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National Curriculum

History and the national curriculum aims

History has a distinctive contribution to make to the aims of the national curriculum. The history programme of study provides opportunities to plan sequences of work, learning outcomes and teaching approaches that develop:

Successful learners

The aim of developing successful learners who are literate, numerate, enquiring and creative, who can communicate clearly, and who can work both independently and collaboratively, is at the heart of the history programme of study. These essential learning skills are developed through the key processes of historical enquiry, using evidence from and communicating about the past.

As they develop their understanding of the nature of historical study, pupils ask and answer important questions, evaluate evidence, detect bias, identify and analyse different interpretations of the past, and learn how to substantiate any arguments and judgements they make.

Studying history gives pupils opportunities to develop many of the skills essential to becoming successful learners by engaging with a range of complex issues in rich and varied contexts. Pupils learn about significant ideas and events that have shaped our world. They find out about the history of Britain, Europe and the world. Pupils develop a chronological overview that enables them to make connections within and across different periods and societies, to investigate Britain’s relationships with the wider world, and to relate past events to the present day and to their own lives.

Confident individuals

The curriculum aims to develop confident individuals who have a sense of self-worth, make informed choices, become increasingly independent and are open to the excitement and inspiration offered by human achievements. Developing these qualities is central to the teaching of history.

History stimulates an interest in the past. It fires pupils’ curiosity and imagination, moving and inspiring them with the dilemmas, choices and beliefs of people in the past. History helps pupils to develop their own identity through an understanding of events at personal, local, national and international levels.

The history programme of study provides opportunities for pupils to express their ideas about historical questions and issues in local, national and global contexts. The programme also offers an environment for pupils to explore their own values and beliefs. By analysing and evaluating how and why the past has been interpreted and represented in different ways, pupils learn to respond with confidence, developing coherent and substantiated arguments. Group discussion and the increasing use of a range of different media for presenting their work allow pupils to develop confidence when performing and to appreciate the value of working with others.

Responsible citizens

The study of history prepares pupils for roles as active and responsible citizens. The subject equips pupils with knowledge and skills that are valued in adult life, enhance their employability, and develop their ability to take part in a democratic society. History also encourages understanding of the origins of ethnic and cultural diversity.

History prepares pupils to question, on the basis of evidence, what they read or are told. In studying history, pupils have opportunities to investigate questions relating to: the changing nature of political power; continuities and changes in the lives of people in the past; people’s diverse ideas, beliefs and attitudes in past societies; and the changing nature of conflict and its lasting impacts. Through looking at these questions, pupils develop a better understanding of some of the key issues concerning the world today. This helps them to appreciate the importance of making a positive contribution to the communities in which they live.

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