History

History is about capturing the wonder of the past and developing an understanding of how we reached this point.  Through our curriculum we seek to develop in our pupils a lifelong commitment to equality, democracy and social responsibility. These key themes are developed through a curriculum that has as its keystone the concept of power – who has it, who wants it, and how more power has been achieved, both for individuals and for groups of people. This runs throughout our curriculum from Year 7-11. By following a chronological approach throughout years 7-9 our pupils can see the ways in which power has been transferred from a narrow elite through to the multicultural society and democracy that we live in today. Studies of the history of other countries allow us to compare the nature of other societies alongside that of our own, therefore giving ample opportunities for comparison. 

Through the use of a range of source material we aim to widen the range of experiences that our pupils are exposed to. We want to reflect the experiences and contributions of a wide range of people – women, people of colour, and from a spread of socio-economic backgrounds in order that our pupils understand the relevance and significance of equality, democracy and social responsibility as they find their place in the C21st world. Additionally, critical analysis of sources and their provenance allows pupils to identify bias, a particularly useful skill in contemporary society given the growth of social media. This supports our desire to ensure that pupils develop independence of thought.

In lessons we are ambitious for our students by setting high expectations and not shying away from more complex concepts. This is most evident in our choice of GCSE units. Whilst the Power and the People unit is less popular at a national level, we value the concepts that our pupils learn through this unit and believe we are best equipping them to take their place confidently in society. The same is true of the unit on the Mughal Empire that we teach in Year 7.  There are no textbooks or published resources for this unit, but we believe strongly that this is a powerful vehicle for teaching the values that we wish to develop in our pupils. We teach children to write extended answers from Year 7, and with increasingly complex modelling we show them how to analyse and evaluate. We particularly enjoy focusing on developing the ambitious use of vocabulary – not just the subject specific terminology that is needed, but tier 2 vocabulary that will prove a valuable asset throughout life.

What we study:

Year 7 

We start our journey in 1066 looking at what life was like in England. We study the Norman Conquest and how life changed in England once William Duke of Normandy gained power. We continue our study through the Middle Ages, learning about key social, economic and political events such as the Feudal System, development of castles, Magna Carta, Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. Through these fascinating topics, our pupils will gain their building blocks for the rest of their learning in history through an understanding of how power was achieved through conquest, and then challenged first by the barons, and then by peasants. This golden thread of power is then developed further by an understanding of the early Tudor period including the crucial role that the rumblings of the new ideas of Martin Luther created across Europe, and the way in which Henry VIII created the Church of England, with the short and longer term consequences of that event for the nation. 

We then look at the Mughal Empire throughout the same period. This allows us to consider links between art and history as well as art as sources in history. This study allows our pupils to draw direct comparisons between Tudor rule, and the nature of the rule of the Mughals. This year we will be expanding this unit to look at the decline of the Mughal Empire, encompassing the rise of the East India Company and the growth of the Empire. Key concepts in this unit will then be drawn upon in Year 8 when we study the industrial revolution and the Atlantic Slave Trade, as well as in Year 9 when we will look at the Boer war as a catalyst for social change, and imperialism as a cause of the First World War. 

Year 8 

We continue our journey by looking at the social, political and economic causes and consequences of the dissolution of the monasteries.  Religious conflict remains a theme throughout the Tudors and Stuarts as we study the changes in the reigns of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Mary, Queen of Scots, her son King James I of England and the remaining Stuarts, are considered through to the Civil War, the Interregnum, the Restoration of the Monarchy and the Glorious Revolution. A brief look at the Hanoverians takes us into the Industrial Revolution, a period of huge change in Britain in population, migration, public health, trade and transport.  The transformation into a modern economy via the rights and political demands of initially the middle class, then the workers, brings the development of modern Britain into focus. The importance of the Transatlantic slave trade in the development of Britain’s economy leads to the campaign to abolish the slave trade, challenging ideals of equality and representation. Throughout this year we continue to pull our golden thread of power across our curriculum, taking the opportunities of reaching back in history to compare how the nature of our society has changed from the Middle Ages to the late nineteenth century.

Year 9

Our final year of compulsory history starts with a unit on the Edwardians as the link between the Victorians and our modern world. We look at the role of the Boer War as a catalyst for social change and think the Liberal Reforms through to the welfare state of C21st Britain. We also look at the changing role of women throughout the twentieth century. World War One, the dictatorships of Europe, World War Two, the Holocaust, the start of the Cold War, and the UN bring us firmly towards the present, with the golden thread of power being pulled through to help pupils understand how we have arrived at modern day Britain.                                 

By the end of year 9 we want our pupils to have developed a clear understanding of why Britain functions as it does today; as a multicultural democracy. We also want to ensure that through our study of history our pupils have a confident understanding of their role and responsibilities as a citizen of Britain in the twenty-first century, including a life-long commitment to equality, democracy and social responsibility.

KS4 History     

We have chosen to study the AQA History GCSE course, covering the four units that are outlined below.

Year 10 – Paper 2  (Both topics are examined at the end of Y11.)

Section A: Power and the People – thematic unit

 This unit follows the course of power as a theme in Britain from 1215 and the Magna Carta to the 1990s. We begin with who has power and consider why other groups over time wanted a share of that power. The causes of attempts to acquire power, the success or lack of it, and the consequences of each attempt to gain some power are the key elements of the course. Through this study, who the challengers are changes as time goes on, and increasingly, they become more successful. However, we also look at why some concepts of power, like equality in the modern era, are harder to achieve.

Section B: Elizabeth I – depth study                       

This study in depth develops pupils’ understanding of an important part of England and Britain’s history. The course starts briefly with Queen Elizabeth I’s background and her difficult childhood, through to how Elizabeth’s court functioned, and how she formed relations as Queen of a new Protestant nation. This period is a time of great change in English society, as England strives with an ambitious Queen to take its place with the more powerful neighbours of Europe.  Continual problems such as poverty and religion threaten Elizabeth’s reign. Attempts supported by foreign powers and some English families to threaten the safety and peace of England’s Queen and her nation are thwarted, but not without endangering her relationship with her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. In this depth study, England’s desire for international contacts and the buzz of commercial interests from seafaring opportunities help shape the economy. 10% of this unit is based on a case study site which is decided by the exam board.                                          

Year 11 – Paper 1

Section B: Conflict and tension between East and West, 1945–1972 – wider world depth study

This wider world depth study enables students to understand the complex and diverse interests of different states and individuals and the ideologies of communism and capitalism the USSR and USA represent. The course focuses on the causes and events of the Cold War and seeks to show how and why conflict occurred and why it proved difficult to resolve the tensions which arose during the Cold War. Beginning with the end of World War Two and the wartime alliance between USA, USSR and Britain, we look at the origins of the Cold War, then how it developed in Europe and the Far East with case studies of Korea and Vietnam. The 1960s reflects a change of direction with detente, a new policy which follows the Cuban Missile Crisis, where an improved relationship between East and West is founded upon the horrifying possibility of nuclear war.

Section A: Germany, 1890–1945: democracy and dictatorship – period study

This period study focuses on the development of Germany during a turbulent half century of change. It was a period of democracy and dictatorship – the development and collapse of democracy and the rise and fall of Nazism. We begin with the rule of Kaiser Wilhelm II and his attempts to present Germany as a democracy, despite wielding much of the power himself.

Post-World War One Germany becomes a fully functioning democracy with a range of political parties, but Germany is held back by punishment for “causing the War”. Germany’s tumultuous period during the Depression allowed Hitler to gain more exposure, culminating in his election in March 1933, when he formed a dictatorship. The experience of German people under Nazism forms the final part of the course, looking at how different groups such as children, Jews, the unemployed and women were affected by Nazi policies.                                

                              SCHEME OF ASSESSMENT: HISTORY

Year 7 Autumn

Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?

(Essay)

Bayeux Tapestry 

(Source evaluation)

Spring

Test on Middle Ages

(Factual recall)

Why was Akbar “great”?

(Essay)

Summer

How successful was Henry VII in controlling England?

(Essay)

Year 8 Autumn

Edward VI and Mary I test

(Factual recall)

Why was Queen Elizabeth I so significant?

(Essay)

Spring

What was the most important reason for the Civil War?

(Essay)

Civil War and Cromwell

Source evaluation

Summer

City life in C19th

(Source evaluation)

Why was slavery abolished?

(Essay)

Year 9 Autumn

What was the most important reason for the outbreak of WW1?

(Essay)

Test on World War One and the Treaty of Versailles

(Factual recall)

Spring

Stalin’s USSR

(Source evaluation)

Hitler’s Germany 

(Source evaluation)

Summer

Operation Barbarossa

(Essay)

The role of women

(Source evaluation)

Year 10 Autumn

Fortnightly past exam question: Power

Fortnightly factual recall test

Spring

Fortnightly past exam question: Power or Elizabeth

Fortnightly factual recall test

Summer

Fortnightly past exam question: Elizabeth

Fortnightly factual recall test

Year 11 Autumn

Fortnightly past exam question: Cold War

Fortnightly factual recall test

Spring

Fortnightly past exam question: Germany

Fortnightly factual recall test

In class revision