Our aim is to encourage an appreciation of the past, promoting the enjoyment of its rediscovery, and develop the critical skills our students need to interpret historical sources and foster an appreciation of their cultural heritage.
We have a strong focus on developing independence of thought. There are plenty of opportunities for students to develop their interest in the subject beyond the classroom through the home learning tasks, trips and public speakers. Members of the department are also active outside of school, both in their pursuit of their own interests and also working with the Historical Association and Universities.
Key Stage 3
This course builds the foundations students need to succeed at GCSE, without repeating content, although laying the foundations for what is taught at the higher level. It develops the skills students will need for Key Stage 4 by gradually increasing the level of demand of subject skills such as knowledge, chronology, causation/consequence, evidence and interpretation. GCSE-style questions will also be incrementally introduced.
The programme of study includes
- What is History? Key skills and concepts.
- 1060-1080: From Anglo-Saxon England to Norman England
- 1300-1500: Medieval Political Power
- 1300-1400: Medieval Lives, beliefs
- 1485-1601: Ideas/attitudes: Church and State
- 1485-1603: The Tudors & religious change
- 1601-1660: Religion & Power: The Stuarts
- 1492-1550: Exploration, Spain and the New World
- 1600-1900: Empires: The slave trade and the growth of the British Empire
- 1745-1918: Industrial Britain and female Suffrage
- USA 1920s: The Modern World and the Roaring Twenties
- 1900-1914: The causes of World War One
- 1914-1919: The nature and impact of World War One
- 1919-1939: Between the wars, Stalin, Hitler and Nazi Germany
- 1939-1945: World War Two:, The Holocaust, the Atom Bomb
- 1945-1960s: Post war conflict and co-operation, The Cold War
- 1960s-present: Vietnam, South Africa, Afghanistan, 9/11
Assessments are mostly half-termly, with an end of year exam in Years 7 and 8. All assessments are designed to develop the skills required at GCSE level.
There is no home learning in Year 7, however there is the opportunity for students to voluntarily produce a creative piece and earn House-points. In Years 8 & 9 home-learning will be given as prep or review on topics taught in class and designed to develop research, time-management and subject related skills.
Key Stage 4
We follow the Edexcel exam board GCSE 1-9. The aims and objectives of this qualification are to offer a qualification that will engage students with a broad and diverse study of the history of Britain and the wider world and give students skills that will support progression to further study of history and a wide range of other subjects. This course builds on the content and skills of Key Stage 3 and provides a sensible progression of content to ‘A’ level, with similar approaches to assessment.
The programme of study includes:
Paper 1: 30% Thematic study with historic environment:
Warfare through time, c1250-present
Students will follow the course thematically covering four distinct periods in British History.
Each period will look at the following:
• The nature of warfare
• The experience of war
• A case study of the period
In addition there will be a study on ‘London and the Second World War, 1939-1945’.
Paper 2: 40% Period Study and British Depth Study:Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060-88
• Anglo Saxon Society
• Key Individuals of the period
• The Norman Invasion
• Control & resistance
Spain and the ‘New World’, c1490-1555
• Spanish exploration
• Columbus and the Spanish Empire (its impact on the New World)
• Pizarro and the conquest of the Incas
Paper 3 – 30% Modern Depth Study
The USA, 1954-75: Conflict at home and abroad
• The development of the civil rights movement, 1954-60
• Protest, progress and radicalism, 1960-75
• US involvement in the Vietnam War, 1954-75
• Reaction to and the end of, US involvement in Vietnam, 1964-75
•Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key features and characteristics of the periods studied.
•Explain and analyse historical events and periods studied using second-order historical concepts (similarity, difference, change, continuity, consequence, significance, and causation).
•Analyse, evaluate and use sources (contemporary to the period) to make substantiated judgements, in the context of historical events studied.
•Analyse, evaluate and make substantiated judgements about interpretations (including how and why interpretations may differ) in the context of historical events studied.
All three papers will be sat at the end of the two year course. In addition to class assessment there will be two mock exams, one at the end of Year 10 and one in the first term of Year 11; both of these will be complete papers.
The aim of each home learning task at Key Stage 4 is to develop independent research and subject specific skills tailored to the exams. Each teacher will decide, based on their class, what skills need to be developed, this could include: research of individuals or events, more detailed research to find sources, completion or correction of exam style questions and preparation for lessons and presentations. At some points in the year students will be expected to use their time for revision. In addition, some tasks will be put on Google Classroom for students to access from home. Please note that currently all courses are new and therefore past papers are not available.
Key Stage 5
Students will follow the Edexcel ‘A’ level course. The subjects chosen have been designed to give a breadth of knowledge across a range of periods, to develop the necessary skills and understanding which will be needed by students planning to progress to undergraduate study at a UK higher education establishment, particularly (although not only) in the same subject area.
The programme of study consists of:
Paper 1: 30% Russia, 1917-91: from Lenin to Yeltsin
This is a breadth study with interpretations looking at the Communist government, industrial and agricultural change, control of the people and social developments.
Paper 2: 20% Mao’s China, 1949-76
This is a depth study looking at the changes under Mao’s rule terms of Communist rule, agriculture and industry, the Cultural Revolution and social and cultural change.
Paper 3: 30% Lancastrian, Yorkists and Henry VII, 1399-1509
This paper looks at themes in breadth and aspects of depth across more than 100 years. Students will consider various aspects medieval kingship through the kings of this period, how they coped with challenges to their rule and their relationship with nobility.
Unit 4: 20% The American Civil War (Coursework)
Students will conduct their own research into why the North won the American Civil War, considering the arguments put forward by historians and assessing their value.
All three papers will be sat at the end of the two year course. In addition to class assessment there will be one threshold exam at the end of Year 12, and a mock exam in the January of Year 13. In class assessment will occur throughout the year. Coursework will be completed in Year 13 prior to exams.
Home learning will take the form of preparation or review of work in class. This consists largely of reading or tasks given by the teacher. Reading around the subject is essential for greater understanding, the textbook is a starting point but students are expected to use the reading list to further their understanding.
Visit and trips have included:
• Mountfitchet Castle
• Medieval costume and weapons speaker
• Trestle Theatre on the topic of Slavery
• Plus a trip to Poland is offered for activities week
• World War One speaker
• Plus a trip to Poland is offered for activities week
Years 10 &11:
• USA trip to Washington & New York
• Students wishing to pursue a History Degree have been offered a residential course through Villiers Park Education Centre
Stretch & Challenge
Years 7 to 9: Through our creative home learning students can earn house-points.
Years 10-13: Google classroom is used to recommend articles, TV programmes, podcasts, exhibitions, wider reading, and additional courses that the department feels would develop students’ understanding of various topics. The department also has a subscription to the History Today Journal that students can access.
Where can History take you? The skills acquired through the study of History, at any level, are invaluable for an array of career paths. Those listed below show just a few which have a direct and indirect relation to the subject.
Careers directly related include:
- Secondary School Teacher
- Civil Service Administrator
- Heritage Manager
- Academic Librarian
- Media & Advertising
Careers where the qualification would be useful:
- Editorial assistant
- Information officer
- Politician’s assistant
- Management consultancies
- Publishing companies
- Television and radio broadcasters.
How parents can support their child’s learning
Parents can discuss with the students how they plan to manage their time for the home learning tasks,(that usually last for a half term) although part of the task is actually learning to manage tasks over a long period of time so students should be encouraged to take personal responsibility for this. Tasks are also available to view on Google Classrooms from September; past examples of work can be viewed in the classrooms. We strongly encourage students to gain background research from books rather than the internet as it is often age-inappropriate for students. The school library is well stocked and the librarians are more than willing to help students find their way to useful books, although encouraging students to use local libraries and books at home would also support us in this. Visiting historical sites and encouraging discussion about the topics studied in class, is also useful.