The underlying basis for the inclusion of foundation subjects within early years and primary education might not be immediately apparent, particularly for first year students studying towards qualified teacher status. This essay will, therefore, unfold the reasons for this inclusion whilst including specific reference to the enclosure of history teaching. The National Curriculum (NC), introduced in 1988 and currently undergoing revision, consists of the core subjects: English, mathematics and science; compulsory at all key stages, and the foundation subjects: art, design technology (DT), geography, history, information and communication technology (ICT), modern foreign languages (MFL), music, personal, social and health education (PSHE)
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Ofsted (2011) claimed that this was due to ‘many primary teachers not having adequate subject knowledge’ (p.4). This developed the need for the curriculum to ensure that pupils study an overview as well as in-depth topics. The old curriculum (2000) states that pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through: a local history study; three British history studies; a European history study; a world history study (p.106). Whereas the Programmes of Study for the revised curriculum (2013) shifts towards how history fits together and how events from one time period can affect another, maintaining that teaching should combine overview with in-depth studies to aid pupils understanding on chronology (p.3).
In Ofsted-registered settings, children from birth to 5 years old work towards the EYFS as opposed to the NC. With regards to history, much of what this age range will learn comes from the ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ aspect of the Early Learning Goals. It is expected that by the end of the foundation stage, children will ‘talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members’ (DfE, 2012, p.9) The EYFS understands that it would be unrealistic for such young children to fully comprehend the defined body of factual information that is history, however a