Intent and Aims
We want all students to develop a curiosity for the past and to develop a historical framework that helps them to understand the world in which they live. History will develop their critical thinking through an analysis and evaluation of the past.
History is more than just a collection of dates and facts; it helps students to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time. We want all students to leave enthused and inspired by history, with a broad narrative of British and world history and a range of historical concepts and skills that create critical thinkers. We want our learners to understand the process of change, to see how we arrived ‘here’ and help them to make sense of the present. Students will explore the big stories of power, everyday life and global connections through time from the Romans to present day, through a range of interesting topics drawn from the history of Britain, Europe and the wider world.
We draw heavily upon the National Curriculum and exam specifications but we also look to create an even challenging and ambitious curriculum by going beyond this either within the classroom or through homework activities. This curriculum provides students with a historical framework to understand the importance of being respectful, considerate and open-minded citizens who have a sense of pride in the diverse world in which they live. Our Curriculum allows students to build, revisit and develop the key skills valued by historians including cause and consequence, change and continuity, significance, interpretation and source enquiry skills.
In the History Department we strive for excellence in all that we do. We want our students to aspire to lifelong learning in history be that through books, documentaries and films and excellence in an academic study of History at GCSE, A level and University.
- Enthuse students with a long-lasting enjoyment for History and inspire curiosity about the people and world around them.
- Understand how History has shaped the world around them and help students discover their own identity in the world.
- Have a real appreciation that history helps us see why things have happened and explain the process of change
- Develop empathy for the struggles of people in the past and the present.
- Identify, celebrate and relate with the diversity in our communities by including key historical figures and events that take account of different ethnicities and genders to promote equality, diversity and tolerance.
- Promote and develop the value of historical concepts and skills ideas in preparation for further study in history and/or the world of work.
- Develop independent learners and critical thinkers through an evaluation of evidence and interpretations
- Develop historical literacy to help students become critical thinkers and recognise real and fake news.
- Enable students to understand why History has a pre-eminent place in education and society, and appreciate the fundamental importance to the way the world has developed
- Articulate their thinking in history (verbally and through writing) increasingly well and respond effectively to command words (describe, explain, analyse, assess, evaluate) and deploy historically abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry.
- Understand that history isn’t the past but is a construct and appreciate that people construct the past based on their own beliefs, views, and contexts.
- Chronology: Identify significant events and patterns in history over long periods of time through narratives, timelines and living graphs.
- Significance: See that some events are viewed as more significant than others – and this view of significance can change.
- Change and continuity: Be able to see how, when and why change happens – and to see the extent and pace of change, and how change isn’t always progressing.
- Cause and consequence: Classify, analyse, explain and evaluate a range of causes and consequences and the link between the two.
- Know how to make inferences from historical evidence
- Think critically and evaluate historical sources in the context of the period and the importance of Nature, Origin, and Purpose in shaping contemporary views.
- Evaluate and weigh up different interpretations of the past to reach informed judgements.
- Power: how Britain has moved from a monarchy to a democracy with a parliament and constitutional monarchy; how ideologies have become increasingly important in shaping the modern world and the impact of war on the leadership of Britain.
- Everyday life and people: how, when and why people have had their rights and freedoms limited and how they have looked to challenge this injustice and how changes in ideas and technology have shaped the way we live and work.
- Global connections: how warfare and peace keeping have changed over time; how and why Britain is connected with the world
Our programmes of study
Our programme enables students to know the ‘big’ stories of the past from the Romans to present day. These stories incorporate local links and a range of diverse voices to make this an inclusive history. From their KS3 studies our students will ‘takeaway’ a chronological narrative of the big stories (power, everyday life and global connections), a sense of period and an understanding of Britain’s place in the wider world. While there is an emphasis on British history, we also incorporate European and global studies including France, Germany, the USA, Africa and Asia.
We include a mix of thematic, breadth and depth studies. Students will learn how and why power has changed and the events and ideologies that have shaped how they will study the shift from monarchy to democracy, the importance of ideologies and the development of dictatorships. They will understand how the story of power, as well as economic and social changes have impacted on people’s daily lives. Students will explore Britain’s place in the wider world under the umbrella of global connections exploring the role of trade, religion, invasion and Empire in connecting Britain to other regions and the impact this had on Britain and on foreign countries.
Our KS3 homework programme is a mixture of learning key terms, concepts and spellings to support literacy and progress, as well as independent research tasks. The adoption of the ‘Meanwhile, elsewhere approach’ is designed to enthuse and enrich students learning outside of the classroom. The history learnt in school only offers a small glimpse of the past, this approach to homework introduces students to a whole new part of history that was happening around the same time as the topic being studied in class so they can place stories in an even bigger picture and draw meaningful comparisons.
We develop a wide range of personal skills through exploration of the key issues of rights and freedoms through history. Through these stories we understand and challenge ideas in the world today and develop empathy. Through consideration of different perspectives of events and contrasting historians' views, students develop their ability to listen and appreciate the views of others and communicate their thoughts with clarity and respect. The study of key events and people gives our students the cultural context to frame views and events they come across in the modern world such as racism, rights, peace and war. We embed the British values of respect and tolerance throughout our classroom practice, and create opportunities for students to ask questions, build confidence and become resilient in their learning. We continuously highlight the relevance of historical skills to the wider world of employment showcasing how the transferable skills of analysis, evaluation, communication and organisation can equip them for many career paths beyond History like journalism, law, the civil service and financial sectors.
The explicit teaching of vocabulary, the consistent exposure to historical narratives, sources and interpretations, debates and the use of modelling and scaffolding in their historical writing, all help our students to improve their literacy and oracy skills. Each unit is assessed in a formal end of unit test (QMA). To support students, these QMAs are preceded with whole class or group activities to think about, plan and discuss the key theme or issue they will be assessed on.
We follow the Edexcel GCSE History course and we study the following units:
- Medicine Through Time
- Elizabethan England
- Superpower relations and the Cold War
- Germany 1918-1939
We take a broadly chronological approach to the course and ensure we regular re-visit topics to support students in their knowledge recall and to consolidate and embed the different skills required of different units. Our Curriculum is ambitious and works to go beyond the specification to create opportunities for more diverse voices to be heard in the narratives we teach.
To enable a deep understanding, each lesson starts with a knowledge retrieval quiz to support students in making links within and across topics. Students' personal skills are developed by highlighting the relevance of historical skills to the wider world of employment but also through empathy with the stories and events we study. The explicit teaching of vocabulary, the consistent exposure to historical narratives, sources and interpretations, debates and the use of modelling and scaffolding in their historical writing, all help our students to improve their literacy and oracy skills. Each unit is assessed in a formal end of unit test (QMA). To support students, these QMAs are preceded with whole class or group activities to think about, plan and discuss the key theme or issue (oracy before writing).
We follow the OCR History course and study the following units:
- Pitt to Peel
- Cold War in Asia
- Russia and its Rulers
This History course plays to the strength of subject expertise in our Department to ensure we can offer the challenge and rigorurs that A Level studies demand. It also means students can take advantage of the historical works we have in the 6th form library. We take a broadly chronological approach as with our other Key Stages and in Year 12 we focus on the period studies (Pitt and Cold War Asia) as these units give our students the broadest chronological framework for their studies. The study of Pitt to Peel helps to contextualise the backwardness of Russia in the 19th century and offers useful points for comparison. The Cold War unit provides the context for Russia in the 1940s and 50s, as well as the context for their NEA. We then progress to the thematic study of Russia which is the most heavily weighted of the exams and one students find easier once they have matured their historical writing through the periods studies. We then progress to the thematic study of Russia which is the most heavily weighted of the exams and one students find easier once they have matured their historical writing through the periods studies. The Independent Investigation (coursework) is also started in the latter part of Y12 as this is focussed on the Vietnam War and so builds on the knowledge acquired from their study of Cold War Asia.