History Curriculum Intent

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Our pupils learn best through experiential learning and our history curriculum supports and promotes this. At Usworth Colliery, we aim to bring history alive for the children. We believe that learning history is not merely remembering when events happened but the study of how to be a historian. This underpins our approach to the subject, where historical skills are taught explicitly and knowledge is imparted through investigation and application of these skills. Through this approach, our children will develop more critical thinking skills, learning how to ask good questions and weigh up evidence. We invite history specialists in to school to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, visit places of historical interest to widen children’s experiences and explore primary and secondary sources hands on in order to engage them and enrich their learning.  Through studying local themes and people, our children are encouraged to appreciate their own place in the world and the events that have led to this to help instil a sense of pride in their heritage and community. Through the experiential approach, pupils are offered a curriculum which is exciting, engaging and ambitiously designed to develop values that will serve them throughout their school life and beyond – to be curious, respectful, flexible and critical in their thinking.  To widen the aspirations of our young learners, they are regularly exposed to a range of experiences to ensure that they all gain the knowledgeskills and cultural capital they need for future learning, future employment and to succeed in life.


To promote resilience and independence, our history curriculum encourages pupils to adopt a growth mind-set in order to learn from mistakes and develop as learners. We encourage the children to appreciate how our lives today are a result of learning from both the successes and failures of the past. In growth mind-set, we know mistakes help us to learn, likewise society today has been influenced and learnt from past mistakes. Our aim is also to show the children that the human world has changed continuously throughout and time and will continue to do so in the future; there is no such thing as ‘just the way things are’. To promote tolerance and respect, our history curriculum develops children’s understanding of different cultures and their past. Through studying different cultures and eras, the children are encouraged to consider the similarities and differences between our own and other cultures’ histories. In doing so, our curriculum helps children gain a greater understanding, tolerance and appreciation of others whilst also helping the children to develop their understanding of the context of their own lives and how we are connected to others, enabling them to make more informed decisions for themselves.


Our history curriculum is based on the expectations of the national curriculum and is designed to be both progressive and matched to the needs and interests of our children. It starts with what the children already know and what they would like to know, added to this is what they need to know and from this a bespoke, coherently planned and sequenced curriculum is created. Long term plans are designed to be developmental and progressive and each new topic or learning experience builds on the skillsknowledge and understanding previously taught. Enquiry questions are used to foster children’s curiosity and encourage children to be independentactive and resilient learners.  To encourage the children to be flexible and critical in their thinkingthey are encouraged to consider sources with an open and unbiased mind. Our curriculum encourages the children to be curious and to have the confidence to question, to consider the validity and relevance of evidence, and not just take facts at face value. In doing so, they are developing the skills and knowledge needed for future learning and employment.

Our Curriculum creates learners who are:

History in the Early Years Foundation Stage

In the Early years Foundation Stage, history forms part of the ‘Understanding the World’ category. Through engaging with photos and stories, the children will begin to make sense of their own life story and that of their families. They will be guided to develop an understanding that things have happened in the past, including before they were born. Through discussion and role play, pupils are regularly encouraged to ask questions and use the language of time to find out about events in each other’s lives. Investigation of historical photographs, books and artefacts, will allow the children to begin to identify similarities and differences between the past and the present. This will be supplemented by a number of high-quality texts, which deal with changes over time for different people from different cultures. Simple sequencing skills will be developed through offering the children the opportunity to sequence different events and begin to develop their critical thinking skills. A number of trips in the local area will encourage the children’s interest in the topics and will guide them to begin asking questions about the past. All of these will help give the children an introduction to the key skills they will be practising and applying in KS1 and beyond.