In a world that is racing to become increasingly modern, it is more important than ever to look in to the past. Our history curriculum offers pupils the chance to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, from the earliest times to the present day.
Children will learn how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced, and been influenced by, the wider world. Important historical skills, including the use of timelines, family trees and source materials, are taught in order to develop well rounded, historically literate pupils.
Our History Curriculum
History topics will be delivered in a Learning Journey style each half term. Each Learning Journey takes a thematic approach and often combines aspects of history, geography and science, enabling complex topics to be understood as a whole, rather than a sum of its parts. As such, many of the Learning Journey units may contain aspects of history, despite being largely science or geography focused. Every Learning Journey will have a Learning Journey Map which will detail exactly what the children must know by the end of the unit. Substantive concepts have been identified to span across the curriculum, enabling the children to create a rich mental framework of historical knowledge and skills. Our curriculum is a 3D curriculum with links made between topics and year groups. It is also planned out in a spiral nature to ensure that knowledge is regularly revisited in further depth. The result of these approaches is a broad and balanced curriculum, ambitious in scope and rigour, to develop knowledgeable, curious and informed learners.
Back to the Future
The Back to the Future Learning Journey is one of our most important Learning Journeys that children will travel on in their time at our school. It is the one that sets the tone both in terms of how we set out our learning to our new children and it also digs down to the roots of the children’s own community. It has both a focus on History and Geography by investigating how Barwell has changed over the years, starting from its origins as a village up to the present day. This Learning Journey also introduces the children to the relationship that we have with St Mary’s Church.
Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
The Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day Learning Journey is mainly a history based learning journey with some science built in. It builds on children’s chronological knowledge from Back to the Future as they have a historical context to build on and looks at the spread of the Roman Empire. This understanding of an empire is important knowledge that will be built on in Year 5 when children look at the British Empire. It also builds on children’s geographical knowledge as they expand out from Barwell.
Walk Like an Egyptian
The Walk Like an Egyptian Learning Journey takes our Year 3 children back in time to study the lives of the Ancient Egyptians. It gives both a contrasting time period and location. It has strong connections to geography knowledge by adding to their learning about rivers covered earlier in the year and how rivers affect the lives of people living along them. It also contains science learning about the digestive system, teeth and the process of mummification.
Spotlight on Leicester
The first Learning Journey in Year 4 moves out to our nearest city. It aims to develop children’s awareness of how an urban area can be different to a rural area, such as the one they live in. It is appreciated that many of our children, although they have been to a shopping outlet near Leicester, have not been into our city centre. Studying Leicester in Y4 is also significant as the cultural diversity is very limited within Barwell. By putting the ‘spotlight’ onto Leicester, we are helping children to broaden their horizons both physically and culturally. Therefore, this Learning Journey is very geography-based but there is some science in the form of sound and electricity. Obviously, within a city, the sounds and use of electricity increase and this Learning Journey explores how we hear sounds and how electricity travels in a circuit.
Following on from studying local geography, the children in Year 4 travel far back in time in this Learning Journey to study the Stone Age. This Learning Journey sets the scene for many other journeys with its focus on the beginnings of modern humans and how life was for people before the modern era. As well as a very strong history element, there is also science focusing on the process of fossilisation and how different types of rock are formed and how soil is made. This builds on the knowledge they gained in Opposites Attract in Year 3. Also, learning about early humans gives children a foundation for their learning during their Year 6 Learning Journey of Survival of the Fittest where children look at evolution and inheritance.
It's the Circle of Life
This is one of our key Learning Journeys as not only does it link to so many other Learning Journeys, it is the one where our children stay away from home for a night. This is so important for our children’s development as many of them have not spent a night away from home before, even to extended family or at a friend’s house. Our residential is held at Beaumanor Hall in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside. This is used as a direct contrast to the urban environment that children learn about in Spotlight on Leicester. This allows children to see the county of Leicestershire, which their village is in, as being made up of both urban and rural environments. Beaumanor Hall is also significant within our curriculum as it is a Victorian building and was used during WWII. In the Science element, as children have chance to be able to explore the wildlife at Beaumanor, there is a heavy focus on plants and animals and their habitats.
Battle it Out!
This Learning Journey is where we move away from the National Curriculum slightly as, because we are so close to the Battle of Bosworth Battle site, it is important that children learn about this key time period in their country’s history. It also links so well into the Year 4 Barwell Curriculum as it is in Leicestershire and so children can get to know more about their county and its geography and history. Also, with the discovery of Richard III in Leicester City, it links right back to their Spotlight on Leicester topic. It also revisits the idea of the Monarchy introduced in Back to the Future when children are first introduced to the Victorians.
See the Sea
One of the saddest things is hearing that some of our children have never experienced seeing the sea. Barwell is very central in England but this is still a very sad state of affairs. This Learning Journey wants to ensure that children have a knowledge of the coast and understand how it is different to their own environment. Its work focuses on Hunstanton in Norfolk because this is a relatively close coast, it is a typical English Seaside resort and it is a Victorian Town. It also includes interesting geographical features such as the fact that it faces west even though it is on the East Coast and it is suffering from erosion. This Learning Journey also provides the perfect opportunity to bring in some science work about the properties of materials; it looks at reversible and irreversible changes and how materials can be separated.
The Empire Strikes Back!
The Victorians are a very strong theme throughout our curriculum and this seems right as our children are educated in a Victorian building! In Year 3, during their Back to the Future Learning Journey, the children learn the date the school was built and put it into context and begin to have a sense of chronology and where our school fits with the bigger picture. In the Circle of Life Learning Journey in Year 4, the children once again think about the Victorian Era when they visit a grand Victorian hall for the night. In The Empire Strikes back, the children focus specifically on Victorian children and their lives during the Victorian period, about their schooling, toys and the jobs that children had to do. They also build on their knowledge of what an Empire is and the idea of a monarchy which they began exploring as part of their Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day Learning Journey.
Your Money or Your Life
This Learning Journey is pivotal, not only within this academic curriculum but also in the wider work of our school and our Journey to Wellness. It looks at crime and punishment throughout history now that the children have a good understanding of chronology from the history Learning Journeys they have already studied. It looks at the Romans, studied in Year 3, it looks at Tudor crime which links back to our Battle of Bosworth Learning Journey and it also looks at Victorian crime which was studied earlier in Year 5. These previous Learning Journeys help to set the historical scene for this Learning Journey. It also has important learning about Restorative Approaches which are a vital part of our school’s structure. The children learn about what Restorative Justice is and how to solve conflicts amicably and with respect. This allows them to take an active role when they are in Year 6 at lunchtimes with children who fall out. There is also a small amount of science in this Learning Journey that looks at forces in relation to gruesome punishments!
Let's Blitz This!
Following on from children learning about what happened in Barwell during WWII, why we have a war memorial in the village, and learning about Beaumanor’s role in the war effort, children spend this learning journey exploring World War II and the key people and dates involved. This is mainly a history unit but it does have some science incorporated in with it in the form of electricity and light as this links with the idea of how lights were used, and not used, during the Blitz. This learning journey is so important as it sets out the context for much of our history and gives the children a good grounding of knowledge and understanding ready to continue their history learning into Key Stage 3.
It's All Greek to Me
In this final Learning Journey of our Barwell Learning Adventure, the children go back in time to visit the Ancient Greeks. Children in Year 5 will have already looked at Mount Olympus as part of their Hill Areas Mountains Learning Journey and so will have geographical knowledge of this part of the world. Again, as in their study of Romans and Victorians, the theme of an empire will be explored in more depth but also to use this as a contrast to democracy and how they differ. As they did in their Battle it Out Learning Journey, they will have chance to look at how the decisions in a battle can affect its outcome. In addition, as they did with the Romans, they will be able to explore an ancient civilisation who were a polytheism culture.
Inclusion in History
We do not want to put a ceiling on our children’s learning. It is imperative that all children, especially those with special education needs or disabilities, access an ambitious, broad, challenging and inspiring curriculum. It should not be narrowed nor should the default position be to expect children not to be able to achieve. High expectations of all of our children are at the heart of our vision and this of course includes all children and all areas of the curriculum.