History has a prominent place in the curriculum at St Nicholas of Tolentine. We have created an ambitious programme that is diverse and meets the needs of the learners in our school. We feel strongly that children need to see themselves represented in the curriculum in order to value themselves and see themselves in a broader historical context. As such, we have developed our own schemes of learning with our children and our city at the heart of it.
In line with Catholic Social teaching and the Equalities Agenda, we ensure our curriculum teaches our children that we must learn from the past in the context of our community.
Each year, we have a whole school local history term, where each class studies an individual who lived in Bristol and made a significant contribution to the city. We launched this exciting celebration of local history with our topics in summer 2021 after working with UWE and local historians. We want children to discover the lives of ordinary people who have made a difference to the local area, contributed to the city and made Bristol what it is. Children understanding their place in the history of the locality is an essential starting point in developing their awareness of how this relates to their personal and family history.
At St Nicholas of Tolentine, we see the understanding of historical time as a learning process within each child. Research shows that, rather than an episodic model of teaching periods of history in chronological order, children develop their own understanding of chronology from within. In order to support this important stage of children’s development and understanding, we begin by teaching our youngest children to learn about their own personal histories and allowing this understanding to grow as the children grow. In EYFS, children begin by sharing their knowledge of significant individuals in their own lives through their work on their Understanding the World topics. In Year 1, the same theme grows whilst children study the topic of Toys, giving them the opportunity to make links between their own experiences and those of their parents and grandparents. It is vital that children are able to discuss and sequence these important ideas before moving on to understand other topics in History.
Throughout Key Stages 1 and 2, strong links are made between each event and period of time studied through the use of timelines. A strong emphasis is placed on vocabulary in all of our history teaching, with children given opportunities to articulate their opinions and questions using age-appropriate vocabulary that progresses each year. Our yearly focus on local history across the whole school further supports children’s understanding of recent history, as many of the significant Bristolians studied have strong links with our school and community. This helps children to see themselves represented and make comparisons between recent and ancient history.
History is taught for at least 2 out of the 6 yearly terms, with each class exploring an enquiry question as the starting point for their topic. There are strong links with English, with each class studying a book related to the topic with opportunities for extended writing in a variety of text types.
We ensure that children are provided with the necessary skills to become critical learners. This involves enquiry-led learning where children dive deeply into investigations, exploring a variety of sources and formulating their own opinions. Skills of historical understanding progress alongside vocabulary at an age appropriate level.
Please see the attached progression map, which outlines how the full National Curriculum coverage fits into a child's learning journey at St Nicholas of Tolentine.