Curriculum Statement: History
"History is usually presented as a set of facts and dates of victories and defeats, or monarchs and presidents, consigned to an unchanging past. But it's not like that at all. History is the knitting together of rival interpretations: deliberate manipulations of the truth and sometimes alternative facts." Lucy Worsley
Imagine you have the power to time-travel. Where would you go? What period of time would you visit? Who would you want to meet? History is a subject which enables pupils to become time-travellers, experience the past and encounter a wealth of interesting characters.
History is a story with the most interesting characters, plot lines, the greatest thinkers, most charitable and selfless people, and the most disgusting, violent individuals. It is a tapestry of humanity’s history: richly detailed, skilfully woven, and worthy of our attention whether it inspires or terrifies us.
History is fun. Lessons emphasise the drama of the past – the gore and the emotion; the heroes and the villains; ordinary and extraordinary lives. Pupils are encouraged to question the way the past felt – the smell, the look and the sound, as well as understanding the what, the why, the when, the who and the how it happened.
History isn’t just about the past and dead people, it’s about the present and the future. It’s not just about dates, it’s about events and individuals and their significance. It is about all people, not just rulers.
We aim for our students to be able to place themselves within the contested narratives of History. We strive to teach them the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the grand tapestry of the past, and to critique it. We aim to stimulate students' innate curiosity and therefore a deep engagement with the knowledge and understanding developed around a core of British history, exploring global, national, local and family histories.
In an age of sometimes overwhelming, competing and problematic information, students are encouraged to embrace the complexity of the past and evaluate evidence for its usefulness and limitations. We weave together the approaches of collective memory, disciplinary and postmodern, to build genuine historical understanding.
The study of History is so important because it is an academic subject which is rich in powerful knowledge. It provides coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world, and it helps pupils and students to make sense of the present. History helps pupils and students to understand the complexity of peoples’ lives, the processes of continuity and change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and, above all, it helps pupils and students to meet the challenges of their current context, their time and their place. It:
- enables pupils to understand that change happens; that people haven’t always lived the way we do today;
- emphasises the varied, but always interesting stories of the past. Lessons feature a variety of techniques from drama and role-play to discussion and presentations to help pupils to make sense of the past;
- encourages pupils to be challenge preconceptions; to be critical and to recognise different interpretations. To develop their critical analysis, which has become increasingly important in a world dominated by ‘fake news’. History teaches pupils to separate fact from opinion;
- provides pupils and students with a broad range of historical knowledge and understanding, including a sense of development over time, and an appreciation of the culture and attitudes of societies;
- gives pupils and students power over their own knowledge allowing them to evaluate, critically, the significance and utility of a large body of material;
- develops the literacy of pupils and students through extended writing, reading challenging texts and varied vocabulary;
- enables pupils and students to engage directly with questions and present independent opinions about them in well-constructed arguments. It helps to develop essential critical thinking skills;
- supports the development of strong British values, such as respecting civil and criminal law; appreciating the viewpoints of others on ethical issues; acceptance and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, contributing positively to life in modern Britain and actively fighting extremism and radicalisation;
- highlights the diversity, equality and inclusivity of British history. Our school involves a diversity of communities, identities and abilities; all must see that History is part of their past and future lives and a vital part of their education. A truly diverse history curriculum can be a vehicle for creating greater social cohesion and tolerance of racial and ethnic difference in preparing learners to enter a diverse, multi-cultural society;
- enables pupils and students to further their Catholic faith by developing their understanding of the Catholic Social Teaching: solidarity, peace, life and work, human dignity, community and care for creation;
- prepares pupils and students for the world of work by highlighting career opportunities both within the field of History and through the development of related skills.
The History curriculum is structured to nurture a love of history through the development of knowledge and five key historical skills: change and continuity, causes and consequence, significance, source work/using evidence and interpretations. These key concepts are used as tools for pupils and students to make sense of, and understand, the volume of knowledge required for the development of expertise.
Pupils and students study British, European and World history across a wide range of historical periods. They consider the past from a variety of standpoints; they are particularly encouraged to study the diversity of British history and look to make connections and comparisons over time. Pupils and students can use their experience of history to better understand the challenges in their modern world, e.g. the changing role of Britain and the impact of right-wing extremism in their local area. It also develops the necessary critical skills to successfully navigate the complexities of a modern world and social media.
History supports the development of literacy and the work of the ENGLISH department. As a humanity subject, History further develops areas of the curriculum which are covered in RE and GEOGRAPHY, e.g. migration and the Reformation. We are also the leading department in the annual commemoration of Remembrance. History also supports the CITIZENSHIP and the SOCIAL SCIENCES, in particular POLITICS as pupils and students are encouraged to assess the development and features of different political systems.
To further cultural capital, History offers pupils and students a range of experiences outside of the classroom environment to develop their learning experience and their cultural understanding of the world around them. The experiences include: KS3/GCSE trip to the First World War battlefields of Ypres and the Somme; cross-curricular trip to Krakow and Auschwitz and A-level trips to Russia and/or America.
What follows is a current summary of the intended subject curriculum content in each year of the key stage. It highlights the key knowledge and skills intended for learning, and some of the ways progress in the curriculum is to be assessed. It clarifies the key questions students should be addressing and gives links to help students and families to develop this learning further.
Year 7 are taught in mixed ability groups. Pupils study history in depth and in breadth by focusing in on specific topics like the Norman Conquest and the Spanish Armada as well as broader topics, such as the impact of religion and the role of popular protest through the ages. Pupils are very much encouraged to develop their skills of judgment, for example a balloon debate on which monarch to save.
In Year 8, pupils are organised into sets according to ability. They are encouraged to look at issues in the world today and investigate their historical routes. In the first term they concentrate on the development of the franchise from the 18th century to the present. They start by looking at recent elections and referendums before tracing the routes back to the Chartists and the Suffragettes. The second term focuses on ideas of democracy, dictatorship and freedom by looking at complex issues, such as the impact of global warfare, communism and Nazism. In the final term pupils study the Holocaust.
Year 9 KS3 pupils complete their chronological overview by studying the post-war world. They then spend a term and half studying migration as a breadth topic to understand how Britain has benefitted from diversity and multiculturalism.
History is a very popular option at GCSE. Pupils are taught in both setted groups based on ability and mixed-ability groups.
Pupils follow the Edexcel syllabus.
They are studying:
- Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches.
- Early Elizabethan England, 1558–88.
- Superpower Relations and the Cold War, 1941–91
- Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1919-1939.
History A Level
History is a very popular subject at A level. The Department follows the OCR syllabus.
In Year 12, students follow the new OCR course study Y113 - Britain, 1930-1997, which contains the Enquiry Topic, Churchill, 1930-1951 and the Period Study, Britain, 1951-1997. They also follow the course Y219 – Russia, 1894-1941.
In Year 13 they study Y306, Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors, 1485-1603 and complete an independent study of approx. 3500 words. The Department runs a long-standing, bi-annual trip to Moscow and St Petersburg which is always extremely popular.
|Suggested Revision Resources for Edexcel GCSE History||08th Jul 2020||Download|