Chesham Bois CE School
At Chesham Bois, we teach Humanities as part of our Independent Creative Curriculum. This allows us to teach through integrated topics, making meaningful links to other curricular areas. Our teaching of humanities is skill-focused, knowledge rich and enhanced by a range of trips and expert visitors. We want our children to leave CBS as independent, creative and responsible citizens who are eager to learn more about the world around them.
The aims of our Humanities curriculum are:
- To inspire our children to be curious about the past and the world around them, through creative teaching and independent learning.
- To give our children a foundation of knowledge about Britain; past key periods, events and figures as well her changing natural and human environment. This will help our children understand their place in the world and make sense of our British values.
- To engage our children with the wider world; giving them an understanding of and interest in diverse places and different cultures, their interconnectedness and changes over time. This will help our children become responsible citizens and deepen our CARE culture within the school.
- To ensure our children have the skills and understanding to face the challenges of their time.
The curriculum at Chesham Bois is carefully mapped out to ensure that pupils acquire knowledge, vocabulary and skills in a well-thought out and progressive manner in the humanities, ensuring sufficient coverage across each subject over time. New learning is based upon what has been taught before and prepares pupils for what they will learn next. There are clear end points which pupils work towards on their learning journey. We know that if our pupils are learning our curriculum, they are making progress and are being prepared for the next stage of their educational journey.
Our humanities teaching is structured by a two-year rolling programme, based on the National Curriculum, ensuring a balance of Geography and History within Key Stages. Topics are mapped out by Summary Pages but planned by individual teachers to allow their personal strengths and interests, and the interests and needs of the class to be prioritised. Classes are involved in designing their learning through a KWL grid, completed at the beginning of each Topic, where children can share what they know (K) and what they want to learn (W). At the end of a topic, children complete what they have learnt (L) enabling them to reflect on their learning. Children’s self-assessment informs teacher assessment which is recorded termly using Target Tracker. Links between topics are also carefully planned to ensure knowledge is retained and to develop Chronological Understanding in History and Locational Knowledge in Geography.
Across the school, a cross-curricular approach is valued. Links between Humanities teaching and Art and Design, Design and Technology and Music are planned and evidenced in Topic plans. Humanities lessons are also opportunities to consolidate and deepen core subject skills and this is evidenced by book work across the school.
During each unit of work, all children are given the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways in order to ensure that our curriculum is friendly for children of all learning types. This is facilitated through use of:
- Creative writing (with links to English where possible)
- Art work
Children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are taught Humanities for at least an hour each week. Teachers will build on learning from previous years to ensure a depth of understanding in the following areas:
- Locational knowledge
- Geographical skills and fieldwork
- Human and physical geography
- Chronological understanding
- Historical enquiry
- Historical interpretations
- Understanding of events, people and changes
Across these focus areas, key skills such as making comparisons and finding contrasts and differences, analysis, research and developing arguments are practiced and embedded to equip our children to be confident learners in the Humanities.
Year R follows the Early Years Framework where Humanities skills and knowledge are first developed through Understanding the World, one of seven key areas. Topics are child- led, reflecting the needs and interests of the children, and they influence teaching across the curriculum. In this way, the children are immersed in their topic and it inspires all their learning in a cross-curricular approach.
At Chesham Bois, we use creative displays, featuring a 3D or interactive element to help to record and inspire children’s learning. In KS1, role play areas are big enough for children to play in. In LKS2 interactive role play displays are created wherever possible. In UKS2, topic displays include a 3D element and showcase children’s work. All humanities displays are interactive, presenting key questions which promote deeper thinking on the subject being taught. Teachers use displays to support their teaching of each topic, encouraging creativity within lessons.
Our humanities curriculum is underpinned by rich topic vocabulary, enabling children to discuss each unit of work in depth and with confidence. Each class has key words displayed for children to refer to throughout a unit of work. The children show a good understanding of this vocabulary by using it in their writing and other topic work. Unfamiliar words to the children, which they will come across in their lessons, will be taught and learnt, becoming part of their active working vocabulary. Topic Boxes provided by Bucks Library help to further enhance children’s Humanities vocabulary and are opportunities for private study and research in the classroom. As children move through the year groups, they will build a bank of humanities terminology that is vast and meaningful to them.
Teachers are offered the opportunity to build their own knowledge and understanding of topic areas and our CBS curriculum through CPD opportunities. These can be delivered by peers during talking curriculum sessions in staff meetings and through outside providers who are experts in their field. Another key opportunity for both staff and pupil learning are termly trips, visits, fieldwork and ‘History off the Page’ events. They are opportunities for children to apply, explore and build on their classroom learning and have hands-on experiences which enrich their understanding. These opportunities also ensure that staff are confident in their subject knowledge and understand our uniquely tailored curriculum, which provides children with an intellectually rigorous humanities programme.