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What happens in this subject?

In History our vision is to enable pupils to learn lessons from the past in order to create a positive and successful future and to encourage students to think critically and develop into well informed citizens. This will equip them with the necessary skills to go out into the wider world and make up their own minds on current events by being able to analyse the information they are subjected to, and to question the information they are exposed to rather than just believing things on face value.

History ties in well with the other humanities subjects as well as topics studied in English. There are lots of opportunities to develop trips outside the classroom to various castles and museums as well as to explore the history closer to home.

Building on from KS2 or KS3

From Key Stage 2, pupils should have developed some knowledge of the history of Britain up until the time of Edward the Confessor. Year 7 history aims to build on a chronological history from this point onwards. Other skills such as cause and consequences, significance and analysis will also be developed and built upon.

KS3 Curriculum

The Year 7 curriculum firstly begins by focussing on the basics of what is history. Using a range of different styles of lessons, pupils learn about the main historical skills and how they are used. From this we then start chronologically looking at the Norman Conquest,  Medieval life in Britain, the Crusades and the Black Death. 

In Year 8 students study the Tudor period, the English Civil War, the Plague and the Great Fire of London, the Scientific Revolution, the Slave Trade and the British Empire and finally the Industrial Revolution. 

Year 9 begins where Year 8 history finished by looking at the political system of Britain then moving on to World War One. Following this, we move on to study further conflicts that have taken place during the 20th century, specifically; the Russian Revolution, World War Two and the Cold War, including a focus on the Holocaust. Finally we study the phenomenon of change and the factors that lead to change over time. 

In Key Stage 3 homework is set over a termly basis and is project based providing supplementary learning to the lessons in the classroom with an element focussing on the local history of Dartford and Kent. 

As part of the extra-curricular activities, we take part in the Dora Love Prize which is linked in with Holocaust Memorial Day and is project based designed by students

KS4 Curriculum

The KS4 curriculum follows the following four topics under the Edexcel exam board:

Year 10: British Depth Study: Early Elizabethan England 1558 – 88 and British Thematic Study and Historical Environment: Crime and Punishment 1000 – Present Day and Whitechapel.

Year 11: Period Study: The American West 1835 – 95 and Modern Depth Study: The USA 1954 – 75: Conflict at Home and Abroad

Students start Year 10 by studying Early Elizabethan England. This focuses on a key question about whether the years 1558 – 88 could be considered a ‘Golden Age’. Students aim to assess three areas of this period. We start by looking at the start of Elizabeth’s reign and the problems that she faced a well as how successfully she overcame these issues. This moves onto the conflict that both her and the country faced at home and abroad. Finally we look at life for Elizabethans under Elizabeth’s rule and whether their lives improved or not through education, hobbies and leisure, poverty and exploration. 

Next students move on to study Crime and Punishment in depth. Students look at a range of different time periods from 1000 and the time of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans, through the Middle Ages and Early Modern Britain, the 18th and 19th Centuries through to modern day. Through these periods students focus on the changes and continuities of the crimes most common during these periods and what factors determined what was a crime or not, the attitudes of punishments and how these changed overtime and the development of law enforcement. This topic ends with an in depth case study of the area of Whitechapel during the time of the Jack the Ripper murders and the characteristics of the area that led to these crimes being able to take place unsolved as well as the part that the police played in Jack the Ripper not being caught.

In Year 11, students start with the topic of the American West. We start by looking in depth at the Plains Indians and their way of life before looking at the settlers that started to move to America and the desire to move West leading to conflict and tension. We then start to look more in depth to the settlement of the West and what made this possible with some focus on specific groups such as the Mormons. We also focus on the ranching and cattle industry and how this developed and the effect that the settlement of the West had on the lives of the Plains Indians. Finally we look at how elements of settling such as farming developed with new technology, the further conflict that came with more and more people moving West such as wars and lawlessness and putting more pressure on the areas that the Plains Indians had access to and finally the destruction of the Plains Indians way of life and what happened to them as a result. 

The final topic studied in Year 11 is the USA focussing on the conflict at home through the Civil Rights movement and abroad with the Vietnam War. With the Civil Rights aspect of this module, students study what life was like for Black Americans in the 1950s and the segregation they faced. Through this we look at the progress that was made in education as well as the many different protests that were staged during this time in order to achieve an integrated society including events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Greensboro Sit-Ins. We study all the developments and progress that was made as well as the opposition faced during this time. We also study key individuals and what they achieved such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. The second part of this module focuses on the Vietnam War that was taking place during the same time. As part of this section we look at why America became involved in such a War as well as the tactics used by both the Americans and the VietCong. We study the many changes to the policy of involvement under the presidencies of Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon as well as the attitudes towards the war from the general public and the world as this was the first televised war. Finally we look at how America withdrew from the Vietnam War and what led to America’s overall failure. 

For KS4 students are in mixed ability groups. There is only one tier of exam paper in history which means that the content is the same for all students and by being mixed ability it exposes all students to different types of answers and opinions. Students have three one hour lessons per week. Homework is set regularly for them to practice various exam techniques and revision lessons are offered after school in Year 11. There is a trip to London as part of the Crime and Punishment module in Year 10.

Aspirations and KS5

Students can go on to do a range of things with history after leaving education such as journalism, editorial work, humanitarian work or education to name a few. History develops analytical thinking so any area of work that requires you to analyse information would benefit from the skills learned in history.

Currently, history is not part of the Post 16 offer although this could change moving forward. This could then lead onto studying history at a more specialised level at University depending on what areas of history the individual feels is most interesting and useful for them.