The intent of our History curriculum is:
To ensure students develop important life-skills that will enable them to think critically, weigh evidence and make informed well-balanced decisions and judgements.
Studying History prepares students for their future as actives citizen in an increasingly complicated world.
Our History curriculum is implemented through:
A spiral curriculum that constantly revisits chronology and consolidates understanding and by engaging with the 6 SHP (School’s History Project) principles which state that a History curriculum should deliver:
1) Relevant and meaningful history
2) Historical Enquiry – interrogation of evidence, substantive and disciplinary knowledge (using the power of enquiry questions (SHP recommend an enquiry lasts 3-5 lessons, we have somewhat extended that to allow for greater depth).
3) Study in development (linking the past to the present).
5) History around us – linking the local to national and international and the broader historical context – was Dorset typical?
6) Engaging and rigorous content; one should not come at the expense of the other!
Our units of study link to each other (not necessarily consecutively) and flow into one another because everything is linked to everything else on some level. We have looked for ‘heavy lifters’ who will teach important aspects of the curriculum and make links between them, both across the KS3 curriculum and also from KS3 to GCSE, for example Walter Raleigh’s local link to Sherborne Castle as part of the HAU unit of study (GCSE), the Elizabethans (GCSE), the settlement of America (GCSE), British diet (KS3), Black Tudors (KS3) and the slave trade (KS3).
Each year will study history in relation to a particular theme. The enquiries for each term link to that theme. The themes link to
the GCSE units but do not repeat them.
The theme in Year 7 (Migration & Movement) roots out previously hidden histories to create a diverse picture of the past. It allows students to feel connected to their past and their homeland-because people like them helped shape it! In Year 7, we will provoke discussion about what history is and embed an understanding that history can create a narrative that either empowers or disempowers. Our students will understand that History is not the same thing as the past but it is the past that we are looking for, the past as it was for ordinary people as well as their leaders, who, like you and me, really did exist.
The Year 8 theme (Conflict) provided an opportunity to study the past and its place in shaping the world we know today. The aim with the theme is to create links, in many cases extending what we have learnt in Year 7 and building on the knowledge acquired there but also starting new conversations e.g. We look at how black lives contributed to the winning of two world wars in Year 7, in Year 8 we look at the causes and consequences of those wars and consider their impact on other aspects of society as well as their role in shaping today’s world.
The Year 9 theme (control and dissent) is an opportunity to look at the enduring relationship between ruler and ruled and pupils will be asked to consider the theme from both stand points. Each enquiry at some point, asks pupils to consider what happened when the seemingly powerless flexed their muscles. The lessons will teach pupils that people have not always accepted their fate and their dissent, often seemingly futile at the time, had an impact. It (and the first enquiry in particular) is an opportunity to revise the traditional, paternalistic view of empire and a chance to shine a light on those who might, traditionally have been represented as mute, deferential, compliant and bovine. By inverting the traditional narrative we will teach students to consider to what extent the people at the top were forced to dance to the tune of those they ruled; and to consider how that interplay has shaped our world.
Year 9 is also an important year in preparing students for the rigours of GCSE and further content will be introduced that will empower those that go on to study the subject in Year 10. For example, we consider control and dissent in Nazi Germany as ‘a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments’ (Nat. Curr) whilst preparing GCSE historians for the OCR unit Living Under Nazi Rule. We will also draw explicitly on knowledge and skills (e.g. second order concepts) acquired throughout the KS3 course that link to the GCSE.
The study of Sherborne Castle provides a useful opportunity for teaching KS3 pupils a significant aspect of local history (as well as an invaluable opportunity for consolidating their understanding of chronology) and it also prepares those going on to study GCSE history for the History Around Us unit.
This revised curriculum has provided an opportunity for a radical overhaul of assessment in which KS3 is recognised as a discreet programme of study. Assessment is KS3 appropriate, a process that teaches as it assesses and is engaging and stimulating. Our objective is for pupils to embrace assessment as a useful tool for learning as well as a fun and provocative exercise that gets them using what they have learnt. It should pull our findings together and form a cohesive overview of the topic in question. We are not looking for fixed decisions at this point; ultimately it is important for students to embrace and accept the complexity of history and to form fluid opinions that are ready to change as new evidence is brought to light.
The impact of our History Curriculum is that
By the end of KS3, all students should:
a) Understand that our national and even local history is inextricably linked with that of the wider world. They should leave knowing how people around the world made Britain the place it is today.
b) Understand that people in the past were real and their individual struggles were part of a bigger picture
c) Understand chronologically when events happened and their relationship to other periods in time.
d) Be curious about history and want to know more
e) Feel prepared and confident about beginning KS4 History.
At Key Stage 4, students will have studied the highly regarded School History Project. It covers a wide variety of periods and places and is designed to broaden student’s understanding and experience of History. They will investigate the following:
- A British Thematic Study: The Peoples’ Health from 1250 to the present day. This examines developments in British public health and the prevention of disease through time.
- A British Depth Study into a time when Britain faced the threat of invasion: The Elizabethans and the Spanish threat, 1580 to 1603.
- A World Period Study: The Making of America 1789 to 1900, including the story of the American West and the American Civil War.
- A Study of the Historic Environment: A fieldwork enquiry into Sherborne and its castles.
- A World Depth Study: Living Under the Nazi rule in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s.
Key Stage 4 Assessment:
At GCSE, we follow the OCR History specification J411 BF
The course is assessed by three un-tiered written exams, all of which are tackled at the end of Year 11.
Five topics are covered in total, each of which is worth 20% of the final grade.
“History has provided me with multiple skills that I can use in all my subjects.”
“History GCSE has been fascinating. I have learnt so much and I understand a lot more.”
“Studying History has helped me learn from other peoples’ successes and their mistakes!”
“There is a lot to remember in History and I don’t think you can cut corners. If you are willing to work hard, you will be fine.”