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question driven evidence collectors - ‘feeding’ inquisitive minds creatively

Intent – What are we trying to achieve?

Our intent for humanities is to develop children who are curious with a thirst for knowledge. Through our Learning Challenge curriculum we inspire children to become independent, critical thinkers equipped to tackle big questions. We encourage a fascination about the world and its history that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

In geography we intend to stimulate children’s interest in their surroundings and in the variety of human and physical conditions on the Earth’s surface; foster children’s sense of wonder at the beauty of the world around them; help children to develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment and the future of the human habitat and enhance children’s sense of responsibility for the care of the Earth and its people.

In history  we intend to develop a sense of time, placing events, people and changes within a chronological framework; develop a knowledge of the characteristics of people living in particular periods, including attitudes and beliefs and their social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity; to identify different ways in which the past is represented and make thoughtful use of a variety of sources; to develop the skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation; to develop the ability to describe and analyse reasons and results of events, situations and changes studied, making links between periods; have a lasting interest in, and enjoyment of, learning about the past.

The humanities curriculum offers a wealth of possibilities for contexts and tasks where pupils can apply their knowledge, skills and understanding creatively. A variety of approaches are used to cater for differing learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.


Implementation – How can we ensure our intent is put into practice?

At Freezywater St Georges’ we have adapted the ‘Learning Challenge Curriculum’ to ensure stimulating and motivating experiences. The ‘Big Enquiry Questions’ are clearly set out and offer possible teaching activities to cover the skills, understanding and knowledge of each subject area. Each year group has at least two history challenges and two geography challenges plus a local history heritage study.  The concept of the ‘Learning Challenge Curriculum’ is to have an enquiry approach.  There is a principal ‘Big Enquiry Question’ which is answered through subsidiary questions.  Children are taught the key geography and history skills through these questions, which may also offer the opportunity for cross curricular and creative work linked to Art & Design, Maths, English and Computing.  Each challenge will end with a reflection of their learning, by answering the Big Enquiry Question. We expect that children complete at least two written reflections whilst the others can be more creative to reflect on and answer the Big Enquiry Question. For example: museums/art gallery; teaching another year group; presentations to parents, governors or teachers; Reflections encourage children to make the most of their oracy and ICT skills.

In order to achieve these intensions in geography pupils are given opportunities to:

• carry out fieldwork

• learn how places are similar and different; how they are linked to other places and to the wider world

• learn about the physical and human features of environments and how we are influenced by, and affect, environments.

• carry out investigations which focus on geographical questions

• develop geographical enquiry and skills. 


In order to achieve these intensions in history pupils are given opportunities to:

* develop a sense of time, placing events, people and changes within a chronological framework

* develop a knowledge of the characteristics of people living in particular periods, including attitudes and beliefs and their social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity

* identify different ways in which the past is represented and make thoughtful use of a variety of sources

* develop the skills of enquiry, investigation, analysis, evaluation and presentation

* develop the ability to describe and analyse reasons and results of events, situations and changes studied, making links between periods

* have a lasting interest in, and enjoyment of, learning about the past. 


Humanities in the Foundation Stage

The Early Years and Foundation Stage children currently follow the Early Years Statutory Framework, with Humanities as part of ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’. In this area of learning, children develop crucial knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world around them. This forms the foundation for later work in Science, Design and Technology and Computing, as well as History and Geography.

Children in EYFS have opportunities to:

  • talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members.
  • understand others don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this.
  • learn about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
  • explore similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
  • make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • undertake a local / heritage study in the final summer term  using books for a stimulus to learning

History and geography contributes significantly to the teaching of English in our school by actively promoting the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Children develop oracy through discussing historical and geographical questions or presenting their findings to the rest of the class, school and parents. They develop their writing ability by writing in a range of genres directly linked to the Learning Challenge Enquiry. Reading across the curriculum is also hugely promoted by a range of texts and reading activities also directly linked to the Learning Challenge Enquiry. 


We use computing in history and geography teaching where appropriate and we meet the statutory requirement for children to use computing as part of their work at Key Stages 1 and 2. Children use computing to enhance their skills in data handling and in presenting written work, children also research information using the Internet. Children have the opportunity to use digital camera’s, IPad’s and Ipod’s to record and use photographic images.

History and geography contribute significantly to the teaching of personal, social, citizenship and health education. Through our humanities teaching and learning children are given the opportunity to develop self-confidence by having opportunities to explain their views on a number of social questions such as how society have changed and the impact that has had on the world today. Through links to our British Values and Learning Challenges, children discover how to be active citizens in a democratic society by learning how laws are made and changed, and they learn how to recognize and challenge stereotypes and to appreciate that racism is a harmful aspect of society. They learn how society is made up of people from different cultures and start to develop tolerance and respect for others.

When teaching history and geography, we contribute to the children’s spiritual development. Children are encouraged to ask and offer answers to difficult questions. They have time to reflect on how their learning may have impacted on them. We encourage discussion, debate, creativity, empathy, respect and tolerance of themselves, others and the world around them. Children learn about the role of the church in the past and they find out how British society has changed over time. Our history and geography programme’s of study enables children to understand that Britain’s rich cultural heritage can be further enriched by the multi-cultural British society of today.

Continuity and Progression

Continuity allows pupils to build on their knowledge and understanding. At our school we ensure skills, knowledge and some concepts are revisited. The Learning Challenge Enquiries are mapped into key skills and knowledge for both subjects of Geography and History for each year group. The Learning Challenge Curriculum for History ensures children understand chronology, continuity and change and encourage children to can make links between different ‘periods’ of time in KS2. In KS1, children’s historical understanding is taught as a ‘theme’. 

 • history is taught chronologically starting from the Stone Age in Year 3 to the Vikings in Years 5 and 6.

* historical ‘themes’ are studied in KS1 such a ‘discoveries’ and ‘the great fire of London’

 • basic map skills are practised regularly.

 • the local area or environment is investigated across the school within geography

* heritage studies are completed from the foundation stage to year 6 in the final summer term 


All children keep a ‘Learning Challenge Log’ in which they build upon each lesson to answer related questions - this can be written or pictorial evidence of their historical and geographical learning. The children’s Learning Log’s include a compilation of work within school and at home and may also include children's own interests relating to their enquiry question. All challenges are considered complete once the child has produced either an extended piece of writing (which pulls together their learning for that particular enquiry) or children have taken part in celebration of their learning, thereby answering their Learning Challenge Big Enquiry Question. Evidence of learning may also be present in English writing books, reading books and classroom displays.

Assessment and Recording

Assessment, recording and reporting of humanities is in line with the whole school policy. Teacher observations and scrutiny of work form the assessment of the pupil’s knowledge and understanding in relation to the relevant descriptors in the National Curriculum. Overall teacher assessments, including the coverage of all skills and knowledge taught, provide information about progress and help to inform planning and reporting. Children’s progress in all subjects, including the humanities, is reported to parents in the children’s annual report. 

Enrichment and Cultural Capital

Children have many opportunities to foster their love of the humanities as we endeavour to provide a range of school visits, trips, workshops, speakers and visitors. We believe that this enriches and enhance the children’s understanding and enjoyment in this area of the curriculum by providing valuable experiences that build upon and develop historical and geographical learning in exciting and memorable ways. 

Year 1How have toy’s changed?

As part of this historical enquiry the children in year 1 visited Bethnal Green Childhood Museum and also made their own toys from the past within a school workshop.


Year 2Who has been the best queen of England?

During this Learning Challenge Enquiry, the children in year 2 visited Buckingham Palace and also hosted a Royal Tea Party for their family members!


Year 2Why did London burn and what was learnt by it?

The children enhanced their learning by participating in a fire safety workshop and enjoyed a visit from our local fire service


Year 3What does pre-history teach us? Stone Age to Bronze Age

In year 3, children thoroughly enjoy a day’s experience at Celtic Harmony Camp bringing their learning from the classroom into real life.


Year 4Why were the Roman’s so powerful and what did we learn from them?

Within this Learning Challenge Enquiry, children in year 4 visited the Verulamium Museum in St Albans


Year 4What can we rediscover about ancient civilizations and the wonders of Ancient Egypt?

The British Museum visit provided much excitement as the children enhanced their understanding of ancient civilizations by examining a range of artefacts within a class workshop.


Year 5To be or not to be? – Shakespeare (additional Learning Challenge Enquiry)

The Globe Theatre trip in year 5 gave children the historical understanding of Shakespeare’s theatre and his work within the Tudor period of history. 


Learning Challenge Logs and Classroom Displays

The children’s work within humanities is celebrated in a range of ways. We ensure Learning Challenge Enquiries are supported by classroom displays, children’s work and working walls.


Whole School Celebrations, Carnivals and Workshops

At Freezywater St Georges’ we celebrate and learn about our cultural diversity by participating in Black History Month. The children engage in a range of workshops including African drumming and mask making which also enhances the learning of Ancient Benin in year 6.

We also hold an extremely popular yearly carnival to celebrate our culturally enriched school.  


Heritage Studies

As previously mentioned, all children participate in a Local History Heritage Study in the Summer Term. These have been devised to inspire a thirst for using primary and secondary resources to solve an enquiry by building on and evaluating evidence to answer a ‘Big Question’ involving historical landmarks within the local area. Children are presented with a range of sources to piece together evidence to solve heritage ‘puzzles’.

EYFS  – study history around them by exploring ‘memories’ and life during war time.

Year 1 – study local history along the Hertford Road by identifying what is old and what is new

Year 2 – study Forty Hall and the families that lived their in the past

Year 3 – discover the story behind the Eleanor Cross at Waltham Cross

Year 4 – study the gunpowder plot in relation to Whitewebbs House

Year 5 – enquire about the burial sight and life of a Saxon of King (Harold II) at Waltham Abbey

Year 6 – embark on their own enquiry from a memorial about the Royal Enfield Small Arms Factory


Impact – What is the impact of our Humanities provision for our children?

All children will leave Freezywater St Georges’ School with a strong understanding of how British and world history developed. They will be able to identify some key individuals and understand their significance in history and be able place them into the wider contexts of history so that they can compare them with those that they will learn about in KS3. Children will understand that there is a ‘narrative’ to history which is based upon our understanding of the past and how we must keep learning about it to understand the future. Children will enter KS3 with confidence in their abilities to identify certain periods of history in a timeline. They will be able to talk about the durations of certain periods of history and the causes of period start and end dates. They will also be able to identify a selection of key dates from a multitude of periods having a solid understanding of the concurrent nature of history and articulate why it is important to study history in the contexts of other periods, and not just in isolation. Children will able to identify both major and minor changes and continuities throughout history, demonstrating their understanding of the key themes that they have studied throughout KS1 and 2,  identify trends throughout periods of history and begin to articulate why some of these were limited to particular periods of history or crossed into different eras - knowing that certain individuals, events and civilisations have had an incredible amount of influence on history and the formation of the world we know today.

In geography children will have secure understanding of human and physical conditions on the Earth’s surface ensuring they are able to develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment and the future of the human habitat and enhance children’s sense of responsibility for the care of the Earth and its people. Children will be able to discuss and debate relevant environmental issues with sound knowledge of pollution, habitats, erosion etc.

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