Head of Subject: Mr B. Kingswood
We believe that at the heart of good history lies chronological understanding, so our Year 7 and Year 8 schemes of work have strong foundations in studying local, British and world events from the Norman era to modern times. This provides a coherent narrative of how events have shaped our nation and how we have influenced and been influenced by world events.
The central objective of the Humanities faculty is to educate students for membership in a political, social, and economic global community by providing historical, geographical and spiritual understanding of many different world cultures.
Firstly, we hope that students will view history as a fun and interesting subject. We aim to create an interest in the past world events which will remain with them for life. Secondly, we wish to convey knowledge and understanding of the past, both within the United Kingdom and the wider world. Students should not acquire the ability to simply judge people, but to try and empathise with people so that we can understand them in the correct context. Students should have an appreciation that the past is not just a number of events that happened to other people, but events that would have happened to us had we been born in a different place in a different time. Finally, it is our aim that students continuously develop skills such as, evaluating, analysing, empathising and communicating to equip them for short term success in exams but also longer-term success in the world of employment.
We want our students to have the confidence to think for themselves and make their own judgments from a position of knowledge. We want students to develop their own critical thinking and ability to argue both logically and lucidly.
Our curriculum is based around the National Curriculum for history in England with units in Year 7 on the development of church, state and Society up to 1745 including topics on; Normans, Crusades, church and crown, emergence of parliament, events in Wales and Scotland, social structures, Black Death, Peasants’ Revolt, Tudors, Stuarts, Civil War and Act of Union. Interspersed with this overview, we have local history studies such as the history of Hanley Castle, Tewkesbury and the impact of Civil War locally. To improve students’ knowledge of the wider world we study Islamic Civilisations (when studying the Crusades) and look at the short term and long-term impact on England from contact with Islamic culture. In addition to this wider world study, we look at how the Pilgrim Fathers established European society in North America and how it impacted on Indigenous populations. We believe that it important to show how events in the wider world have impacted on the development of this country and the implications of our actions on others.
In Year 8 our journey continues the chronological approach, and we begin post 1750, where Year 7 ended, with a study of industry, empire, and enlightenment. In term one we offer the students the chance to learn about Britain’s position in the world during the industrial era and how this led to social and economic changes and protests and developments in political representation. This allows us to focus in on the Enlightenment and French and American Revolutions culminating in an enquiry into how far the lives of ordinary people changed due to industrialisation. In term two, we begin our in-depth study of World War One which includes a local study of the impact on our own school community through using the War Graves Commission website to research their fates. During this unit we have introduced a study of how women gained the vote and Ireland’s fight for Home Rule. The interwar period and a brief overview of World War two follow including the impact on Worcestershire and a study of how India gained independence. This allows us to introduce a world study of how India was changed from the Mughals to British rule. Next, our second in depth study of the year, the Holocaust, begins where we try to use our sixth form Holocaust Ambassadors to help educate the younger students and use the Holocaust Memorial Day themes of the year as a basis for our lessons. Our next World study is on the Cold War where we study global events such as Korea, Cuba and Eastern Europe. To complete the chronological journey, we finish with a study of British culture since WW2 which includes work on how immigration has impacted on our nation.
Key Stage 4: AQA GCSE History
Our rationale for our choice of substantive knowledge is centred around our belief that studying the subject should bring enjoyment, interest and relevance to students and as such we have chosen to study the USA 1920-1973 for our period study, Health and the People for our thematic study, The Normans for our British depth study and Asia 1950-1975 as our world study. Here we hope to see the generative knowledge established in Key Stage 3 become beneficial in new contexts. We begin the GCSE with a study of Health as the social aspect of the course and the overview thematic nature allows us to make links between other areas which we will go on to study but also allows us to draw on their previous knowledge of history gained during Key Stage 3. As the Health course runs over a similar chronology to their Year 7 and Year 8 work we can frequently make reference to events which they are familiar with e.g. the role of the church, the impact of science/Enlightenment or wars. This familiar context helps students make the transition to the harder demands of GCSE more easily. Once completed, we study the USA 1920-1973 as this focuses on social, economic and political history. Students are now able to apply the enhanced disciplinary knowledge gained studying Health into this new context. As this unit covers developments post WW2 we are able to make strong connections with the McCarthyism in the USA to the wider world conflict which creates a perfect segue into the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the USA response to Communism’s global spread. We also leave this until later in the course to allow the students to develop the emotional maturity to deal with the occasionally harrowing nature of the conflicts including the use of Napalm and Search and Destroy missions. Our final topic allows us to study a depth British study of the Normans including the study of historical environments which contains a specific focus for the year group sitting the exam, which is why we feel it is beneficial leaving it until the end.
Post-16: Edexcel A-level History
Our rationale for our choice of substantive knowledge is once again centred around our belief that studying the subject should bring fascination to students and within the tight perimeters of EdExcel’s “route approach” we study 19th century Britain as the compulsory Britain unit, Italian Unification 1830-1870, Germany 1870-1990 and the historical interpretations NEA. In Year 12 the Britain unit allows students to study how representation and protest changed the country, how Britain responded to the slave trade, industrialisation, trade unionism, pauperism and working conditions. The generative knowledge established in earlier years facilitates their understanding tremendously with issues such as trade unionism in the USA in GCSE allowing for greater understanding of their role in this period, or how nationalism and guerrilla warfare from Vietnam shares many traits with Garibaldi’s approach to unifying Italy. Likewise, the generative knowledge created in earlier Key Stages allows for significant understanding of the Germany course with a focus on Germany’s position in the 20th century made clearer by earlier studies of ideology and Cold War tensions or the resentment created by Germany’s failure in WW1. Finally, we now allow students free choice of NEA to allow them to really study topics which fascinate them. We believe they have earned the right to determine their own area of study, almost as a reward for their diligence over many years. This proves very popular and undoubtedly the self-motivation and independence required prepares them perfectly for the next stage of their education at university.