At Holy Name, our pupils are passionate about History. History is brought to life, enabling children to explore like detectives and work like historians. Children are given the opportunity to study a variety of primary and secondary sources, make predictions, build their historical knowledge and develop key historical skills. Termly questions are given which link to the overarching theme of each year group. Our children are curious about the past and keen to understand how and why events occurred.
The periods of History have been organised in a way so each year group can study a particular topic in depth, as detailed on the Curriculum Progression document. These topics also make links with other areas of the curriculum. There are also parts of the year where History will be taught as an overview to allow children to compare and contrast greater periods of time and more than one society. Periods of history, particularly British History, have been organised largely in chronological order, with the exception of Mam Tor in Year 4 which lends itself to an in depth study with links to a text studied during English. Other topics over the year have been selected to link to the Holy Name demographic, especially during the first term where each class studies an aspect of Black History which links to Black History month in October, e.g. a Year 2 topic, ‘Events Beyond Living Memory’ allows children to find out from family members how Moss Side has changed, in its landscape and by researching which people have been influential from the city of Manchester. In Year 5, the Victorians are studied in depth because Manchester has a wealth of history from this era and further learning can be developed at places such as the Science and Industry Museum, The People’s History Museum and the Police Museum. Furthermore, many significant famous people who originate from the Manchester area are studied, e.g. Robert Peel and Emmeline Pankhurst.
Literature for English topics, especially in the first term, are linked to Black History. An example being in Year 4, where children will study about Katherine Johnson. Katherine Johnson also appears in the book studied by Year 5: ‘Young, Gifted and Black’. There is a rich opportunity for children to be exposed to key texts that relate to History and Black History. In Year 3, the English texts of ‘Stone Age Boy’ by Satoshi Kitamura, links to the Stone Age topic. In Year 5, with the Vikings and Anglo Saxons topic, the text that is used is ‘Myths of the Norsemen’ by Roger Lancelyn Green. By making links with literature, children can place historical vocabulary within a context and explore themes through stories.
Our History curriculum is designed to impact positively on our children’s lives and future careers, especially in the vibrant city of Manchester. Holy Name is located in Central Manchester where there are lots of places for our children to visit and learn from. Children have the chance to see what careers look like out of school and this has been evident when visiting Manchester Museum, which is linked to Manchester University. Our History curriculum can improve historical empathy and our children’s ability to perceive, emotionally experience, and contextualise a historical figure's lived experience. Historical empathy is important because it puts the past into context where children internalise on a deeper level and evoke a feeling as to why that event occurred and gives them another perspective on the past.
The teaching and learning of History provides a great sense of belonging to our children from our demographic in Moss Side. Many children are from different countries and cultures from around the world. It is vital that children have a sense of belonging but also understand why they are in the place they are, how this has changed over time and what opportunities there are in Manchester for their future.
Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of History could be implied in the ‘Understanding of the World’ section of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (2021) and in the National Curriculum in England: Key Stages 1 and 2 (2014).
Our History curriculum has been structured to have a mix of in depth and overview teaching and learning in each year group. History is taught alongside and in rotation with Geography and Art & Design through timetabled Topic lessons. While genuine topic links have been created to enhance children’s knowledge and understanding of our life today, it is vitally important that the children understand that they are being taught History, especially if some learning is through the medium of, for example, art. An example of this being in Year 5 where the class study a Non-European society that provides contrasts with British History – In depth Study of Baghdad c. AD 900 Link with ‘Librarian of Basra’. This is studied in a cross-curricular way whereby Islamic art, textiles and patterns are studied, designed and created. It is vital that children can make links with History not only through the different subjects but also through different historical periods and to see which historical periods have influenced others and what we have learned from periods throughout History.
The resources from a city like Manchester are greatly enriched through cross-curricular studies and by visiting and accessing libraries, museums and historical places of significance both in our city and its surrounding areas. In History, primary and secondary resources help support the hands-on exploration into the lives of those who live in a completely different historical era to to their own.
Teachers having the confidence to teach History and having the necessary subject knowledge is vitally important. This can be achieved by having a termly book scrutiny, talking to staff seeing where gaps are in their subject knowledge. Providing a staff meeting or providing subject knowledge for example timelines or pointing staff in the right direction to resources that can be used or references in texts to look at, to ensure that teachers have the confidence to teach History within their Year group.