History and Geography
We follow an exciting and ambitious curriculum from Reception to Year 6. Each topic has a question to focus the learning, which then has a set of steps towards a goal. The children's learning is also celebrated with specific outcomes at the end of each topic. For example, we might create exhibitions, perform plays or showcase work completed. Teachers plan for cross curricular opportunities in English and Maths wherever possible. The year is peppered with special days. These days provide pupils with an opportunity to examine a specific area in more detail, providing independent thinking and challenge.
Our Subject Leads work in teams so that they can share ideas and prepare and plan together for different subjects. Below is information for each group of subjects. For each of the subjects, we have developed our intent, implementation and impact statements to align with National Curriculum aims and with our school vision and aims. In that way, the curriculum on offer to our Saint John's pupils is specific and relevant to each of them, ensuring that we grow their learning from their diverse roots, challenging them to reach up and reach out and preparing them for their lives in our community and beyond.
National Curriculum Aims
The National Curriculum for History aims to ensure that all pupils:
- know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
- gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
- understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
- gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
Studying History at Saint John’s School gives pupils the opportunity to develop an understanding of their local community and their place within it, as well as extending this understanding to the wider world. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions as they explore the diversity of human experience, past lives and societies. Our ‘Big Questions’ focus the learning within the unit of work. Asking and answering these bite-sized questions allows children to feel a sense of progression in their history journey. Our aim is for our pupils to become familiar with historical skills such as debating the reliability of sources, making comparisons between historical periods, devising historically valid questions, drawing conclusions from sources and making links between events.
We want our pupils to be passionate about History, to have a chronological understanding and awareness of vocabulary, questioning skills and a secure knowledge of History ready to take onto their secondary education. Through active participation, pupils will be able to draw comparisons and make connections between different time periods and their own lives, learning about their local community, citizens and their place in the world. Not only will our pupils have the opportunity to learn about local historical figures but also about historical figures of the 21st century, which we believe is exciting and inspirational. Our aim is to ensure our pupils gain the cultural capital needed to be active, caring citizens.
At Saint John’s, we believe that History curriculum should be interactive, which not only challenges the pupils, but strives to ignite a natural curiosity within them. Each unit planned includes opportunities for children to investigate, handle artefacts, study pictorial evidence, watch historical footage, take part in role play activities, visit relevant sites and museums and where appropriate, experience oral history, engaging with historical characters and ways of life.
The History curriculum is taught through investigation and enquiry. Pupils develop an understanding of how History has had an impact on our lives today both locally in our community, nationally and internationally. We want our pupils to take pride in their History learning. Whilst it is important for them to have the facts, we believe that if they are going to really flourish as historical learners, we need to develop their independent and critical thinking. We do this by ensuring lessons are planned so that there is time for discussion and debate, fostering an environment of enquiry, which enables pupils to revise and justify their opinions. Vocabulary is introduced at the start of each topic and pupils are encouraged to use it in oral and written work.
Underpinning all of the History curriculum is cultural capital and the vital emphasis on children gaining the essential knowledge that is needed to be educated citizens
• Three topics to be taught in History throughout the year and to alternate with Geography
• One of the three topics will be a local history/recent historical figure
• History to be taught chronologically in KS2
• History taught every other week as part of a two-week timetable for Key stage 1 and 2
• A key question to form the basis for each History unit with a final outcome piece of work e.g. drama, a piece of writing, art/DT, debate
• Focus on a balance between teaching knowledge, skills and key vocabulary
Key Stage 1
Concepts/periods to allow children to compare and contrast between then and now.
1) Understanding the World: Ourselves
2) Understanding the World: Amazing Creatures
3) Understanding the World: Eggs
1) My Family - with a link to the Monarchy
2) Toys through Time
3) The Seaside: Now and Then
1) Explorers: Edward Wilson and Ernest Shackleton
2) The Great Fire of London
3) Famous People: Florence Nightingale
Key Stage 2
Key periods to be studied in chronological order, starting with the Stone Age in Year 3 and finishing with British History post 1066 in Year 6.
1) Stone Age to Iron Age
2) Ancient Egypt
3) A recent historical figure: Nelson Mandela
1) Cheltenham Architecture: a local history unit
2) Ancient Greece
3) The Romans
1) The Mayans
2) The Vikings and The Anglo-Saxons
3) A recent historical figure: Greta Thunberg
1) The Victorians
2) Migration Nation
3) World War Two: a local history unit
The impact of our history curriculum should provide our children with:
- The knowledge and understanding of their local community and their place within it as well as extending to people, events and contexts from the wider world of the historical periods taught
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past and by doing so aim to become caring citizens in the future
- The ability to think critically about the history curriculum and communicate confidently their interpretations about what they have learnt
- The ability to support, evaluate and challenge their own and other’s views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources
- A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which allows them to flourish and develop their sense of curiosity about the past and their understanding of how and why people interpret the past in different ways
- A respect for historical evidence and the ability to make robust and critical use of it to support their explanations and judgements
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics
Please see our History Golden Threads: Government, Migration, Invention, Settlement and Society. These new themes build from Reception to Year 6, helping our pupils to connect key concepts from year to year.
National Curriculum Aims
The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
- understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
- collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
At Saint John’s School, we want our pupils to understand where they come from, starting off in their local area and then extending to the wider world.
We intend for the children to develop an in-depth knowledge of our community and locality before extending to the wider world and its people. Our ‘Big Questions’ focus the learning within the unit of work. Asking and answering these bite-sized questions allows our children to feel a sense of progression in their Geography journey.
The Geography curriculum will provide pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the earth’s key physical and human processes. We want our pupils to be passionate about Geography, to have: an understanding of the world and their place within it, an awareness of vocabulary, questioning skills and a secure knowledge of Geography ready to take onto their secondary education. Through active participation, pupils will be able to draw comparisons and make connections between different countries and their physical and human features. In the process, they will learn about their local community and its place in the world. Our aim is to ensure our pupils gain the cultural capital needed to be active, caring citizens. We believe that Geography should be an interactive subject, which not only challenges the pupils, but strives to ignite a natural curiosity within them. Each unit includes opportunities for children to investigate, handle resources, consider pictorial evidence, watch geographical footage and visit relevant sites. We want our pupils to take pride in their Geography learning. Whilst it is important for them to have the facts, we believe that, if they are going to flourish as learners, we need to develop their independence and critical thinking. We do this by ensuring lessons are planned to have time for discussion and debate, fostering an environment of enquiry; this will enable pupils to revise and justify their opinions. Vocabulary is introduced at the start of each topic and pupils are encouraged to use it in oral and written work.
- Three topics will be taught in Geography through the year and to alternate with History.
- One of the three topics will be a local geography unit.
- KS2 will teach three topics with the recurring themes of UK, Europe and a country from another continent.
- A key question will form the basis for each Geography unit with a final outcome piece of work e.g piece of writing, art/DT, debate, drama.
- Learning will focus on a balance between knowledge, skills and key vocabulary.
Key Stage 1
1) Understanding the World: Why am I special?
2) Understanding the World: Celebrate: How do I celebrate?
3) Understanding the World: Who was Mary Anning?
4) Understanding the world: Space: Which planet am I from?
5) Understanding the world: Eggs:What hatches out of an egg?
6) Understanding the world: Under the sea: Where can you hear the Whales sing?
1) Cheltenham: Where do I live?
2) England: What is special about England?
3) Scotland, Wales and Northern Island: What countries make up the United Kingdom?
1) Continents and Oceans: How is each continent different?
2) Weather Patterns: How does the weather affect our lives?
3) Cheltenham compared to a non-European country: How is Cheltenham different from Alice Springs in Australia?
Key Stage 2
Year 3: Rivers
1) Physical and human features of the local area: How does water impact the physical and human features of our local area?
2) Comparing an aspect of Europe with the UK: How is the River Wye different from the River Rhine?
3) Around the World: How is the UK different from Africa?
Year 4: Mountains
1) Physical and human features of the local area: What hills are local to Cheltenham?
2) Comparing an aspect of Europe with the UK : Why are mountains so important?
3) Around the world: How is the UK different from North America?
Year 5: Forests
1) Physical and human features of the local area: What are the physical and human features of Gloucestershire?
2) Comparing an aspect of Europe with the UK: How do forests in England compare to those in Scandinavia?
3) Around the world: How is the UK different from South America?
Year 6: Volcanoes and Earthquakes
1) Physical and human features of the local area: How has human features impacted Gloucestershire?
2) Comparing an aspect of Europe with the UK: How have volcanoes impacted different countries in Europe?:
3) Around the world: How is the UK different from Japan?
The impact of our geography curriculum should provide our children with:
- The knowledge and understanding of their local community, this country, a European comparison and a place on another continent and their place within the world
- The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate their learning
- The ability to think critically about the geography curriculum and communicate confidently about what they have learnt
- The ability to support, evaluate and challenge their own and other’s views using detailed, appropriate and accurate geographical evidence
- A passion for geography and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which allows them to flourish and develop their sense of curiosity about the world around them
- The ability to use of geographical skills to discover and reflect on different places
- A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of geographical topics