“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity.” ~ Cicero
Evidence of history is all around us; the buildings we study in, the places we visit at the weekend, the stories told by members of our family. The History curriculum at Orley Farm builds upon this existing knowledge in order to provide students with a widened historical understanding. It gives pupils a deeper awareness of what is happening in the world today.
At Orley Farm, the History department encourages pupils to ask questions, feed their inquisitive minds, and inspires them with the quandaries, beliefs and decisions of people in the past. We aim to reinforce British Values through everything we teach in History, and we give all learners the opportunity to weigh evidence in order to draw concise, details conclusions.
We believe that the study of history is essential to creating all-round good citizens, preparing learners for adult life by providing historical knowledge and discerning skills for the future.
Head of History
In the Pre-Prep children are encouraged to understand the difference between the past and the present by studying their own lives and events that have happened to them. This may include talking about and sharing important milestones with others, for example birthdays or special celebrations, or finding out about themselves as babies.
As they progress through the Pre-Prep the children learn about life in the past, for example the Victorian Age, and some historical figures. They are encouraged to use a variety of resources such as artefacts, books and images to search for further information. We aim to encourage the children to begin to sequence events using time-lines, and to form their own opinions about the historical figures and events they have learnt about.
Pupils continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of historical periods. When studying eras from history, pupils are encouraged to ask and answer questions about the past and suggest methods of finding answers by using historical sources. Progression in skills and understanding are taught through topics. Year 3 step back into time to Ancient Egypt, World War II and Ancient Greece Year 4 pupils encounter the Romans, Vikings and Aztecs. The children benefit from a wide range of experiences from educational visits, visiting workshops and an array of historical artefacts loaned to the school. Cross curriculum links ensure children are enthusiastically emerged within a topic.
In Y6, the children have one hour lesson of history per week. In Years 7 and 8 the children have two hour lessons. These are taught all by history specialists. Throughout the Y6 curriculum, we go on a worldwide historical trip using the theme of slavery. We look at the Middle Passage, the results of the US Civil War and the modern civil rights movement. Years 7-8 follow the cavalcade of British history through Medieval Times and the growth of the British Empire. These topics are prescribed by the many Independent Senior School that we feed. Source work and essay writing techniques are also taught in order to help the pupils for their upcoming entrance exams.
Assessment is on-going with regular homework in the US. There are also summer term exams for Y6 and additional mid-year exams in Y7-8 in order to familiarise pupils with the style and structure of the 13+ examinations.
The History Department has a lending library, enabling the children to borrow books and DVDs about subjects that the pupils are studying as well as historical topics of interest.