History at Otford will help pupils to understand how the past can be divided up into different times, and to recognise and understand that there are similarities, differences and connections between eras. It will develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past within Britain and the wider world; how and why some things change and some remain the same, why events take place and the outcomes that follow. Pupils will have the opportunity to learn about the impact that events from the past have had on the modern day with British values threaded through. We provide a framework of historical skills for the pupils to draw from which will equip them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement and ultimately inspire pupils’ passion and curiosity to know more about the past. Artefact handling, problem solving with source material, day trips, themed events and visiting speakers all contribute to make the subject a vivid and stimulating area.
In the Early Years, pupils observe changes in their personal experience, talk about past and present events in their own lives and build up everyday vocabulary related to time. As pupils progress through the school they look at changes within living memory, as well as studying significant events in the past. They learn about significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Through stories, drama, artefacts, art assemblies and trips, they also focus on comparing their own experiences to significant events and periods further back in history. By the end of Key Stage 2 pupils will have developed a chronologically secure knowledge of British, local and world history, understanding how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources. Alongside this the children will engage in questions about change and cause and make informed responses.
Historical enquiry is the process of asking questions about the past and finding answers by exploring the sources left behind from the past. It involves children becoming ‘history detectives’ who ask questions and search for answers by sifting through evidence. As their skills develop, children can move to a more rigorous form of enquiry involving the development and testing of hypotheses. Historical enquiries can focus on a significant individual, an event or a change. Meaningful learning occurs when children are challenged to think critically when analysing evidence from the past.
The framework we use for a historical enquiry has a number of stages. Each stage can be revisited at any time during the enquiry:
• Ask questions
• Use evidence
• Suggest initial hypotheses
• Reflect and discuss
• Test hypotheses – use further evidence
• Make judgements
• Conclude and communicate