“It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re probably going wrong” – Sir Terry Pratchett
‘Fit for Life’ through History
The study of history is the study of mankind; the lessons that can be learned from both the best and the worst examples of what humanity has done in the last one thousand years. It is about asking big, difficult questions: What is evil? Why do genocides take place? Can one person really make a difference? Equally, it is the study of heroes and bravery, compassion and kindness. History has, at its core, great and sweeping stories; it just so happens that they’re all true!
Skills and Knowledge
At Key Stage 3, the history curriculum is chronological and is designed to give students a solid command of the history of the nation in which they live, from before the Norman Conquest up to the 20th Century. This study is more than just the study of events, however, as we discover, via the change and upheaval that such events can cause, the birth of the rule of law, democracy, freedom, rights. In Year 7 we study the impact of the Norman conquest. In Year 8, we range from the religious changes of the Tudor period to the growth of industry and Empire, leading into the First World War. In Year 9, we demonstrate how the end of the First World War created the breeding ground for fascism and the origins of the Second World War. The Holocaust forms a major focus of our Year 9 course. We also introduce the long term origins of the Cold War, which we continue with into Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, we cast our net somewhat wider. We build on much of what has been learned at Key Stage 3, by continuing to look at European conflict and we deepen our understanding of the formation of the UK via a study of Medieval history. Examining the expansion and consolidation of the USA enables us to make tangible links with the modern world and current affairs, demonstrating that by shining a light on our past we can illuminate our present. As well as the afore-mentioned Cold War, the Key Stage 4 course includes the history of the USA 1840-1895, the history of medicine in Britain from c1000-present and the reign of Edward I.
Communication and Community
To progress in history, communication (particularly but not exclusively, the written word) is crucial and developing literacy skills is inherent at all levels of study. Critical analysis of sources, why some are more useful and convincing than others, is also important. We invest significant effort improving and honing students’ ability to write developed and complex explanations of cause and consequence. Homework at Key Stage 3 will often require independent research and from Year 9 onwards, revision; the ability to learn and then recall and apply factual content is a key skill for exam success.
Using historical individuals and events as examples, we teach the students about the potential role of the individual in society, the power of making both good and bad decisions and the consequences that emerge from them.