History / Geography


History Statement

At Trent, our pupils are passionate about history. They are curious about the past and keen to understand how and why events occurred; they go on to question why people interpret the past in different ways. As a school, we believe that high-quality history lessons encourage skills of critical thinking, weighing evidence, sifting arguments, and allow pupils to develop perspective and judgement. Over their years at Trent, pupils experience a rich and relevant curriculum, not just gaining knowledge of Britain’s past, and our place in the world, but helping them to understand the challenges of our own time…through studying the past, gaining skills for the future.

Wherever possible, links are made between subjects in projects with overarching themes (eg Chocolate) to contextualize and motivate learners. The learning objectives of each lesson draw from knowledge and skills included in the National Curriculum. Projects provide highly productive opportunities to use and apply basic skills in literacy and numeracy whilst strengthening pupils’ learning in history, or other subjects.

 Our guiding principles for History mean that we:

•Do it like they used to – use the senses to discover the features of an era- live the culture of the day!

•Use timelines to revise prior learning and to set the period of study alongside other events

• Start by asking questions (enquiry based learning) – investigate, think like a detective

• Use modern technologies (individual iPads) for genuine research allowing pupils’ learning to be driven by their individual interests and aspiration

• Check evidence from a range of sources and weigh up evidence from different viewpoints

• Link events and people- tell their story, become the character, take any excuse to dress up!

• Gather collections to help contextualise life in that time and deepen chronological awareness

• Reflect on “How has this made my life/others’ lives/the world different?”

• Bring research alive by sharing. Communicate ideas and findings to a range of audiences:

  • Make a class book of questions, experiences and projects
  • Extended project work – links home and school, and provides a range of materials for pupils to share and evaluate
  • Presentations to the class – give pupils chance to support, evaluate and challenge their own and others’ views
  • Class debates (‘The Balloon Debate’?) – encourage pupils to think, reflect, debate, discuss and evaluate the past, formulating and refining their own questions and lines of enquiry.
  • Museum days – ‘Open Day’ classroom for other classes to visit/ hear what you have learned
  • Make a short film using iMovie
  • A special assembly for parents, maybe including costume, drama, dance and music as well as 2D and 3D artwork

At first, our pupils develop an awareness of the past and the ways in which it is similar to and different from the present; they learn about the passing of time and about some key people and events from historical periods.

 For example, they learn:

  • the concept of nation and of a nation’s history
  • concepts such as civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy, and war and peace
  • the lives of significant individuals in Britain’s past who have contributed to our nation’s achievements, for example:
    • scientists such as Isaac Newton or Michael Faraday,
    • reformers such as Elizabeth Fry or William Wilberforce,
    • medical pioneers such as William Harvey or Florence Nightingale,
    • creative geniuses such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel or Christina Rossetti
  • key events in the past that are significant nationally and globally, particularly those that coincide with festivals or other events that are commemorated throughout the year, for example:
    • Remembrance Day
    • The Diamond Jubilee
  • significant historical events, people and places in London, for example:
    • the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, including Samuel Pepys

Older pupils are taught about:

  • the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome.
  • the chronology of British history with projects that focus on:
    • early Britons and settlers, including:
      • Celtic culture and patterns of settlement
      • Roman conquest and rule
      • Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, leading to the Norman period
    • the Tudor period, including religious strife and Reformation in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary leading to the reign of Elizabeth
    • the life and selective works of Shakespeare
    • life in Britain during the Second World War, including Winston Churchill.

Out of classroom learning is essential and varied class trips happen in every year. Visits include: The British Museum. The Natural History Museum, The V&A, The Verulamium, The Museum of London, The Ragged School, The Museum of Childhood… the number and variety increase every year! Additionally, specialist theatre groups and actors-in-role lead thoroughly enjoyable focus days. 

History comes alive in any way that we can make it happen. It is a hugely popular subject with many pupils extending their learning at home by choice. History at Trent integrates and uses skills across all subjects. For many children it evokes imagination and matches it with fact-finding. It balances ‘private’ enquiry with ‘public’ presentation skills. It provides a context for expression using the Arts and technologies.  At Trent, we believe that our children have excellent experiences of history and, in doing so, learn more about themselves.

 Geography Statement

 Geography lessons at Trent inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that we hope will remain with each child for the rest of their lives.

Our pupils learn about diverse places, people, resources and environments, with a deepening understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes and of the formation of landscapes and environments over time.

Wherever possible, links are made between geography and history topics. Projects may have overarching themes (eg Chocolate) to contextualize and motivate learners; the learning objectives of each lesson draw from geographic and historic knowledge and skills included in the National Curriculum.

Our guiding principles for Geography include:

√  Go there if you can – take a trip every half term, even it is simply a local walk

√ Make a model of the environment- a 3D map!

√ Be the person (maybe an early settler in America or Shackleton or a weather reporter)

√  Orienteering and treasure hunts (in any topic), map making and map reading happen in every year

√  Studying the weather?  Do it! Get wet or cold or hot – safely.

√ Learn about contrasting environments through our link schools in the UK and beyond, especially to sponsored families in Uganda to understand their ways of life.

At first, our pupils develop broad knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their home locality. For example, they are taught to:

  • name and locate the world’s continents and major oceans
  • name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas
  • understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of Cockfosters (as a small area of the United Kingdom) and, in contrast, Kampala (the hometown of our Compassion sponsored children) in Uganda
  • identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom (presenting weather reports)
  • broadly identify the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
  • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
    • key physical features, including: beach, coast, forest, hill, mountain, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, and weather
    • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, and shop
  • use world maps, atlases, technology (iPads) and globes
  • use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational language (e.g. near and far) to describe the location of features and routes on a map
  • use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key 
  • use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

Older pupils extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area and the United Kingdom to include Europe, North and South America and the world as a whole.

Pupils, for example, are taught to:

  • locate some of the world’s countries, using maps and modern technology (iPads) to focus on Europe and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
  • name and locate some counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics (including hills, mountains, cities, rivers etc) and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time
  • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, and time zones (including day and night)
  • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of a region in the United Kingdom (different from that taught earlier), a region or area in a European country (France), and a region or area within North or South America
  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
  • describe and understand key aspects of: 
    • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
    • human geography, including: settlements, land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals, and water supplies.
  • use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps)
  • use fieldwork to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.

Geography at Trent gives pupils a very good understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected. Pupils are given opportunities to carry out increasingly complex geographical enquiry, apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques in a wide range of contexts. Often their presentations are made to other classes in ‘Museum Days’ or in assemblies to the school. Short film presentations on iPads station provide a meaningful media for groups and individual pupils to present their conclusions and express well balanced opinion.
Out of classroom learning is essential and varied fieldwork/class trips happen in every year. Visits include: walking in our locality, in Trent Park, using the Underground, visiting the Thames, extended 3-day field work in Cuffley Woods and a week on the coast in Kent.
Trent has links with pupils from different background who live nearby, with the Old People’s home next door, a primary school in Paris and to a Kampalan village in Uganda. These relationships provide a rich, and real, context to learning about national and global issues.
At Trent, we believe that our children have excellent experiences of geography as an active subject, essential to understanding, describing and caring for our planet and all its peoples.

Curriculum Map for History and Geography

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