Here at St. Joseph’s, we aim to provide a high-quality history education which will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past and events that have shaped the world today..
Here at St. Joseph’s, we aim to provide a high-quality history education which will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past and events that have shaped the world today. Teaching will equip pupils to ask and answer perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. We aim to extend our knowledge of key historic events and periods through engaging and enriching school visits which also help to deepen our pupil’s understanding. Through our teaching of History, we aim to develop the essential knowledge, skills and understanding, which are the building blocks for later life.
History is taught through timetabled specific lessons on a half termly basis, alternating with geography.
As part of the EYFS Framework, children are taught all about ‘Understanding the World’. Please see our long term overview and EYFS page for our Nursery and Reception curriculum information.
Key Stage 1 and 2
The national curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
- Gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’ understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections
- Draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
- Gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
Assessment of children’s learning in History is an ongoing monitoring of children’s understanding, knowledge and skills by the class teacher, throughout lessons. This assessment is then used to inform differentiation, support and challenge required by the children.
Summative assessments take place throughout the year and teachers record the progress and attainment against the National Curriculum expectations. Teachers use this information to inform future lessons; ensuring children are supported and challenged appropriately. This data is analysed on a termly basis to inform and address any trends or gaps in attainment.
Final end of year assessments are made using assessment criteria that has been developed in line with the National Curriculum. Thus identifying the level in which the child is working.
Below you will find the whole school subject overview and progression frameworks for this area of the curriculum:
Your child will be required to demonstrate a range of skills in each of these subject areas as they move through the school. We have produced some guidance on the progression of these skills across each year group. Please click on the links below.
We provide our children with opportunities to explore their local area; carefully planning trips to link with termly topics in order to bring learning to life.
Celtic Harmony Trip! – 4th October 2023
In Year 3, we ventured to Celtic Harmony! This trip linked into our History topic this term of the ‘Stone age’. On the day we went back in time and learnt all about hunting, building, gathering and the general way of life back in the stone age. In the morning we got to enjoy den building and the making of tools that were used back in the stone age.
We engaged in some Stone age hunting and gathering. After we had gathered all the food it was time to cook this delicious food up.
Highgate Cemetery Trip! – 3rd October 2023
A thoroughly fascinating trip to Highgate Cemetery this week in Year 4! We explored the wonders of the West side of the Cemetery, which included learning about George Wombwell and his two lions! Thomas Sayers who was a well-known bare-knuckle prize fighter and had 10,000 people attend his funeral whereas, Karl Marx only had 20! We also learned Elizabeth Jackson was the very first person buried at the cemetery and Michael Faraday was an important scientist who contributed to the invention of electricity.
We know Highgate Cemetery was built during the Victorian era and there was a need for cemeteries due to the poor conditions and diseases during that time which led to many deaths. The cost of a grave would be roughly around £61,000 our lovely tour guides Peter and Terry shared with us and there are currently 53 thousand graves!
We went through into Egyptian Avenue and even entered one of the catacombs. We found out Egyptian Avenue is where one of the rarest spiders known as the: Orb Weaver Spider can be located and we are told there are many of them inside the vaults due to the spiders only living in complete darkness…. and thankfully for us, we did not have to see any!!!
We ventured to the East side of the Cemetery, where we discovered George Eliot (also known as Mary Ann Cross), Claudia Jones (who helped launch Notting Hill Carnival) and Karl Marx (German philosopher)! We were astonished at the abundance of history which is right on our doorstep in our local area and will take what we have learned on the trip into our lessons for the rest of the term!
British Museum Trip – 24th May 2023
Year 4 ventured off to the British Museum to enhance their knowledge and understanding in our History and Geography topics. First, we explored the fascinating history of our current topic; The Ancient Egyptians. We saw statues, paintings, murals and artefacts which gave us an insight into Ancient Egyptian life. The children were very excited to see the real Rosetta stone, the tablet that unlocked the secret of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Then, we found the exhibition on death and the afterlife in Ancient Egyptian times. The children completed worksheets to compare a sand and coffin burial, discussing whether the features of each body had been preserved successfully. There was also a range of materials and objects on display which helped us to understand the process of mummification which the Egyptians carried out after a death, such as canopic jars and metal rods to remove organs. The children spotted and recorded evidence from the tombs which showed us the various beliefs the Ancient Egyptians had about the afterlife.
Next, we went to the Roman exhibition to build upon our learning in our previous history topic; Roman Britain. The children loved seeing the various items, ranging from stone and metal sculptures of emperors and gods to jewellery, silverware, pottery and glass.
Finally, we explored the Americas exhibition in preparation for our final Geography topic in the coming term. The wide range of historical and archaeological objects helped the children to begin to think about the vast culture they might learn about.
Ancient Egyptians – 22nd May 2023
Sapphire Class produced a wonderful assembly demonstrating all of the knowledge they have acquired so far in our topic: Ancient Egypt! They spoke clearly and confidently with amazing expressions and delivery of their lines! We are incredibly proud of you all, well done Sapphire Class!
Some amazing comments were left by our lovely parents:
‘They have really developed their confidence, great to watch well done!’
‘A wonderful assembly, I learned lots!!’
‘Staff have done a fantastic job, well done Sapphire Class!!’
‘Extremely proud of all the children, you were all FANTASTIC!’
Local Visit to Kenwood House – 12th May 2023
Year 3 enjoyed a local visit to Kenwood House this week as part of their Local History topic. We began our day with a beautiful sunny walk to Kenwood through Highgate Village. When we arrived at Kenwood house pupils were organised into groups for entering the house. Green Class enjoyed their tour first whilst Emerald class had their break and enjoyed many games on the green.
Pupils found that the tour of the house was highly interesting and added to their understanding of what life was like during the time period. Highlights included seeing the renowned Robert Adam interiors and the exquisite artwork from the Old Masters, and the stunning landscape of Hampstead Heath featuring intriguing sculptures and architecture to explore. Pupils also received insight into Britain’s role in the creation and abolition of the transatlantic slave trade through discussion of key figure Dido Belle.
The Kings Coronation!
Nursery’s excitement grew as they started to prepare for the celebration of the King’s Coronation. They made special crown biscuits decorated with jewels. They designed and created their own crowns and even produced their own pictures of The King!
Seaside Holidays! – 28th April 2023
Year 2 produced a wonderful assembly showcasing many different interesting facts they have learnt over their topic this year! A joy to watch with children singing and speaking beautifully, well done Year 2!
Roman Rulers – 24th March 2023
Year 4 are coming to the end of their History topic on ‘Roman Britain’. They have been reflecting on what they think is the most significant Roman legacy for people in Britain today. We discussed how the Romans pioneered important aspects of road building, introduced roman numerals and the shared language of Latin, as well as influenced artistic movements and techniques. The children presented arguments for each legacy and we compared the positive and negative impacts of the Roman invasion. Over the last six weeks, the children have developed a strong understanding of how intelligent, organised and resourceful the Romans must have been to invade and occupy Britain for so long and change things so radically.
This week we also organised a Roman march, a practical opportunity for the children to apply their knowledge of the Romans in a fun way. They investigated how the Roman army was organised, before role-playing a reconstruction of a Roman army drill with Latin instructions. They had great fun marching through the playground and creating their own testudo to protect themselves.
Over the past few weeks, the children have also been presenting their Roman home projects to their peers. This is a brilliant opportunity for them to recall and share all the information they have been researching.
Mosaics at Navigator Square – 23rd March 2023
In September, Year 5 were asked to participate in the creation of a mosaic at Navigator Square, depicting the Irish culture and heritage of Islington and London. In sessions with Georgie Fay, a local artist, and Seán McGovern, Heritage Project Manager, the classes learned about Irish history in Islington and had the opportunity to create symbols, images, text and other designs which were incorporated into larger murals. This work was then used by Maud Milton to create the final mosaics to be placed in Archway’s Navigator Square.
Some Year 5 pupils were invited to attend and assist in the unveiling of the mosaics. This event was also attended by Islington’s current Mayor, Marian Spall, as well as Troy Gallagher, her predecessor, who proposed the project. Music was provided by two Irish musicians; one of whom was a former pupil of St Joseph’s. Also in attendance was the Ambassador from Ireland, Martin Fraser. He thanked the children for their contributions in making and designing the finished piece. He said he looked forward to an opportunity to visit the school.
A Dinosaur in the playground! – 21st March 2023
In reception, the children received an email from Michel with a video attached. They made predictions about what the video might be about before seeing it. Some children guessed correctly when they said they thought it might be a dinosaur. Once outside a group of children decided to set a trap to try and catch the dinosaur if he came back.
Inside children learned how to manipulate and mold the clay into a ball before flattening. Children then inserted a mini dinosaur into the clay to make a fossil.
In Red class, the caterpillars have now made their chrysalis. We are excited to see them change and develop over the next week. In Ruby class, the caterpillars have not yet made their chrysalis so we have taken the opportunity to explore similarities and differences.
Seaside Holidays – 15th March 2023
During this half-term in History, the Year 2 children have been learning about the recent past. In particular, they have discovered what seaside holidays were like during the 1950s and 1960s. They have learned about Punch and Judy shows, helter-skelters and donkey rides. Many children have also been busy at home making their very own projects based on this topic.
The Bronze and Iron Age – 2nd February 2023
Year 3 have been using their history skills to find out more about the Bronze and Iron ages. They have explored artefacts, compared home life during both ages and how the quality of life was impacted by the dangers faced during the Bronze and Iron Ages. The pupils even went on to investigate the findings of the Amesbury Archer who was discovered three miles from Stonehenge by Wessex Archaeology staff in May 2002. His grave was the richest from this period (the early Bronze Age) ever found in Britain and contained the country’s first gold objects. The Amesbury Archer is believed to date back to 2300 BC!
Highgate Cemetery – End of Topic! 13th December 2022
A phenomenal end to our Highgate Cemetery Topic! Year 4 produced SPECTACULAR writing about some of the key things they have learned during this term (there were not enough pages to cover all their extensive knowledge!!). A truly wonderful and historic term full of brilliant engagement and enthusiasm for the topic, well done Year 4!!!
Great Fire of London! – 18th November 2022
Local History: Highgate Cemetery – 17th November 2022
Year 4 visited Highgate cemetery in order to bring their History topic to life. We had a tour of the West cemetery and explored the East cemetery ourselves. The children were blown away by the stories they heard and the sights they saw.
In the East cemetery, we visited the famous graves of Karl Marx, Patrick Caulfield and George Eliot. The children were very surprised to hear that George Eliot was in fact a woman author, who disguised herself as a man as she felt that women authors were not taken seriously. They were also very interested in the work of Karl Marx, and we spent time thinking about the meaning of the famous quote on his gravestone “workers of all worlds unite”.
We spent time finding some of the grave symbols we had been studying, such as the clasped hands, angels, anchors and inverted torches, and discussing why they might have been chosen for particular graves.
In the West cemetery, our fantastic tour guides brought us to the main sites, such as the graves of Thomas Sayers and George Wombwell, which had sculptures of their beloved animals. We heard stories (some gruesome) about their lives and discussed the legacies they had left behind.
We then ventured into ‘Egyptian Avenue’ to find the rare orb weaver spider! We learned that Victorians had a strong interest in Egypt and had used inspiration from Egyptology to design their tombs. At the end of the avenue, the Circle of Lebanon, which was originally built around the cedar tree of Lebanon, featured a range of mausoleums. These led us to the catacombs. Luckily, we had the opportunity to go inside to learn about the famous people buried here. This included Robert Liston, a Scottish surgeon who specialised in amputations. Known as the ‘fastest knife in the West End’, he could remove a patient’s leg in under 30 seconds.
This was a tremendous trip that enabled the children to appreciate the depth of history the cemetery has to offer – right on our doorstep too!
RAF – Colindale – 15th November 2022
The year 6 children experienced life as a British child during World War II. They learned the importance of ‘blackouts’ and Air Raid Wardens as well as discussing the tactics and uses of incendiary devices (firebombing). The children also explored how it would feel in a bomb shelter when bomb sirens ring!
Nursery’s learning about special days – 11th November 2022
Nursery have been learning about a range of special days this week. On Monday we shared our experiences of Bonfire night and made a range of firework-related art pieces to express what we saw and heard. At the end of the week, we learned about Remembrance day, to remember heroes and the people who have helped us. We observed a two-minute silence and said a prayer. We then made poppies from playdough and collage materials!
School Timeline! – 4th November 2022
Year 4 began a new History topic; Highgate Cemetery. The children discovered when Highgate Cemetery opened and then tried to plot this on our school timeline. This was during the Victorian era, and the children discussed the other significant events which fell around this time. Then, we explored what life would have been like around this time, comparing the difference between wealthy and poor Victorian children. This will be a great foundation for exploring the death crisis which led to the cemetery being built.
Stone Age Day – Celtic Harmony – Thursday 6th October 2022
Year 3 had a wonderful insight into the life during the Stone Age! They visited the Celtic Harmony site BUT they had to request access to the village by letting them know that they came in peace. The villagers bargained with us and eventually, they were granted access. The children had a busy morning hunting and foraging in the forest for stereotypical Stone Age foods and vegetables. They had an informative discussion about how hunters and gatherers knew what to eat and where to get it. Then the children headed deeper into the forest to complete their hunting training. Children got to experience hunting wild animals with their ‘training spear’. Before lunch pupils tried their hand at building a Stone Age den! Children were exposed to a wealth of information about different tools made and used in the Stone Age and their different jobs. Following this, they made their way into the roundhouse for a Stone Age cooking class. To end our day Year 3 came together in the main roundhouse for a traditional Stone Age storytelling session.
Year 3 Green Class Assembly
In connection with their topic The Stone Age, Year 3 performed a magnificent assembly showcasing their wonderful learning throughout the topic!
Museum of London – 5th October 2022
Year 2 had an amazing time exploring the Museum of London! The Great Fire of London section was perhaps the most interesting as the children will be learning more about this historic event next half-term, they established The Great Fire of London occurred in 1666, which produced further discussions about how and why this might have happened in London – they are already looking forward to Topic!
Kahoot Quiz – 14th October 2022
Year 5 took part in a Kahoot Quiz about Anglo-Saxons. What was the name of the King who invited the Anglo-Saxons to Britain? What battle brought an end to the Anglo-Saxons? We were checking their knowledge about our latest topic. Everyone was the winner in this game!
Pupils are taking over! – 30th September 2022
Year 6 finished the week with a very special Topic lesson that was team-taught by our wonderful Athina from Violet Class. Athina taught both classes about Greece and introduced us to the Greek alphabet. The pupils then had the opportunity to write their own names in Greek!
Technology plays a key role in our teaching of History. Our children love using the VR headsets which allow them to become immersed in the time period and provide stimulating experiences to further explore their topic learning.