Lead Teacher: Mr. M Walker
Purpose of study
A high-quality history education helps students gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Inspires students’ curiosity to know more about the past. Our curriculum equips students to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps students to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
Our curriculum aims to ensure that all students;
- know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world;
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilizations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of humankind;
- gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire,’ ‘civilization,’ ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry;’
- understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference, and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses;
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed in history;
- gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national, and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious, and social history; and between short- and long-term timescale.
There is significant variability in how primary schools approach teaching history at KS2 and our students enter secondary school with wide ranging experiences, knowledge, understanding and skills. Overall, they lack secure general knowledge and have a limited understanding of the world. At KS2, the topic-based approach means our students have some basic knowledge. The lack of cultural diversity and limited opportunities within our rural community means that the history curriculum plays a significant role in broadening their horizons and in ensuring that they develop a broad historical perspective. In doing so they can view the world with an informed understanding of the past which will help them understand their place in the world
Students learn by asking and answering questions. These questions form the foundation of every enquiry we make into the past. Their answers to these questions should not only give them a rounded understanding of aspects of British and world history, but should also be able to help them understand why the world is like it is, and give them some of the tools to understand their place in the historical process.
In Year 7/8 the curriculum focuses on two main units of study. The first: Power & Control, which is broadly defined as the historical relationship between those that rule and those that are ruled, from the Conquest of England in 1066 to the present day. While the second main focus of study is a comparison between how we live today and living and working across time. By building this core knowledge and skills students will be able to argue and explain how 21st Century Britain is what it is today. They will be able to use their knowledge and understanding to explain the significance of particular events in that historical journey, and will be able to demonstrate their understanding of Change and Continuity to show how change can, but does not always, mean progress. They will also be able to evaluate the provenance of different sources of evidence, ask and answer their own questions based on historical enquiries, and explore and aim to understand how events happen, and the impact they have on individuals and the wider world. When students’ progress to Year 9 and 10, the knowledge and understanding learned at KS3 forms the basic foundation for exam enquiries. Students learn the tools to study KS4 history in a deeper, broader, and wider way.
For example: In the study of the Holocaust in Year 7 and 8 students learn about how Hitler and the Nazis used the Jews as scapegoats, then isolated them through the passing of the Nuremburg laws, only to murder millions in the death camps. In the Year 9 and 10 study on Conflict in the Middle East, this knowledge and understanding is built upon when we look at the complexities surrounding the Creation of the State of Israel. An understanding of the significance of the Holocaust is key to understanding the creation of Israel. Also, as their knowledge and understanding increases, so does their ability to make connections across time, along with their skill in the evaluation of sources and interpretations.
Subject specific vocabulary is introduced as and when it becomes applicable to the area of study. Definitions are revisited in later topics, and where appropriate, compared to previous concepts. For example: In their study of the Roman Empire, students are introduced to the concept of an ‘Empire.’ This concept is then re-introduced in the study of the British Empire, where students are encouraged to make comparisons and discuss similarities and differences. The aim of this is to consolidate and broaden the student’s understanding, and to show how history can often repeat itself.
A successful student of history at Settlebeck School is able to:
- Apply the skills, knowledge and understanding they learn in lessons in their everyday life; to understand the relevance of the past in their journey into the future;
- Question tradition and the establishment in order to enact necessary change.
- Promote tolerance and to embrace diversity.
- Recognise and have the confidence to challenge opinions that threaten our human rights;
- Understand that not every opinion is equal and be able to articulate their own opinion using factually accurate and relevant knowledge.
The curriculum focuses on developing an understanding of continuity and change, developing chronological understanding, significance, cause and consequence, source evaluation and provenance. Students learn how to evaluate sources and as they progress through the curriculum, place sources in time and context. From Year 7 students learn how to structure historical arguments and how to communicate ideas and explore the turning points in history. Developing chronological understanding at KS3 provides students with a framework for studying the past. As they progress through the curriculum, they interact with different interpretations of the past, which enables them to learn how and why the past has been analysed in different ways.
The curriculum design has taken into account the requirements of the national curriculum, the local context and the foundational knowledge and skills students need to develop into historians.
For example: In the unit ‘Power & Control,’ we move from the concept of Feudalism and Monarchy, through the fight for civil rights, world war, and the defence of Democracy, to the use of extremism and terrorism as a means of, and an excuse for control. Aspect of this study, not only shows how society has developed, and what threats still exist, but also form the foundation for KS4 topics on King John, Nazi Germany, and the polarisation of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
In the unit on Living and Working, the main aim is to compare what has come before, with what exists today and consider change and continuity. This relates to the KS4 topic Medicine through Time.
When designing our curriculum, we considered the individual needs of our students. To ensure that students with SEND have the opportunity to develop the same knowledge and skills as their peers, we adopt a range of strategies within the classroom such as scaffolding and tiered questioning which enable students to develop confidence as well as the knowledge and skills they need to progress.
Students are assessed through a mixture of formal and informal assessments, and through written and verbal exercises. These include enquiries that begin with a framed question that tests a particular historical skill. For example, Year 7/8 students are challenged to explain the similarities and differences between how the Romans lived and how we live today. The assessment at the end of the investigation is designed so that students begin with what they know [modern life] and work back to what they do not know, or what they have found out as part of their research. This skill is reinforced in the comparison between modern and historical slavery in KS3, and through the Medicine and Health topic at KS4, which concentrates on change, and continuity across time. Assessments like this are intended to challenge misconceptions about how the modern world is better than what came before, or that change always leads to progress.
Learning is assessed through formal, summative assessments at the end of the year, but most especially through discussion and debate, based upon questioning and extending a student’s knowledge in class, and through feedback.
Prior knowledge is assessed at the start of each new topic and the outcome of the assessments used to inform the curriculum. The outcome of assessments inform the curriculum and where necessary it is adapted to ensure that misconceptions and gaps in knowledge and skills are addressed.