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Our Lady and St Rose of Lima Catholic Primary School home page

Our Lady and St Rose of Lima
Catholic Primary School & Nursery

Learning, Living, Loving Together in Christ


 Our ‘knowledge rich’ curriculum is coherently sequenced and provides the children with the essential skills needed to learn, explore and question key historical moments in time. The knowledge they gain is not only substantive knowledge of historical events, dates and people in the past, but also knowledge of substantive concepts in history (such as ‘empire’, ‘monarchy’ and ‘civil war’) and disciplinary historical concepts (such as evidence, causation, significance and interpretation).


Our history curriculum follows the National Statutory Framework for EYFS and the National Curriculum of years one to six. Our children begin to understand what the ‘past’ means in Nursery and through to Reception through the Understanding the World unit and then continues to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and World History as the children journey through the key stages. Through adopting a largely chronological approach to the curriculum design, the substantive knowledge taught in each unit forms a chapter in the history of Britain and the wider world.


We want our children to understand the causes of significant national and global events (such as World War I) and our curriculum provides them with the background knowledge of what happened before (such as the growth of European empires, including the British Empire. This enables a secure understanding of causation.


Our history curriculum interleaves substantive and disciplinary concepts across the year groups and enables the children to encounter and apply these skills in different contexts. It is crucial that our children are able to make connections and build upon their prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge; our curriculum enables this from year to year, unit to unit and lesson to lesson.


In Nursery, they begin to understand about what the ‘past’ means and explore their own family history, before moving on to looking at what the world was like over 200 million years ago. Even at this early age, the children begin to understand chronology through the use of timelines and the exploration of the prehistoric world. As they move into Reception, the children learn about key events and individuals in history and begin to understand the term ‘monarchy’ through their unit on Kings and Queens. This understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain is developed as they move through the key stages, starting in Year 1 where they learn more about the British Monarchs. They continue to build upon their knowledge of monarchy in British society throughout the rest of the curriculum, looking at the reigns of significant monarchs such as Henry II, Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I with a focus on understanding the transition from the autocratic and unlimited power of the monarchs, to the limited constitutional role of contemporary British monarch. Each British history unit taught, allows children to add to their understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain, the impact it had on the lives of the British people whilst giving them the opportunity to analyse the significance and legacy of each monarch.


Our curriculum provides a balance between looking at local, national and world history as we want our children to be able to explore and make the connections between significant events and people; and how they have influenced the modern world. The units studied ensure they have a secure overview of a particular historical period, before they study aspects in more depth. Most of our units consist of 6 lessons however, we recognise that some aspects of history, because of the complexity of the content, require more time to study the period in detail; where this occurs, our units are extended.


Throughout the curriculum, each year group studies at least one unit of British History where they look at significant ‘turning points’ that help children understand modern Britain. This begins in Reception where they are introduced to the Magna Carta through their ‘Kings and Queen’s unit. This is developed in Year 1 where they learn about the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and revisited again in Year 3, where they focus on the key substantive concepts of law, monarchy democracy and religion. In Year 4, ‘monarchy’ is referred to again as they learn about the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and, how the change in power during this period, paved the way for the modern day monarchy and parliament. The issue of power is then further explored in Year 5, where they learn about the building of the British Empire. Through these units, our children are not only able to develop a solid understanding of the political context of each period, but they will then embark on studying a wider range of contexts in more depth, including the cultural, social and religious context of the time.


Our curriculum has been designed so that, when looking at the history of Britain through the ages, we are able to apply this to a local context; thus enabling our children to understand our local area and the significant individuals and events that have helped shape Birmingham. In Year 2, through their ‘powerful voices’ unit, the children learn about George Cadbury and how, through the Cadbury business, he was able to make significant improvements in working conditions and housing for the local area. In Year 5, they learn about the Industrial Revolution and the impact that Watt and Boulton’s steam engines along with using secondary sources to understand the importance of Abraham Darby and Coal Brookdale during this period. In a similar way, when the children learn about the Victorians in Year 5, they look at Queen Victoria as a monarch, the British Empire during her reign and legal reforms, before using sources to understand the political context affecting the lives of ordinary Victorian people in Britain and in our local area.


By understanding history in a local context, we believe the children will gain a greater understanding of the history of the wider world. When learning about the Early British Empire and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the children recognise the influence that Britain had on the wider world and, as a consequence, how the wider world has affected Britain. Our children, through learning about the wider world, discover about fascinating ancient civilisations, the expansion and dissolutions of empires, and the achievements and atrocities committed by humankind across the ages.

A fundamental part of the curriculum is the way in which our children’s knowledge is retained and assessed. The use of knowledge organisers within each topic provides the children with the key vocabulary and learning points that they will encounter during the topic. These are accessed during each lesson and help form part of their prior learning activities. We believe prior learning and regular reassessment are a core element of our curriculum design as they not only provide the children with the tools to facilitate their knowledge recall, but also the teachers with a mechanism to assess their long term retention of key information.


Our curriculum has been designed so that all children are able to access the rich knowledge taught throughout each year group. We recognise the need to expose our children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to an extensive range of high quality vocabulary. Each lesson has therefore been designed to introduce and explain new vocabulary, including the origins of the words, to enhance their vocabulary. Tasks are adapted to ensure everyone is able to demonstrate their understanding during each lesson. Our use of technology throughout the curriculum, ensures that our children have immediate access to resources that will assist them with their learning and understanding.


It is our intention that our curriculum will ignite our children’s love for history and prepare them for KS3 and beyond. We want them to understand what it means to be a historian, to be able to ask questions, analyse sources and to begin to use their substantive knowledge to help them develop perspective. Our curriculum will enable them to make the necessary links between units and other subjects to gain a greater understanding of the past. Through their historical journey, we expose them to a wide variety of men, women and children who offer us a rich insight into life at particular times – from Aristotle to Martin Luther King, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Alan Turning. We want them to know that, in the same way that they could be future scientists or geographers, that they could be the historians of the future and that they are living in a time that may be studied by others in years to come.


By the end of Year 6, we want our children to be curious and knowledgeable young people, who hold a deep understanding and appreciation of the disciplines of history. We want them to know the events that have shaped our local area, our nation and the wider world and have the ability to use this knowledge to begin to formulate their own view-points and perspectives on the world we live in today.