History at Leven Valley aims to develop historical skills and concepts which can be transferred to any period of history being studied, in any area of the world. We want to equip the children with the ability to research information; question evidence; challenge sources of information; notice patterns and trends; and present findings effectively.
The curriculum is framed around seven strands of learning, which run through Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2:
Knowledge and Understanding of Events
People and Changes in the Past
Presenting, Organising and Communicating.
How do we teach History at Leven Valley?
The topics that we choose to study are linked to our theme each term. In Key Stage 2, these themes are on a four-year rolling cycle and in Key Stage 1, a three-year rolling cycle, to ensure that there is no repetition of topics within each subject area.
In Key Stage 1, we look at the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements, including people within our own locality.
Examples of this include studying the lives and experiences of Grace Darling, Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, Neil Armstrong and The Wright Brothers. We also study significant events in history, such as The Great Fire of London. Children are encouraged to look at episodes in history through the eyes of those living at that time, and to develop an understanding of how and why these events took place. Through the study of individuals and events, the children are also able to make comparisons between aspects of life in different periods of history and the present day.
In history at Key Stage 1, we also look at broader changes to society over a period of time. For example, we study how transport has changed across the world, tracking its development from Viking long boats through to bullet trains and futuristic vehicles. We look at how children's toys have changed, from spinning tops to games consoles. Through these studies, the children begin to understand how timelines can help us to make sense of history and begin to gain a simple understanding of chronology. We encourage the children to question why and how these changes came about, and to use photographs and artefacts to find out things for themselves.
In Key Stage 2, children continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history. Topics of study include:
- The Stone, Bronze and Iron Age
- The Romans
- The Egyptians
- Anglo-Saxons and Vikings
- World War Two
- Local history
Building upon the skills taught at Key Stage 1, the children learn to challenge the historical sources that they are given, and to ask questions of the evidence with which they are presented. We encourage children to take on the role of the historian- finding out things for themselves, handling artefacts and visiting sites of historical interest. Wherever possible, we aim to immerse the children in the event or time period that they are studying: taking opportunities to visit museums and exhibitions, dressing up in the clothes worn at the time, and re-enacting events and experiences.
Children in Class 2 and 3 dressed up to take part in an evacuation day, as part of their learning around the topic of World War Two. They took the steam train to Lakeside where they met their host families.
As a school, we ensure that the children have access to a wide range of books and online resources that link to the history topics studied in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Each term, we receive books from the Cumbria Library Service, which have been carefully chosen to match our current themes. Children are taught new historical vocabulary that is linked to each topic, and are encouraged to use this in their writing and discussion. Knowledge organisers, word mats and displays support the children in remembering and using this new vocabulary.
What is the impact of history teaching at Leven Valley?
Children enjoy history lessons at Leven Valley and are inspired and enthused to find out more about the past. With the skills and knowledge gained through history lessons, the children are able to spot patterns and note trends between changes that took place across different locations around the world and across different time periods. They begin to see how these historical events and individuals have had an impact on their own lives and experiences, and see the significance of learning the lessons of the past.