Lead Teacher: Mrs Bond
Whether it is yesterday, last year, last century or millions of years ago, history is a fascinating and extremely relevant subject to learn about. At Hertford St Andrew, we believe our pupils should be passionate about history. The children are curious about the past and keen to understand how and why events occurred; they go on to question why people interpret the past in different ways. High-quality history lessons encourage skills of critical thinking, weighing evidence, sifting arguments, and allow pupils to develop perspective and judgement. Over their years here, pupils gain not just knowledge of Britain’s past, and our place in the world, but an understanding of the challenges of our own time…through studying the past, gaining skills for the future.
Through our International Primary Curriculum, links are made between subjects in units with overarching themes (e.g. Chocolate) to contextualize and motivate learners. However, the learning objectives of each lesson draw from knowledge and skills included in the National Curriculum. The IPC units provide highly productive opportunities to use and apply basic skills and link history in a meaningful way with the overall themes that we learn about.
We have a varied approach to learning, and might be doing any number of things in our history lessons. We might be doing something as it was done in the past - using the senses to discover the features of a particular era- for example building Stone Age shelters! We may use timelines to revise prior learning and to set the period of study in context alongside other events. We often ask questions (enquiry based learning) – investigate, think like a detective, for example looking at a fossil to see what we might learn from it. Research skills form the backbone of the IPC and so we use a mixture of books and modern technologies including laptops and iPads for research, allowing pupils’ learning to be driven by their individual interests. We weigh up evidence from different viewpoints just as real historians do! We might link events and people- tell their story, become the character, dressing up and acting out their life in performance. This provides a really memorable learning opportunity for pupils because they ‘become’ the person. We ask important questions, for example, “How has this made my life/others’ lives/the world different?”. We will try where possible to visit key places on trips to help bring the learning to life. In the surrounding area we are lucky enough to have many places to visit: the fantastic Hertford Museum where you can get hands-on with many artefacts which bring local history to life. We have Hertford Castle where Elizabeth I spent time imprisoned – Queen’s Road in Hertford is named after her – and Hatfield House, where she learned that she had become Queen of England. There is the Roman city of Verulanium, or St Alban’s, with its Norman cathedral, Verulanium Museum and even a Roman hypocaust, a beautiful tiled floor with the Roman version of underfloor heating. We have the Welwyn Roman Baths just under the A1, and even a working flour mill at Mill Green Museum and Mill in Hatfield where you can learn how grain was ground into flour before machines became commonplace. In short, there are tons of opportunities to bring history to life with trips within half an hour of Hertford. So next time you are stuck for something to do in the holidays, don’t forget all these amazing places!
We believe that our children have excellent experiences of history and, in doing so, learn more about themselves.