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History Subject Rationale

The teachers at Holy Cross C of E Primary School use the Primary Knowledge Curriculum (PKC) to plan, organise and deliver History to pupils from Year One to Year Six.  This is delivered in a two-year rolling programme, so that pupils in each phase have the opportunity to access the whole curriculum.

However, our History learning begins right from EYFS where the children begin to understand the concept of past and present.  They learn about Kings and Queens and about stories from the past.  The children build a strong foundation of understanding about how the past affects our present and some core knowledge and understanding in preparation for continuing historical learning in Key Stages One and Two.

The PKC History curriculum has been designed to be both knowledge-rich and coherently sequenced. Knowledge, in the realm of History, means not only substantive knowledge of historical events, dates and people in the past, but also knowledge of substantive concepts in history (such as ‘empire’, ‘monarchy’ and ‘civil war’), and disciplinary historical concepts (such as evidence, causation, significance and interpretation).

The PKC History curriculum allows children to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history. Each unit of work should not be viewed as a stand-alone topic, but as a chapter in the story of the history of Britain and the wider world. In this sense, the chronological approach provides a solid framework, anchoring each unit within a wider narrative. Understanding in history requires an understanding of causation. Children will be able to understand the causes of significant national and global events, (such as World War I), when they have some background knowledge of what happened before (such as the origins and growth of European empires, including the British Empire).

Knowledge of substantive concepts and disciplinary concepts have been interleaved across the curriculum, allowing children to encounter and apply these in different contexts. From year to year, unit to unit, lesson to lesson, the curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

The PKC History curriculum is balanced to enable children to look in some depth at local, national and world history, encouraging children to explore the connection between significant events and people and how they have influenced the modern world. The content in the curriculum ensures children have a secure overview of a period, before studying aspects in more depth. While many of the units are six weeks long, some units are longer, ensuring children secure the complexities of the content and have more time to study the period in more detail.

The curriculum aims to ignite children’s love for history, preparing them with essential knowledge for Key Stage Three and beyond. All History is worth studying, but as we do not have the time to cover everything, the units have been carefully chosen to cover as wide ranging content as possible without compromising depth. From ancient civilisations and prehistoric Britain to the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement; looking at law and power across the ages to the impacts of industrialisation and technological advances; understanding invasion and migration, exploitation and political movements for freedom and equality. The curriculum aims to introduce the children to a wide variety of men, women and children from the past; from the widely venerated, to the lives of the less well-known who offer us a rich insight into life at the time- from Aristotle to Martin Luther King, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Alan Turning. The Primary Knowledge Curriculum aspires to create curious and knowledgeable young people, who hold a deep understanding and appreciation of the discipline of history, and are able to sift and weigh evidence to begin to formulate their own viewpoints and perspectives of the world.