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As our students leave us at the end of Year 6, what do we want them to know, to understand and to be able to do in history?

We have a vision of what our Year 6 historians should look like. By the time they reach upper KS2, if they have been with us at The Vale from Early Years, we want our pupils to really be able to understand and explain key events in modern history, especially ones that have shaped modern society, particularly in Britain, and the idea of how events in in the past have shaped and made the present. We want them to have a sense of who we are, and why we are the way we are as a nation.

When we thought through how to build up to that, we realised we also want our historians to be able to analyse history and use the disciplinary skills. So, we want our Year 6 historians to look at a piece of evidence, for example and analyse it, asking, ‘Is it reliable?’ ‘ What can I learn from it, if it is unreliable?’ For example, a text about Winston Churchill, we want our pupils to ask, ‘who is the person who wrote this text? What did they want us to feel? Did they want to hammer home that he as so great and that things he did were fantastic, and where is the factual evidence behind that?

Alongside knowing the facts about history, we wanted pupils them to be able to question history and question different perspectives of history, building their own understanding of events. We use the golden thread concepts of ‘power and rule’, social history’ and ‘cause and caustation’ to help guide our pupils to help build their understanding of time periods and events building up to modern Britain as it is.