Hey with Zion Primary School

Historical Association Quality Mark Final Report

Historical Association Quality Mark Final Report

Visit to: Hey with Zion Primary School Oldham                          Date: 26.5.16


Hey-with-Zion Primary School is a medium sized (301 on roll) voluntary controlled primary school with a joint Church of England and Methodist Foundation. The school is situated close to the centre of Lees, Oldham.   The school aims to offer a happy, safe and secure environment in which its children are well motivated and achieve highly. A key priority for the school is to raise pupil achievement in writing and this has steered   some of the choices made within the teaching of history particularly with regard to assessment.

Until September 2014, history was taught through the International Primary Curriculum (IPC.) From this date the school began to follow the revised National Curriculum for history and have now begun to utilise the HA schemes of work to support its delivery. The school achieved a Silver Quality Mark award in February 2015. From that date they have further developed practice in the school with particular regard to the targets set by the assessor.

Evidence for the assessment was obtained through scrutiny of the portfolio and discussions with the Deputy Head Teacher, a teaching assistant and the Subject coordinator. The assessor also had the opportunity to discuss the subject with pupils during class activities and a selection of key stage 2 pupils in an informal discussion. During the visit the assessor observed part of two lessons, one in mixed aged year 1 and 2 class focusing on Florence Nightingale and the other investigating Roman Roads in a mixed age year 3 and 4 class.


1.    Learning and Teaching:


The assessor determines that the school meets the QM criteria for Gold

It was clear from discussions with pupils that they enjoyed the subject and felt they gained a great deal from its study. It was apparent that they are empowered to take the initiative in lessons and often drive topics. Their opinions were sought at the beginning of topics and also in review at its conclusion. Pupils were clear what actions to take to seek changes to topics taught. They were clear about what constituted history for example they spoke articulately about how they were preserving their own histories in year 6 by writing entries for their year book. It was also clear that the study of history in school had stimulated them to study the subject further at home and also to communicate their learning to family and friends. Pupils in year 1 and 2 had a secure understanding of significance in relation to Florence Nightingale but could also apply the criteria to other people. CT is used to enhance the teaching of history as evidenced in the two lessons observed. The school is also introducing the use of a number of Apps into its history teaching

The continued development of history focused marking is a target (1.6). There was some evidence of this particularly at KS2 with reflective questions posed at the end of work encouraging responses from pupils. However the majority of feedback seen was literacy focused but it is appreciated that this is in accordance with the school priorities to raise standards in this area.


2.    Curriculum


The assessor determines that the school meets the QM criteria for Gold.

The organisation of the school into mixed aged classes results in some compromises being made in whole school planning of History. However the school continues to look at imaginative ways to overcome these problems and is willing to embrace any changes. Recently they have introduced teaching the Shang Dynasty and they are now considering incorporating a study of the Maya at KS2. The enquiry approach is adopted within planning and teaching with overarching questions and sub questions driving the teaching at KS2 and to some extent at KS1. History is allocated its own weekly time slot throughout the year in KS 2 and for the majority of the year in KS1. This time allocation is more favourable than that allocated to other foundation subjects, reflecting the high status of the subject. The history subject coordinator collaborates with other subject leads particularly literacy to ensure that the subject is meaningfully linked into other areas and also to ensure extra coverage of the subject. As a result history has been used as a focus for writing in a number of literacy genre.

Assessment trackers now provide teachers with support on the progression of concepts and processes. The locality is utilised effectively to develop learning in history with links to such areas as the cotton industry and local Roman history. It was evident from discussions with pupils that through this work they were able to make meaningful links between the local and national dimension. The subject co-ordinator is continuing to utilise these links and is currently teaching a local history project focusing on the testimony of the broader school community. They plan to share the findings with the community through a pop up exhibition.

An area for development (3.1) would be to look at the study of significant people at key stage 1 to look at appropriate figures to study alongside Florence Nightingale. In the future consideration should be given to studying alternative significant figures, which may have more relevance for the pupils in school.



3.    Achievement


The assessor determines that the school meets the QM criteria for Gold

Following the award of Silver the subject coordinator has acted on advice and revised assessment procedures and methods of monitoring. The revised tracking system facilitates ongoing assessment with objectives broken down to support tracking of particular skills and ensure progression is recognised. Evidence gathered is utilised for next step teaching and will be collated at the end of the year to support reporting to parents and for evaluation of teaching approaches etc. This system is now being adopted across the non-core in 2016-17. The majority of pupils at the school make progress relative to their starting points. The History subject coordinator is also the SENCO and this dual role ensures that inclusion is a priority ensuring all achievements are recognised and celebrated. The coordinator encourages staff to enable pupils to a present a range of forms of evidence. This ensures that pupils with weak literacy skills are not disadvantaged. Within the KS1 lesson observed pupils made recordings with I Pads as an alternative to writing evidence.



4.    Leadership


The assessor determines that the school meets the QM criteria for Gold

A range of evidence indicates that history enjoys a high status within the school. It is also clear that the SMT fully support the Subject Leader in her work to achieve gold status. This included the subject being selected as a performance management target for all teachers. This led to History being the focus for one of the three formally observed lessons for all staff. A mini inspection day focusing on History was also held. Reviewing the diverse range of information obtained from these various avenues ensures the subject co-ordinator has a good grasp of how history is currently being taught in the school and the areas for development.. Clearly the subject coordinator has utilised the Quality Mark application as part of a rigorous process of self-evaluation and in discussion it was clear she had an insightful appreciation of exactly what progress had been made and some areas with targets to achieve. Discussions on the day and portfolio evidence indicated that staff are well supported by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic subject co-coordinator. This has included input into staff meetings and in particular support for NQTs. This input has ensured that all staff have a shared vision as evidenced in discussions during the visit. Some barriers have prevented developing cluster work, however the school is now beginning to work more closely with secondary schools

A target (2.5) is for the subject co-ordinator to consider how they may begin to support other schools to raise standards in teaching History.





5.    Enrichment


The assessor determines that the school meets the QM criteria for Gold

Discussions with staff and pupils suggest that history is commonly the driver for enriching experiences for pupils across the school. The subject is often adopted as a theme within assemblies and pupils enthusiastically recounted the First World War themed assemblies they remembered. History also plays a key role in classroom environments with numerous displays incorporating the use of key terminology, artefacts and timelines.

History does not have a separate presence on the school website, however this is in accordance with school policies and instead it has a strong role within class blogs. The school is currently developing the use of a search mechanism to support searching individual subjects within the blogs.

The school has strong community links which includes collaboration with a number of local organisations, museums etc. This has had a positive impact on the teaching of the subject supporting such memorable experiences as the Roman reconstruction at a local fort and a study at the local church.

Time lining in school has been developed following guidance form the silver QM assessor however there is still scope for further development (5.2). Parallel timelines can be introduced in KS2 to illustrate concurrent events and to support pupils in making links between the local, national and international. Teachers should also avoid the use of commercially produced images for timelines that often portray stereotypical images of the past. Pupils could also be encouraged to add their own illustrations to the timelines to support the development of a sense of period.

The school continues to develop ways in which their teaching of history enhances experiences in other schools (5.1) and this can be a future target looking at the possibilities for participation at conference or forum events.


Final Comments:


Many thanks to Janet Light for her excellent communication prior to the visit and support on the day. I would also like to thank all the SMT and all the staff for making me feel so welcome. Most of all thank you to the pupils at Hey with Zion whose love of history was infectious and so obviously genuine. They were articulate, friendly and fun. Such wonderful ambassadors for your school.


Beverley Forrest


Award made- Yes

Level: Gold

Date of Award:


Renewal Date