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Humanities at Firs

Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.

Firs Primary School is committed to ensuring all children are able to access a knowledge-rich, broad and balanced curriculum with teaching and learning being at the heart of the delivery of the curriculum. It aims to be bold, free thinking and rigorous; underpinned by a commitment to the school values, ensuring equity, learner empowerment and encouraging social mobility.  An essential element of our knowledge rich curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this.  A renewed focus on speech and language is a key driver of the revised curriculum and this is supported by the Voice21 scheme to develop Oracy in the classroom.


Live:  Children will have the knowledge and understanding to go into their next stage of life appreciating the world, cultures and people around them. Children will also develop their knowledge and understanding of life appreciating events of the past and the importance of them to their future. 

Love:  Children will develop a love and passion for Geography and History that will last a lifetime.

Learn: Children will learn how to develop a curiosity and a fascination about the world around them.  Develop historical skills and concepts which are transferable to whatever period of history is being studied and will equip the children for future learning.

Aims of the Humanities curriculum:

At Firs Primary School, we use the Cornerstones curriculum, which includes Knowledge Rich Projects and Imaginative Learning Projects. The aim of the Humanities curriculum is to provide a more subject-driven, knowledge-rich approach to teaching these subjects.

Progression in the Humanities curriculum:

The subject aspects are linked and developed throughout the projects, and build in complexity over time. The projects make links across themes and topics, building children’s contextual knowledge across year groups. For example, children first explore the concepts of hierarchy and power in Magnificent Monarchs in Year 2. Then, in KS2, children study how hierarchy and power develop and change from the earliest times in Britain and the wider world, through to the world wars of the 20th century.

Explicit knowledge in the Humanities curriculum:

Lessons in the Knowledge Rich Projects are ambitious and offer a level of challenge. They are carefully planned in sequence to allow children to develop, use, retrieve and build on prior knowledge. Each project includes planned opportunities for children to apply learned skills and knowledge, such as; low stakes quizzes, end of project tests and challenging innovation tasks.

Curriculum organisation of the Humanities curriculum:

The projects follow the four stage learning pedagogy of Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express.  They include an alternative, school-based Firs Memorable Experience and an introductory knowledge lesson to equip children with the information they need prior to studying a new topic in depth. The lessons in the projects detail the key aspects of the National Curriculum and the granular knowledge and skills that children need to learn.

Reading, writing and talking in the Humanities curriculum:

The projects expose children to a wide range of ambitious, subject-specific vocabulary. Vocabulary is introduced, revisited and reinforced over time, so that children become confident and articulate as they progress throughout the curriculum. A set of display words and a knowledge organiser glossary are included with each Knowledge Rich Project to make it easy for children to use new words independently.

Each Knowledge Rich Project has a set of English packs that include activity suggestions and resources. The packs give children the opportunity to read and explore rich texts while writing for different purposes across a range of genres. The thematic approach enables children to expand their subject and contextual knowledge further and use their subject knowledge and vocabulary in their writing. Each pack includes a model text, checklist, planning template and other useful resources.

Delivery of the Humanities curriculum:

At Firs our vision for Teaching and Learning is rooted in high expectations and an unconditional belief that every child can achieve and succeed according to their unique abilities. We believe in challenge, engagement and deep learning (mastery). This is promoted through careful curriculum planning, modelled examples of practice and the use of responsive teaching through planned and purposeful checking for understanding. A positive and stimulating learning environment ensure behaviour for learning is central to our vision, as we strive for a warm and productive classroom climate. We carefully plan assessment to ensure we develop retrieval and schema to build on learning and make connections between subjects.  Finally, we explicitly plan for the delivery of Reading, Talking and Vocabulary in all subjects and this underpins our approach to teaching and learning at Firs.

Firs Foundation of Effective Practice ensures we have a whole school approach to delivering our curriculum vision.  The six Foundations provide staff with a learning model to ensure we deliver lessons based on research evidence, the six Foundations we model our Teaching and Learning on:

Foundation 1: Culture and Climate.

Foundation 2: Checking For Understanding.

Foundation 3: Explaining and Modelling.

Foundation 4: Reading, Talking and Vocabulary.

Foundation 5: Curriculum Planning.

Foundation 6: Retrieval and Schema building. 

In summary the impact of a powerful knowledge Humanities curriculum at Firs will have the following features:

  • Subject driven.
  • Knowledge-rich.
  • Systematic.
  • Progressive.
  • Imaginative and engaging.
  • Provides pupils with knowledge that is outside of their lived experience.
  • Ensure children are Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.