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Humanities

Introduction

Through the teaching of history and geography, children should develop their interest, fascination and curiosity. Both history and geography are of central importance to understanding the world and our place in it. The teaching of history will help pupils develop coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Pupils should be encouraged to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils 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. Through the teaching of geography, pupils are able to develop a deep understanding of places, people, environments and the Earth’s and human processes. Their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.

Aim

The National Curriculum for History aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
  • know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

The National Curriculum for Geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.

Woodcote Primary School aims to ensure that children are experiencing a range of learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom to support the development of their learning skills and knowledge. Through developing pupil’s enjoyment, excitement and interest with enriching activities we are able build and encourage curiosity. Woodcote aims to deliver a challenging and ambitious curriculum to equip children with the skills, knowledge and understanding needed for their next stage of learning.

Curriculum/Scheme of Work

Woodcote Primary School uses Cornerstones history and geography objectives linked to half termly themes to support planning of a broad and balanced curriculum. As part of the planning cycle, teachers will adapt, deliver and link the learning across the wider curriculum to the children’s learning in reading and writing. The learning journey through the theme starts with a memorable experience, which is followed by a development of skills and knowledge from a range of curriculum areas. The learning from the theme is applied through an ‘Innovate Challenge’ at the end of each theme where children can demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills. Teachers will organise high-quality learning experiences within a theme giving the children opportunities to build upon their skills across the year.

Planning

The planning of history and geography takes into consideration what the children learn and how they will reach their end goal. Each theme covers several curriculum areas with a dominant focus. It is essential to use the knowledge organiser, innovate board, medium term plans and Cornerstones objectives as a starting point to focus on the knowledge and skills based on the objectives of the lesson. The units must be looked at as a whole throughout the year to plan and show progression of lessons. Teachers need to consider the specific needs of the children and their experiences in order to challenge and differentiate appropriately. When planning, teachers will need to consider opportunities for cross curricular links to build on prior knowledge or to apply and practice skills already taught. Teachers will plan opportunities for collaborative learning, building resilience and allowing children to demonstrate deep knowledge, skills and understanding. Children should be set tasks which require a variety of open-ended responses and tasks of increasing difficulty so that children are not all completing the same tasks.

Each theme follows the format of:

· Engage – the children take part in a memorable experience, start to read and research the new theme and ask their own enquiry questions.

· Develop – the children delve more deeply into a theme, develop an understanding of new concepts and skills, acquire new knowledge, practice and master new skills and re-visit previously learned skills.

· Innovate – the children apply skills, knowledge and understanding to real-life and imaginary contexts, show enterprise in solving problems and resolving situations, use their thinking skills to explore possibilities and build on their self-esteem and confidence.

· Express – the children perform, present and become the experts, evaluate finished products, processes and progress and link what they have learnt to starting points or initial observations.

Teaching

Each week, there are two afternoon sessions allocated to theme, some lessons will have a discrete focus whilst others may be built into English lessons. In each theme teachers build planned progression into the scheme of work so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school. There should be a clear focus on one or more of the key concepts which are shared with the pupils to identify objectives for learning through whole class teaching alongside opportunities for small group discussion tasks and independent research. We encourage children to ask, as well as answer, questions related to their theme. Teachers should have a focus on children developing their vocabulary, enquiry, observation, comparing and communication. Activities should inspire the pupils to investigate the world around them and to help them raise their own questions. There should be opportunities for children to investigate in order to become more independent learners with through child-led learning. Throughout all year groups, teachers should provide stimulating lessons to encourage higher level responses using a range of teaching styles to ensure learning is accessible for all.

Through the teaching of history lessons, children are encouraged to think as historians, examine historical artefacts and have opportunities to visit historical locations. Pupils need to be able to gather information from a variety of sources, understand how aspects of history have impacted present day and make connections and draw conclusions between historical events. Pupils should be given the opportunity to place events, people and changes into chronological order and consider how these changes have affected the world. Geography lessons should provide pupils with opportunities to investigate places, patterns and communicate geographically. Pupils should also be able to use a wide range of historical and geographical vocabulary. 

Differentiation

All children are given the opportunity to access the curriculum through providing differentiated and ambitious lessons with appropriate challenge and support. All pupils will be challenged including the more able. For children with SEN, tasks will be adjusted or pupils will be given support to access tasks. Children will be given different starting points for each lesson providing resources of different complexity and setting tasks of increasing difficulty. Using teacher assessment from previous lessons, some children may start independent tasks without teacher input, others may be set a challenge more suited to their needs. Tasks will be set that allow for a variety of open-ended responses.

Assessment

Teachers will use the knowledge harvests completed by children at the beginning of each theme to assess what the children already know and revisit the knowledge harvests at the end of each theme for children to add to showing progression throughout the theme. Ongoing assessments will take place through the sequence of teaching with teachers making observations of pupils during lessons and through marking, questioning and discussion with pupils and feedback on their written work. Teachers should plan and adapt lessons accordingly, planning in opportunities for assessment, considering what the children already know.

Appendices:

  1. Depth of Understanding
  2. Questioning
  3. Differentiation
  4. Sentence stems
  5. Key vocabulary
  • Glossary for each theme
  • Word mats for each theme
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