Our aim in History is to provide students an understanding of our past, to ensure they can access our world current affairs today. It is often pupils come into year 7 with an understanding that History is in the past and simply about learning many facts; we often are challenged with the ‘what’s the point in History?’ argument. This is addressed straight away in year 7, with a mainly skills based unit of work, and equally so, to assess the nature of our pupils. Our purpose in History in for staff to help pupils to embrace the subject and love learning about the past through passionate staff towards the subject, excellent lesson resources and extra-curricular opportunities that go beyond the constraints of the classroom walls. History has a positive identity with most of our pupils in Stanley High School. Pupils do find the amount of subject knowledge needed to be retained is profound. However, their love of the subject eliminates the difficulty in managing this. Given the fact the units of work are particularly interesting (which were chosen through a democratic pupil vote when changing exam boards), pupils tend to find they develop a real passion and love for the subject. It is often the case on Parent’s Evening; many Parents comment on the fact their child talks about the subject at home, which proves their enthusiasm for History.
We have one subject specialist in History; most of our KS3 is taught within our curriculum area staff, with one non-specialist who has experience teaching KS3.
Ensuring this member of staff feels secure in delivery is the main priority. As well as monitoring tracking data and supporting staff with suggestions on how to deal with problem areas, we ensure the member of staff teaching outside of their subject area, feels secure in their subject knowledge, by including this on the KS3 PowerPoints. The member of staff then merely has to explain the information. This has ensured members of staff uncomfortable teaching History, makes sure they feel confident in teaching pupils, but also, to ensure there is minimal work for them to plan for, when they have their main subject to ensure is of a good standard. This has ensured staff have not wasted valuable preparation time, in subjects not their own. History prides itself on having excellent quality resources, which in lower school, the lessons guarantee pupils are developing essential KS4 skills, which have been embedded into all KS3 lessons and assessments. Mark schemes are provided for all staff to comprehend, and the skills that need to be shown are specified.
- Year 7 – 3 lessons a fortnight
- Year 8 – 3 lessons a fortnight
- Year 9 – 5 lessons a fortnight
- Year 10 – 5 lessons a fortnight
- Year 11 – 5 lessons a fortnight with revision afterschool for an hour every week.
We follow the National Curriculum for History, with a particular emphasis upon British History, so our pupils know the British Values of democracy; the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. This is embedded within lessons, to ensure pupils grow to become good citizens of our world, who have learnt to look after humanity, by looking at past events and understanding the causes and consequences of particular parts of History.
We offer a trip for every year group/school is a member of National Trust
- Year 7 – Castles
- Year 8 – Quarry Bank Mill
- GCSE – Crime and Punishment museum
KS3 has the core skills for History, at the heart of every lesson. These include; cause and consequence, chronology, change and continuity, diversity and significance. This is key to understanding and accessing the KS4 History specification, which also have key skills embedded into every lesson (please see Scheme of Work). The topics we cover, ensure students know how Britain has developed, but our units of work, help them to have both a national and international awareness of England.
The exam board we follow is Edexcel, studying the following modules, to sit 3 exams:
- Paper 1 – Crime and Punishment over time c.1000-present, with a case study on the Whitechapel murders
- Paper 2 – Superpower relations and the Cold War 1945-1991 and Early Elizabethan England 1558-1588
- Paper 3 – Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939
All primary schools are contacted to discover what has, and what has not have been covered in as much depth as which primary staff would have liked. With this in mind, a basic tick list is sent at the end of the school year, ready for staff at Stanley High School to be aware of the context of the pupils coming to us in September. We also baseline assess them in History, testing skills like putting dates in chronological order, understanding what a century is, putting years into centuries, source analysis, understanding bias and being able to write a narrative account. These skills are required for GCSE and the baseline assessment informs the member of staff, where the weakness areas are of a particular class are, to then inform their future lessons.
We have created our own Scheme of work, which links with the Edexcel specification. We include outcomes, which elevate in skill, which link with our school motto of ‘Aspire, Challenge, Excel,’ and also have linked in a metal system (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum), which gives pupils a sense of achievement within each lesson. Our progress grids reflect the skills needed to aim towards the top grades. Every lesson has a core skill at the forefront of our lessons, which is within our Scheme of Work. Having reviewed many other schools’ Scheme of Work, we are confident that ours reflects our sound understanding of History and what is needed to succeed at GCSE, for example, regular testing (which not only included summative assessments, but formative assessments also). This has ensured pupils are being tested on recalled information on a regular basis, and has created an element of self-competition.
Having close links with Edge Hill University, the Lead of Humanities attends network meetings, which helps discuss developing Schemes of Work and other topics within History. Given the fact to comprehend some of the source material on the History paper, pupils are expected to have a high level of vocabulary. The way in which we help our pupils learn new vocabulary is by having a keyword sheet stuck in their books at the start of every new unit. The teacher addresses any challenging vocabulary with lessons, paying particular attention to literacy and teaching them methods to try to actually help them spell the word themselves, for example, ‘chunking’ words up into syllables. Challenging vocabulary is included in the Scheme of Work for each lesson. Equally, misconception areas are addressed by the member of staff within some lessons, and over time, this will continue to build as teachers understand what pupils get mixed up with. There are a lot of opportunities for silent reading in our History lessons to ensure pupils have the opportunity to learn independently and also to understand how pupils need to have the self-discipline to read themselves.
Our differentiated skills within the lessons ensure all pupils have access to achieve top grades. Some pupils are clustered within our classes so when the main teaching has been done, our attention can focus on SEND pupils to reiterate their learning and ensure they understand. When appropriate, differentiated worksheets are used to help structure SEND work. For our More Able pupils, again differentiated worksheets are used, for example, with less information on or with more challenging vocabulary, which pupils may have to use a dictionary to comprehend the text. Having said this, all pupils are given the opportunity to develop higher-level skills within the lesson; and only the way in which we get there is differentiated.
Our view towards homework is that it ensures our pupils have the chance to either reflect upon a lesson to consolidate their learning, or it can be to research the next upcoming topic. We ensure pupils understand that homework has a purpose, by reiterating to them on a regular basis that this will be needed to solidify their learning.
History provides pupils with a good general knowledge and an understanding of Humanity and that if we do not learn about the atrocities of the past, this will undoubtedly affect our future. Pupils enjoy History and the passion of our Lead of Humanities does drive pupils to engage and enjoy their History lessons.
History in Stanley High School ensures pupils who leave High School appreciate other people and knowing how to be good citizens of the world, having learnt about the atrocities that have damaged our society. Our curriculum clearly embeds pupils with good morals and equips them with the knowledge of a level of politics, law and order and how our society has changed over time which links with pupils knowledge of cultural capital.