What does it mean to be a historian at St Nicholas Priory?
In St Nicholas Priory we aim to think, speak and write like historians; ready to tackle the asking and answering of challenging questions using evidence collected through source analysis.
Our children will develop a sense of curiosity about the past and begin to make connections about how it directly influences our future. Through the acquisition of a toolkit of skills rooted in critical source investigation, our children will become Historians.
At St Nicholas Priory, we aim to equip our children with both the substantive knowledge (this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used about the past) and disciplinary knowledge (the critical use of this knowledge) to select, organise and integrate their knowledge through reasoning and inference in response to questions and challenges.
This is what it means to be a historian at Priory.
We encourage our Priory pupils to ask questions, to be active participants of their own learning and to use their innate curiosity to find connections between current and prior learning.
Our curriculum is broad and balanced, ensuring that history is taught chronologically across all year groups – allowing for a broader understanding of key historical events. Pupils investigate various periods of history frequently across the school year in taught unit blocks, which allows for further development of retrieval skills.
Long-term planning maps history topics for each year group with a focus on maintaining a linear, chronological progression of time. The school teaches history within a topic based curriculum supported by CUSP Unity resources and unit planning.
Across the curriculum, core substantive knowledge concepts are threaded throughout our teaching and planning for every unit. These substantive concepts are: community, knowledge, invasion, civilisation, power and democracy.
Medium-term planning has a clear focus and ensures the careful and concise completion of National Curriculum objectives with an additional focus on our locality. The history subject leader reviews these on a yearly basis – alongside the CUSP curriculum resources – to ensure that Priory children are taught a knowledge rich and critically aware curriculum.
To better support our pupils development as historians, we also provide them with the key vocabulary and disciplinary knowledge to better understand the impact of their learning. These threads of disciplinary knowledge focus on: chronology, cause & consequence, change & continuity, similarity & difference, evidence and significance.
Short-term planning breaks each CUSP unit down into distinct Knowledge Notes, which the class teachers use to centre each child’s learning on a particular concept within each unit. This concept driven approach better supports our children’s recall and retention of key events, which allows them to make higher value comparisons between units of past study.
In order to ensure that our aims have been met, we perform frequent ‘deep dives’ into history, with a strong focus on listening to pupil voice, to better understand, monitor and evaluate the impact of our history curriculum.
To better enhance our children’s learning, we believe that our children should discover and experience history for themselves whenever and wherever possible. Local trips and visits are carefully planned to ensure clear links between the wider curriculum and the teaching within the classroom. Through a hands-on approach, we deliver rich historical experiences to our children which inspire them to learn more, to bring their knowledge back with them into the classrooms and to create lasting memories.
We at St Nicholas Priory are uniquely fortunate to have access to local history within the very walls in which we teach. Our school site alone has great local heritage and immense cultural significance to the town around us, with records dating back to the building of St Mary’s Hospital in the 13th century and the present building dating back to the 1930s.
Our school has witnessed the changing fortunes and growth of Great Yarmouth as a hospital, grammar school, prison, children’s hospital and workhouse before becoming the centre for learning which it remains today. Our children will get to study this history that they walk through everyday!
But we don’t limit our children to the study of our school, instead we encourage our pupils to research and understand the complex history of the great town around them! Our pupils will be able to use the critical thinking skills they acquire through their time at Priory to dive into their local history and discover its greater cultural significance.
These local studies are woven throughout the taught curriculum of our school, from guiding our children to uncover the lost past of some of Great Yarmouth’s residents, to researching and celebrating Great Yarmouth as a port, a place for new beginnings.
Our school is a Rights Respecting school, and we ensure that our children understand not only the rights that they have as children, but to stand up and advocate for change when something infringes upon these rights. We teach an intrinsic value to love and support each other; we celebrate the diversity within our school and local community; we teach our children to respect themselves and others. All of this plays a massive role in how we deliver each history unit. Our cohort of students are empathetic and empowered to make a change not only within their local community, but to support those across the world who are in need of aid. This advocacy is central to our school’s ethos and is therefore embedded within our school curriculum.