Head of Department: Mr. A Mills
The History Department is committed to developing students so they can actively engage with the world around them. This is achieved by increasing their understanding of the past and how it can shape their future. Students are encouraged to become critical thinkers who are curious about the past, present and future.
CURRICULUM MAP AND BIG IDEAS
What skills and cultural capital do students acquire in your subject?
We apply both first and second order thinking in our lessons, always considering the causes and consequences of past actions and events. Students develop a strong sense of chronology and can identify significant turning points in our history. Students become able to recognise the importance of events and can contextualise their value to understanding current affairs and future world issues. Students become experienced at inferring purpose and meaning, giving them the skills to critically review information and reach personal judgements about historical questions and current world debates.
Convincing writing is also promoted. Students will be able to write a balanced argument, judge effectively, articulate and explain their points of view. Students should leave us with a critical and problem-solving mentality, able to challenge misconceptions and false information.
Students also benefit from history by developing key transferable skills, such as communication in the written word and orally, problem solving and analytical skills, teamworking and time management. We also promote critical reflection and intellectual initiative to support student awareness in many other disciplines.
How do you make Careers education explicit in your curriculum?
Career options and likely routes are shared with students and advertised within the department. The subject’s links to journalism, marketing and tourism are discussed. We also share the value of history as a well-respected subject with our students and its attractiveness to further education providers.
What additional experiences (including expeditions) do your students access in your subject?
The department often takes advantage of its proximity to London and Kent through museum, exhibition and tour visits to support our KS3, KS4 and KS5 topics. Recent examples have included Hampton Court, Smugglers at Hastings and the Historic environment of Whitechapel.
We also offer educational trips to the battlefields of Ypres in KS3 and hope to return to our Berlin residential in KS4 to support our students studying the Cold War.
KS5 students often attend national conventions on their topics, with guest speakers such as historical authors and presenters.
How do you support all learners to progress?
The department works closely with the pastoral teams to support all our learners. We benefit from having experienced SEN staff who can adjust and develop our resources to support all entry points. The department is dedicated to the reward system and celebrates our students through Heads Gallery and contact home. The department staff are dedicated to their core specifications, receiving training and updates from exam boards at every opportunity. Many of the department have received examiner training and this is cascaded to all staff and students.
Staff are aware of the needs of their students and we discuss strategies often. We ensure stretch and challenge from year 7 by allowing opportunities for extended writing and analytical and evaluative debates. We use concepts such as Bloom’s taxonomy to adjust our lesson outcomes to allow all abilities to flourish in historical investigation.
How is your curriculum designed?
Our curriculum has been designed in cooperation with three other schools in the trust. This allowed for a wealth of experience and specialisms to create the best experience for all our students. We follow the recommendations of the National Curriculum to model our schemes, while also placing essential GCSE skills development and context at the heart of our lessons.
The curriculum is designed to support student understanding of chronology and period. This shapes their understanding of change over time which in turn supports our GCSE study of Medicine since c1000. We apply a series of historical enquiries that tend to be developed over the course of an academic term, allowing students to experience three key topic studies per year in KS3. Enquiries explore second order thinking skills, allowing students to develop critical thinking and make personal judgements around historical debates.
What content do you cover and how is this delivered over time?
In year 7, students investigate the concepts of power, faith and diversity in the British Isles over the last 2000 years. Term 1 is dedicated to an enquiry into who really held power in the Medieval world, with a focus on how the monarchy, the church and the people interacted and clashed. Term 2 investigates how the Early Modern period saw great changes in both the power of the crown and parliament, as well as the impact of religious changes on society. Term 3 challenges students to engage with the nations long history of migration by investigating the causes and consequences of migration from Europe, Asia and Africa in shaping our modern world.
Concepts studied in year 7 then shape the priorities in year 8 and 9. Year 8 switches from migration to empire, allowing students to engage with Britain’s place in the world. Year 9 debates the impact of this on international relations, with a focus on the World Wars. The topic of rights and protest are also investigated again through the Civil Rights movement in both the USA and Britain.
Which exam board do you use? Why?
At KS4, we use Pearson to deliver our GCSE 1-9 in History. All members of the team have received, and continue to participate, in training in this specification. This includes both delivery and marking of the core units to best support our students in all milestones of the course.
At KS5, we use AQA to deliver our A-Level in History. This is due to our expertise in the core topics offered and years of training and embedding the specification requirements.
What are the Big Ideas in your subject? Why are they important?
Our Big Ideas allow students to make connections between content and time periods over the duration of their studies. The ideas allow students to place new content in context by recognising either long-term causation or similarities in events.
Our curriculum at KS3 and KS4 is enshrined by the following big ideas:
- Power to the People: What causes protest and revolution? How can regular people influence law and order?
- Humankind and Conflict: What are the causes of warfare? How has warfare developed over time?
- What are the consequences of conflict?
- Moving and Making: How has human innovation and invention shaped our world?
- What causes people to migrate and what changes can occur?
- Order and Disorder: How has monarchy and government transformed over time?
- What mistakes can leadership make and what are the consequences?
- Religion and Ideology: How has religion and political ideas shaped our modern world?
- What tensions can be caused by new religious or political ideas?
How do you intelligently sequence your curriculum so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before? Planning the progression model - How does a certain topic (e.g. algebra / language analysis) progress across the key stage(s)?
Our curriculum content, supported by the Big Ideas previously identified, provide opportunities for students to develop continuously. Concepts such as monarchy and religious schisms in year 7 allow students to recognise the context of their GCSE studies in changes over time and Medieval/Early Modern studies. Investigations into migration, empire and rights in KS3 support students in their depth studies of Civil Rights in KS4. The study of international relations and the rise of political ideas allows students to quickly engage with the context of the Cold War period at GCSE. All these priorities also link to our A-level content.
Students are introduced to vital assessment command words from year 7, such as causation and inference questions. This allows long-term development while also addressing the essential recognised skills of a young historian. Students learn to develop balanced essays and organise their debates into convincing writing.
How do you use spaced practice / retrieval practice?
‘Do Nows’ are used to assess previous learning and home learning priorities at the start of each lesson. Recall grids are used often to allow students to engage with short and long term learning goals. PLCs and knowledge organisers allow students to identify and address learning gaps through assisted self-management.
How is reading and mathematical fluency prioritised in your subject?
Reading is essential to lessons, challenging students to make inferences and comprehensions from both contemporary and modern texts. This supports both the retention of information and the development of student vocabulary, especially with important historical terminology. An exploration or chronology and the use of data and graphs to make historical judgements allows support for mathematical fluency.
Equitable delivery - How do you support disadvantaged students and students with SEND?
Through a consistent scheme of learning and embedded exam choices, the department is equipped with a variety of embedded lessons and alternative resources. GCSE texts have been selected to support all academic levels and staff receive training to support both level 4-5 targets and levels 7-9 targets. Resources are produced with access in mind, ensuring that we don’t have a ‘pay to win’ culture, with key textbooks and online resources available to all. We also ensure our library is stocked with essential revision material for ease of access. The department also benefits from having a SENCO within our teaching staff, ensuring support and sound action plans are ready to support all needs.
Assessment - How do teachers assess across the unit / term / cycle / year / key stage?
Termly assessment is used to check the progress of students by assessing our termly key enquiry in KS3. We also deploy low stakes quizzes and assessment practices to allow students and staff to reflect on progress and adjust accordingly. We have an aligned assessment across the four secondary schools to support rigour and consistency; this is sat in the summer term and assesses content and skills from across the academic year.
KS4 and KS5 focuses on the relevant assessment objectives in each paper. Assessments are more often and aim to develop both the expectations of the questions and suggested timing in exam conditions. The team analyses past questions to support students towards practicing essential content. The department participates in timetabled data drops and responds to areas of development