At Clerkenwell Parochial, we believe that the teaching of History is a key element in the development of a child’s understanding of the world they live in today. It is also instrumental in the development of a child’s identity, both within their own community and as a global citizen. Our own rich history within the context of our local area enriches us further, providing us with a narrative for the changing face of our own locality and of London over the last four-hundred years. We believe that History is an important tool in enabling our children to understand change and societal development throughout time, as well as analysing key decisions that were made and their impact. Furthermore, we aim to enable children to see how historical events have directly impacted their own individual lives within their own local contexts. We believe that all History is important and meaningful and that our children should be exposed to not only British History, but also World History and our own Local Area History. The study of the past also provides a model of good citizenship and children are given the opportunity to explore their own understanding of this.
We aim to teach skills that not only develop children into proficient historians, but are also transferable across the curriculum. This includes applying their learning to their own social, moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual development. We have developed a thorough and progressive curriculum that is built up term by term and year by year. This is to ensure that children are able to take a step further with their skills each time they work on a unit, which will in turn build up their skills for proficient application through their school years and into their further education, as well as in their everyday lives.
We aspire to develop keen historians through the use of well-structured enquiries that allow the children to investigate the past and explore its effect on the present day. Our effective teaching promotes the acquisition of key historical knowledge and skills, building upon prior learning and encourages the children to think for themselves. To give our children the greatest chance of success within each lesson, we facilitate a culture of investigation, problem solving and reasoning. We believe that the best learning takes place when children’s historical knowledge and historical thinking is developed to the point where they can begin to analyse and evaluate past events to form their own conclusions. This sets them firmly on the path to historical understanding. We also expect children to be using and applying their Literacy skills across all the Foundation Subjects, including within History.
At Clerkenwell, our units are selected from the National Curriculum and this selection process is based upon the interests of the children, units of study in other curriculum areas and their relevance to our children’s own lives within their own local contexts. These units cover an extensive programme of study based on Local, British and World History. We teach History in blocks throughout the year so that we are able to immerse children into each unit with as much depth as possible. The units are developed in such a way to link the past to the children's own lives and context within London and Britain. Each topic is taught in an exciting way in order to help knowledge ‘stick’; this includes the use of artefacts, information books, guest speakers, themed entry points and educational visits, making use of all London has to offer. As well as developing sound historical understanding and knowledge, we place equal importance in the progressive development of historical skills.
The following key skills are developed from Year 1 to Year 6:
Each unit is planned in detail by our teachers and overseen by the Subject Leader, as well as being headed by a ‘Big Question’ that needs to be answered by the end of the unit. Each ‘Big Question’ is selected in order to develop children’s understanding of how the knowledge they have acquired is related to them as individuals within their own local context. Both the knowledge and skills required for proficient understanding of the topic carefully identified and then taught through engaging, immersive and creative lessons. During the entry point of each new unit, the children are asked to identify what they already know about it, as well as considering what they would like to find out. Teachers then use this alongside the unit’s Big Question to develop a thorough and enquiry-based unit lead by the children’s curiosity. This is to ensure that learning is fun, progressive, interesting and 'sticky'.
Each year group is covering the following in History this year, identified by their ‘Big Question’:
- The Explorers - ‘How do we know about Antarctica?’
- Toys Through Time (with local area study) - ‘What toys did the adults in my life play with?’
- Seaside Holidays - ‘What was it like to live by the sea then and now?’
- The Great Fire of London - ‘How was London impacted by the Great Fire?’
- Life in the Victorian Times (with local area study) - ‘How has Grace Darling made the world a better place?’
- Civil Rights Movement - ‘How did Rosa Parks make the world a better place?’
Year 3 and Year 4
- The Ancient Greeks - ‘How have the Ancient Greeks influenced our world?’
- Rivers (History and Geography cross-over, with local area study) - ‘Why is London situated by the River Thames?’
- The Stone Age - ‘Who was the first to live in Britain?’
- The Tudors - ‘Would you rather have been upstairs or downstairs at Hampton Court Palace?’
- Life in the Victorian Times (with local areas study) - ‘what was Clerkenwell like when Charles Dickens came here?’
- The Wind Rush - ‘Would you have rushed to be on the Wind Rush?’
- World War II - ‘What were the main events of the war and who was effected?’
- Crime and Punishment (with local area study) - ‘How has Crime and Punishment changed through the ages?’
We are a school that is committed to inclusion and by ensuring all entry points of this nature are about what the children already know and want to find out, we are able ensure that all children’s different starting points inform our planning and teaching. We aim to close gaps in knowledge and skills where they are present through careful planning, resourcing and scaffolding, as well as setting challenged and pushing towards Greater Depth where attainment is very high. In order to make learning relevant and immersive, we carefully created a programme of study that links well with other curriculum areas, ensuring that connections can me made with Maths, Literacy, Science, Geography, RE, Computing, Art/DT and PSHE where relevant.
Whole School Local Area Project
At Clerkenwell, we have been are exploring our school’s heritage through a fascinating History and Geography project entitled ‘Clerkenwell: Who Do You Think You Are?’. This is a whole school project that will enable the children to delve into what makes Clerkenwell the school it is today and why it is so unique, feeding into our school’s vision. As part of this, we are looking at the architecture of our local streets, key historical figures linked to our school (Charles Dickens!), transport through the times, the social and economic issues faced by the area, how the area received fresh water and why, our local churches, Victorian school life and Crime and Punishment in the Clerkenwell area. Each teacher in the school is heading one of these areas and each class will spend one Friday morning over the course of Spring 1 with each teacher to cover everything. This project will develop our children’s sense of identity as part of our school and as citizens within the context of our locality.