wider world. Through finding out about how and why the world, our country, culture and local community have developed over time, children understand how the past influences the present. History enables children to develop a context for their growing sense of identity and a chronological framework for their knowledge of significant events and people. What they learn through history can influence their decisions about personal choices, attitudes and values. At St Paul’s, our intent, when teaching history, is to stimulate the children’s curiosity in order for them to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding. Our aim is to celebrate local figures of interest (such as William Wilberforce) as well as introducing our children to great history heroes. We look locally to our history as well as beyond exploring other cultures as periods of time. Equally we look to challenge the mistakes of history and to learn from them. This is of particular reference to inequality and we are gifted with having such a strong, Christian example with William Wilberforce to highlight the historic struggles with slavery that are as much as struggle today with people trafficking. More importantly, it highlights inequality of opportunity which our school vision, of understanding others, robustly challenges. History is a unique vehicle to address some of these challenges either discretely in class or in broader terms across school life.
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, additional needs, to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. It is an enquiry led curriculum which is why we have called it the Curiosity Curriculum (focusing on one of our school values). Within the Curiosity Curriculum we teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. It is important that the children develop progressive skills of a historian throughout their time at St Paul’s and do not just learn a series of facts about the past. In History, pupils at St Paul’s, find evidence, weigh it up and reach their own conclusion. To do this successfully, as historians, they need to be able to research, interpret evidence, including primary and secondary sources, and have the necessary skills to argue for their point of view; skill that will help them in their adult life. Our progression map can be found on our website.
By the time the children St Paul’s leave our school they should have developed:
- A secure knowledge and understanding of people, events and contexts from the historical periods covered.
- The ability to think critically about history and communicate confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
- The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, forming and refining questions and lines of enquiry.
- A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways.
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements.
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.