We are not makers of history.
We are made by history.
—Martin Luther King
Our investigations into historical events and people teach our pupils to be critical thinkers. Our carefully chosen topics allow pupils to research, study a range of sources, discuss, compare and contrast and present their findings in a critical way. This allows learners to understand key historical concepts such as interpretation, chronology, cause and effect and the significance of certain events. Most importantly, how we have arrived at where we are today, in a rich and diverse society. We are fortunate to be situated in an area rich in historical value and fully exploit opportunities to visit key sites, museums and galleries in the area.
Our cross curricular topics allow for greater freedom and a more in depth analysis of historical events through other subjects such as English and Art. Opportunities for reading and writing are provided by the study of key texts within each topic. For example, during The Stone Age topic, pupils are exposed to the complexity of people’s lives and the process of change from their study of texts such as Mary Anning and The Sea Dragon. During the Africa topic, pupils see the diverse and complex relationships between different societies, then and now, from the reading of The Life of Olaudah Equiano. Most importantly, we aim to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past, providing frequent opportunities to welcome experts to school or visit to museums and historical sites to support learning.
We have developed close links with Leeds Museum Service and are currently in the process of compiling our own artefact boxes for classroom use. In addition to this, we use topic boxes from Leeds Library Service to support reading and research skills within each topic. These hands on experiences with artefacts and expert historians give pupils the opportunities to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and ultimately develop perspective and judgement and most importantly, enjoy learning.
We aim to develop a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Pupils build on this cultural capital as they progress through the school, becoming increasingly critical and analytical within their thinking, making informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the past and making links across topics and thus developing enquiry skills. Pupils will become increasingly aware of how historical events have shaped the world in which they currently live and a further understanding of History on a local level. In essence, an understanding of how and why we are where we are today.