At Stockbridge Primary and Pre-school, we follow the Hampshire 6 step enquiry based learning in history. This encompasses the knowledge and skills that children need to learn within the history curriculum they are working within.
The first step of the enquiry is providing a hook to interest the children in the historical learning. This could be anything from a mysterious suitcase that has been left behind with a range of objects in from the past to a slow reveal of a picture from the past. This gives the children the opportunity to share any prior knowledge they have and to freely make inferences about what they have been presented with.
During the second step of the enquiry the children will be gathering information in a variety of ways. They will be working on the skill of finding information from a range of sources, including deciding whether the source is a reliable source or not. They will begin to have an idea about the historical knowledge that they are learning during the topic.
Once they have gathered some historical knowledge they then need to make sense of the ideas and process the knowledge that they have gained. During this step of the enquiry they will be developing a clearer understanding of where the historical content sits on a chronological timeline.
Following this the children learn to draw their own conclusions and to make their own meaning of what they have learnt. They may be able to refine and show this in a range of ways including through role play, pulling out the information that they think has the most significance or by making links to other periods of history they have studied previously.
The fifth step of the enquiry offers the children new ideas, materials or perspectives. This might be seen by the children as a bit of a curve ball in their thinking, meaning that they might need to re-evaluate what they have learnt and look at it from another way. An example of this is in KS1 when learning about the Great Fire of London in which the children find out that after the fire the plague died out. What they previously saw as a terrible event now has a new twist on it!
Finally, the children will use all that they have learnt and the historical skills they have developed to bring all their learning together in a final piece of work. This might be presented in a range of ways – a museum, a newspaper article from the time, a commemorative plaque.
Our aim is to make history meaningful for our children, bringing it to life and instilling an interest in the past. We want children to have a clear understanding of the chronology of their country and world and to be able to make links between periods of history. Through the use of the 6 step enquiry and, where possible, the use of trips and visitors we believe we are able to meet these aims.
The historical knowledge that is set out in the National Curriculum 2014 is planned across a three-year cycle for both the lower and upper school. This ensures all our children are taught the relevant subject knowledge for both the KS1 and KS2 curriculums. In addition to this we have a clear coverage for the teaching of historical skills that are set out for both three-year cycles. This ensures a broad coverage of these skills in both the upper and lower school in which children can build upon.
As our classes are mixed age ones, we have to think about skills progression very carefully. We use the cornerstones progression of skills document to ensure that, when delivering history learning, children work on skills appropriate for their age. This is shown in our topic planning overviews which set out clearly what children should learn by the end of each unit and clearly demarcate which skills are appropriate for which year groups. A sample of this progression of skill is available to view here.
Because of our mixed age classes, we cannot cover the History curriculum in chronological order however, we have mapped it out carefully to ensure children receive a broad and balanced diet of history teaching and learning as well as opportunities to explore and embed historical skills across each year of our 3 year cycle.