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Curriculum and Learning
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We are passionate about History at Portway Primary.  Studying history gives pupils the opportunity to develop an understanding of why the world and its people are the way they are today.  They begin to ask questions as they explore the diversity of human experience, past lives and societies.  At Portway, children develop an understanding of how History has had an impact on our lives today both locally, nationally and internationally. Lessons are planned so that there is time for discussion and debate, fostering an environment of enquiry which enables children to revise and justify their opinions as well as encouraging children to ask and answer questions about the past.

Our History Curriculum develops the essential characteristics of historians:

  • An excellent knowledge and understanding of people, events, and contexts from a range of historical periods and of historical concepts and processes.
  • The ability to think critically about history and communicate ideas very confidently in styles appropriate to a range of audiences.
  • The ability to consistently support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views using detailed, appropriate and accurate historical evidence derived from a range of sources.
  • The ability to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining questions and lines of enquiry. 
  • A passion for history and an enthusiastic engagement in learning, which develops 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 judgments.
  • A desire to embrace challenging activities, including opportunities to undertake high-quality research across a range of history topics.

How History is taught at Portway Primary

The History curriculum is designed to help pupils form a History Mental model within their long-term memories.

Schema theory states that all knowledge is organised into units. A mental model is, therefore, a conceptual system for understanding knowledge. 

Our History Mental model is a way of organising History substantive and disciplinary knowledge in a meaningful way; it is an appreciation of how facts are connected and the ways in which they are connected.  It is distinct from information, which is just isolated facts that have no organisational basis or links.

Big deas help form the basis of the mental model. Big Ideas are key concepts that underpin the subject. There are two Big Ideas in History:

  • Building an overview of world history (Appreciating the characteristic features of the past and that these features are similar and different across time periods, and understanding that life is different for different sections of society.)
  • Working Historically – (Understanding how to chart the passing of time and how some aspects of history happened at similar times in different places. Recognising that our understanding of the past comes from an interpretation of the available evidence and using historical techniques to find out about the past.)

Ecah Big Idea has knowledge strands which help to strengthen the mental model. Learning knowledge in each of the strands allows pupils to express and demonstrate their understanding of the Big Idea, which gradually develops as pupils return to them over and over again.



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