History at Biggin Hill Primary School is taught through the Learning Challenge curriculum. The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work. It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point. Each year group plans around three big questions a year related to the history guidance from the government and Learning Challenge website. In designing the curriculum, teachers and learners are using a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre-learning tasks, the new National Curriculum and the school’s context, a series of subsidiary challenges are then planned. Each subsidiary learning challenge is also expressed as a question.
Teachers begin a new topic question using a Pre-Learning Task. Pre-Learning Tasks ensure that learners are directly involved in the planning process. Well planned pre-learning tasks should help to bring out what learners already know, what misconceptions they may have and what interests them. Teachers then take account of the outcome from Pre-Learning Tasks to plan the subsidiary learning challenges for each lesson.
At the end of each big question, pupils are given time to reflect on their learning. Learners are asked to think about and present their learning as a ‘Time to Shine’ document, evidencing everything they have learnt. The children enjoy looking back through their work and learning for the topic! The ‘Time to Shine’ can include: timelines, key vocabulary, did you know facts, pictures, labelling, key learning. Learners also complete an end of unit quiz and look at key vocabulary. The curriculum has been chosen in a way that the children are delivered an enriching and stimulating history curriculum.
Biggin Hill Primary strives for our children to have an understanding of the different periods of history and where these fit on the timeline, making links with what children have previously been taught.
Biggin Hill Primary endeavours for our children to feel enthusiastic to go home and want to research more about their topic, hence why homework is very much enquiry based. Biggin Hill equips our children with key life skills, such as creative thinking, independence and empathy when researching and learning about past events.
During the year, the children cover several big topics and therefore subsidiary questions related to the Early Years outcomes under understanding the world. EYFS look at:
- Their personal history
- How they have changed (‘Ourselves’ topic)
- How ways of life have changed (‘People who help us’ topic)
- How the world has changed (‘Dinosaurs’ topic)
- Who was famous when my Mum and Dad were little? (Black History Month)
- Toys: Why is the Wii more fun than grandpa and grandma’s toys?
- Childhood now and then: What has changed since our Grandparents were young?
- Why were Neil Armstrong and Christopher Columbus very brave people?
- Did a dragon start the Great Fire of London? - London local study
- What were the people who lived here 100 years ago like?
- Stone age - Who first lived in Britain?
- What did the Victorians do for us? - local history
- Has Greece always been in the news?
- Why were the Romans so powerful and what did we learn from them?
- Who were the early lawmakers?
- Why were Norman castles certainly not bouncy?
- Why should gunpowder, treason and plot never be forgotten?
- How can we rediscover the wonders of Ancient Egypt?
- How could Hitler have convinced a nation like Germany to follow him?
- Why should the world be ashamed of slavery?
- Were the Vikings always victorious and vicious?
- Who were the Mayans and what have we learnt from them?
Enriching the curriculum
In November 2019, there was lots of fabulous learning going on in every year group about famous, inspirational black women for Black History Month. Each year group carried out research and completed some fantastic writing (biographies and letter writing, for example). Amazing art took place across the school, for example Year 5 created a class portrait of Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Johnson (the brilliant minds of NASA!) which linked to Year 5’s Literacy book (Hidden Figures).
In November 2014, BHPS celebrated Black History day by inviting in an African culture company to complete workshops with the children. Key Stage Two children took part in an African drumming workshop which the children loved. They enjoyed learning how to play the drums in different ways and learning how they were made. EYFS and Key Stage One took part in an African stories and rhyme workshop where they listened to a story about animals that live in Africa. The children role played the animals and re-told the story.
In class, children learnt about famous black people and their achievements alongside making kente cloth patterns and other art related activities.
During the years, ‘Off the Page History Company’ and ‘Portals to the Past’ come into school and engage the children in whole day history workshops based on different eras of time. We have seen Romans, Egyptians and Vikings in school. The children have the chance to dress up as a person from history and take part in several activities during the day related to that time in history.
Key stage 1
Pupils should develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They should 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. They should use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes within living memory - where appropriate, these should be used to reveal aspects of change in national life
- events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]
- the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods [for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell]
- significant historical events, people and places in their own locality
Key stage 2
Pupils should 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. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms. They should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They should understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers should combine overview and depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.
Pupils should be taught about:
- changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
- the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain's settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
- a local history study
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils' chronological knowledge beyond 1066
- the achievements of the earliest civilizations - an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and a depth study of one of the following: Ancient Sumer, The Indus Valley, Ancient Egypt, The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
- Ancient Greece - a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
- a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300