We believe that the fundamental role of the History teacher is to encourage children to develop their skills of enquiry through analysis, debate, logical thought and evaluation. We would like to inspire Pinewood children to have a lifetime’s love of history.
We believe that a sound and broad historical base is needed to help pupils understand the present world in light of the past. It enables children to develop a sense of identity and adds to children’s knowledge and understanding of countries and cultures. Through History teaching we encourage children to consider aspects of life from varying perspectives.
In the Prep School, History is taught in chronological order. Year 3 begins with the Ancient Egyptians, the Stone Age, Bronze and Iron Age. Links are made to local sites such as Uffington Hillfort and Stonehenge. They then go on to study the Celts and the Romans. Year 4 study the Ancient Greeks, the Indus Valley and the Vikings. In all these topics cross-curricular links are made as part of the creative curriculum approach.
Year 5 pupils study the turbulent Medieval period with focus on the huge economic and social changes, as well as the stories of battles, revolts and monarchs. The next period studied is the Tudors and Stuarts, which is perfect for the Year 6 age group, who visit Mary Arden’s Farm (part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), where the pupils spend the day as a Tudor child helping on the farm.
History in Years 7 and 8 links in with the other Humanities subjects, TPE and Geography, where relevant. The Year 7 themes are ‘I’ve got the Power’, and ‘Crazy Conflicts.’ Topics for Year 7 include the rise and fall of the British Empire, the Napoleonic Wars, WW1, the inter-war years and the suffragettes. Year 8 topics embrace the theme of ‘Big Issues’ and answer key questions, such as Churchill: Hero or Villain? What are your human rights? British identity, civil rights, current affairs and debates are also covered as the children move towards the deeper critical thinking and analysis skills needed for their senior schools.
Pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 take part in a carefully crafted two-year Humanities Course which has replaced the Common Entrance syllabus and exam. Pupils are assessed throughout the two years with a mixture of project work, presentations, essay writing, and formal exams. The culmination of the course takes place in the Spring Term of Year 8 where the children work in a group on their ‘Social Responsibility’ topic which is completely cross-curricular with TPE and Geography. They present their project to an audience of parents, teachers, peers and school governors.
We keep records of their achievement in three key areas: research skills, spoken language, listening skills, and structured writing and formal assessment.
We are lucky to be able to use a wealth of resources to arouse children’s imaginations and put them in the past. We use artefacts, the school IT room, laptops, Chrome books, iPads, Interactive White Boards, our well-stocked library, and up-to-date textbooks. Lessons can take place in the outdoor classroom, maybe around the campfire to bake Viking bread or to learn Celtic crafts. Many approaches are used, including the use of multimedia, drama and individual study.
Each year group in the school experiences History outside the classroom, which is a huge part of our ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ ethos at Pinewood. Trips, workshops, and visits are varied.
Local trips include Ufton Court (Year 4), Windsor Castle (Year 5) or Mary Arden’s Farm (Year 6). Further afield, Year 8 visit London on their Humanities Field Trip and take part in the Battle of Britain experience at RAF Hendon. Year 7 visit the Somme battlefields, the Albert WW1 Museum, and the Thiepval Memorial as part of their Pinewood Adventure weekend in the Summer Term.