The intent of the History curriculum at Larkspur is to develop in our pupils a deep understanding and appreciation of the past, enabling them to make connections, analyse sources critically, and apply historical knowledge to their own lives. We aim to ignite curiosity and a lifelong love for History, while fostering a sense of identity, cultural awareness, and historical empathy in our pupils. Our carefully curated curriculum focuses on key historical periods, events, figures, and concepts, allowing pupils to develop a coherent understanding of British history (on a local and national scale), from Stone Age to present day and of world history, including ancient civilisations. The curriculum is purposefully constructed to allow children to make links between periods of history and have a good chronological awareness of the past. We want our students to leave Larkspur with enquiring and broad minds and an understanding that the modern world we live in today is moulded by the actions and continuous movements of people from the past. And that our understanding is forever evolving.
History at Larkspur is shaped by the National Curriculum with three topics studied in each year group. At the beginning of the children’s learning for each history topic, teachers begin with an engaging ‘hook’ to stimulate curiosity and launch the enquiry process. The use of mind maps are in place for children to demonstrate their learning prior to any teaching of the new topic and these are revisited at the end to allow the learning to be reviewed and for all new knowledge to be highlighted.
Topics are led by an overarching enquiry question which then split into smaller enquiry questions which set the focus of lessons. The use of enquiry questions enables teachers to plan a coherent sequence of lessons, building knowledge systematically within well-organised frameworks. It thus helps pupils to see the links between one lesson and the next, and through sustained attention to a single question, to make connections, draw contrasts and analyse trends.
Retrieval practice is of great importance within Larkspurs history curriculum. After the first lesson children begin each lesson answering the previous enquiry question which is extremely effective in increasing the long-term retention of key historical knowledge. Within Year 1 retrieval is effectively carried out through continuous provision.
Teachers understand the key knowledge and skills of each topic throughout the school and work to embed the substantive concepts that are specific to Larkspur.
Teachers understand how history progresses throughout Larkspur, from Early Years where they are exploring their own family history through understanding the world; to KS1, where children are learning about significant events and figures with links to the local area; through to KS2 where the children explore British and world history through ancient civilisations. Our progression of skills document enables children to build on and develop their skills each year. Within KS2 our British history is taught in chronological order to allow children to confidently place each time period and continue to build on their previous knowledge and retell a narrative of events.
Throughout our planning we aim to provide children with opportunities to study artefacts and plan visits and visitors to enrich and enhance children’s learning and experiences.
As a school we also come together throughout the year to celebrate and honour events such as Black History month, Holocaust Memorial Day and Remembrance Day. To further embed historical knowledge we make meaningful cross-curricular links through reading and writing opportunities within other subjects. History is assessed throughout each unit using AFL, listening and reading children’s responses and key questions being asked. Children’s learning is formally assessed against non-negotiable statements linking to enquiry questions at the end of each topic.
Our History curriculum provides children with high quality and well-planned lessons, which encourage progression and engagement of children’s curiosity. The use of enquiry questions tailors’ children’s knowledge to an in-depth study and supports in the guarantee of children’s progression, development and understanding of the past. By the end of each topic children should be able to discuss their learning in detail, whilst also making comparisons and links to their prior learning throughout Larkspur. Our rigorous assessment using ‘I can’ statements alongside in-depth monitoring allow us to see the impact of teaching and learning, guide future planning and ensure that our standards of teaching are high. Children at Larkspur are expected to leave reaching at least age-related expectations within history and with enough historical knowledge and curiosity to provide them with a foundation for further learning as they move in to KS3.