Cultural Heritage - historical figures and events, where possible and in line with the National Curriculum, have been selected to reflect the cultural heritage of the St. Michael’s pupils. The history of black British, British Asian, African Caribbean, African and South Asian people is taught across the year rather than confined to one month. It is complemented by curriculum content that celebrates the rich diversity of British society and what it means to be a ‘Brummie’
Aspirations - Our knowledge-led curriculum sets out specific bodies of information that must be taught in-depth. With fewer topic areas studied and subjects valued highly in their own right (rather than as part of a broader topic-based approach), we can focus teaching on the aim of deepening pupil understanding and avoid surface-level understanding. For example, while a lesson about the stone age that requires pupils to simply make a replica model of a typical Stone Age house has merits, we believe these are more to do with Design Technology rather than history.
Faith - wherever possible, we have integrated our faith into the curriculum content.
EYFS - In Reception, children develop their understanding of the past through a play-based explorative curriculum. They talk about past and present events in their own lives and those of their families and consider change over time.
Year 1 - Children study history through ‘topic’ lessons, introducing them to some of the ways that historians think and the problems they try to solve.
Years 2 to 6: Pupil Workbooks - We believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills. The knowledge taught across the history curriculum is defined at the outset and made explicit to all teachers. Regular retrieval activities and carefully planned tasks ensure learning is broken down into small chunks in order to avoid cognitive overload.
Outcomes in topic and English books, evidence a broad and balanced history curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. Children review the agreed successes at the end of every session and are actively encouraged to identify their own target areas, with support from their teachers. Children are also asked what they have learned comparative to their starting points at the end of every topic.
Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking and questioning which helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world and are curious to know more about the past. Through this study, pupils learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.
A child's cultural heritage has so much to teach them. By learning about their ethnic roots, they learn about geography, history, culture and language, human migration, agriculture, and human interconnectedness. This is why it's crucial to teach our children about their cultural heritage.
The sometimes negative portrayal of migrants in the main stream media is dismantled and debunked. The contribution that people from across the globe have made to the shaping of modern Birmingham and Britain is celebrated. Pupils gain an understanding into the paths trodden by their own family and greater awareness of their heritage.
The history of the black and Asian British communities and beyond is celebrated all year round and not confined to one month a year. Pupils gain an understanding of history from a lens that shows the people of African and Asian descent have contributed much to the shaping of modern Britain and that their history is British history. Children are provided with opportunities to examine literature, art, innovations and customs that reflects multi-cultural Britain and they have a deeper understanding of how people from across the world shaped the culture of Britain - and the world.
Texts that enhance our history curriculum:
Pupil history workbooks:
Memory, Schemata and Assessment in History
Substantive knowledge is broken down into seven main categories:
- Technological Advancement
- Cultural Change
- Empire and Imperialism
- Social Justice
Disciplinary knowledge can be filed under one of six categories:
- Continuity and Change
- Cause and Effect
Knowledge is carefully selected according to the above categories, and revisited across multiple units of study and in multiple year groups. Interleaving is used to ensure content is returned to on several occasions, therefore ensuring more of it is remembered for longer.
Interleaving involves teaching subject content not in a continuous block, but in chunks which pupils revisit over time. This approach helps embed new learning in long-term memory, through the act of repetition. Repetition for learning is not simply about replicating previous lessons; it involves the act of retrieving previously learnt knowledge and then developing it.
An example of this is the concept of migration:
First encountered in Year 1...In English, when reading the book, Coming to English by Floella Benjamin and also in history, when pupils learn about their family history.
Then in Year 3...In history, pupils study the Beaker culture was taken up by a group of people living in Central Europe who migrated west and finally arrived in Britain around 4,400 years ago.
Next in Year 4...Year 4 pupils study the Vikings, learning about the impact their migration from Scandinavia had on the evolution of what is now known as Great Britain.
After that in Year 5...In history, Year 5 learn about the impact that Islamic migrants had on the Spanish regions of Cordoba and Granada, as well as the role of the Windrush in rebuilding post-WW2 Britain.
And finally in Year 6...Finally, Year 6 study the great African societies of Mali and Songhai, exploring in depth, the role that Middle Eastern migrants played in the formation of these great civilisations.
Knowledge is further embedded via the study of carefully selected texts in English, many of which compliment the substantive knowledge covered in the pupil workbooks. The fiction texts read in English, provide pupils with an opportunity to apply the factual knowledge gained during history lessons.
Opportunities to apply substantive knowledge across multiple subjects are purposely planned. For example, Year 6 learn about the trans-Atlantic slave trade in debating/oracy, art and English. In debating/oracy, they argue for and against the merits of statues linked to Britain’s imperialist past being placed in public settings, explicitly linked to the toppling of a statue of slave trader and merchant Edward Colston in Bristol in 2020. Pupils advance their understanding of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in art when they study A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020 in art. They learn about the context behind the erection of the 2020 black resin sculpture, sculpted by Marc Quinn and modelled on Jen Reid, in the aftermath of the Edward Colston statue being thrown into the harbor. Finally, in English, pupils read Freedom by Catherine Johnson - an action-packed and pacey story about a boy's experience of slavery in Britain.
The pupils workbooks, along with our preferred lesson structure (Five-part Model), are designed with spaced practice at the heart of them. Spaced practice refers to a study schedule that involves studying material over a period of time, with breaks in between, to promote better retention of information. Across a unit of history study, children are provided with many opportunities to revisit and revise key learning, including:
- The use of knowledge organisers at the start of a unit, and again at the start of each lesson. Graphic organisers are sent home with pupils at the outset of a unit, affording them the opportunity to revise essential knowledge;
- Topic working walls summarise key learning in the form of a centrally displayed graphic organiser;
- Each lessons starts with a low-stakes quiz that returns to the key knowledge covered in the previous lesson;
- Every lesson ends with pupils completing an exit ticket that provides an opportunity to revise the key vocabulary and knowledge covered during the lesson;
- Hinge questions are carefully planned for each lesson, providing teachers with an indication of how many pupils have retained key knowledge. A teacher then re-directs their lessons, re-teaching fundamental learning if enough pupils fail to answer the diagnostic questions correctly;
- A KWL grid and glossary are used at the beginning or end of a lesson to record key learning and/or vocabulary;
- Throughout a unit of study, pupils summarise their learning in the form of a graphic organiser. This knowledge then forms the basis of their end-of-unit essay.
- End-of-unit essays provide pupils with the opportunity to apply their learning in the form of a formal piece of writing, while answering a ’big question’. This essay provides teachers with an indication of cohort progress;
- Each unit concludes with pupils complete an end-of-unit assessment. This summative assessment tool involves a variety of questioning techniques and targets key learning already covered by other retrieval tools e.g. exit ticket, low stakes revision quizzes and graphic organiser. Additionally, one month after completing a unit, children return to their pupil workbook and complete a multiple choice quiz aimed at ‘interrupting the forgetting’ and increasing the amount of knowledge that is retained for longer.