If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.
Our aim in History is to provide students with an understanding of our past, to ensure they can access our world’s current affairs today. Pupils often 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 is 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 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, along with frequent knowledge retention techniques. This is due to ensuring wide-ranging content is covered which enables pupils to understand National and International events. From year 7-9, pupils study a vast range of Historical time periods, which touch upon each century, from 1066 to the present. The content of topics has been chosen to adhere to the National Curriculum for History. This allows the pupils at Stanley High School to have a broad and balanced curriculum, which encapsulates many cross-curricular links.
For KS4, 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 in Stanley High School. Pupils follow the National Curriculum, which has been tailored to encompass a broad overview, so should a pupil not choose History as an option subject, our Curriculum has been designed to be so broad that pupils would have a wide understanding of historical knowledge to equip them well for their forthcoming lives as adults.
History prides itself on having excellent quality resources, which in KS3, pupils develop essential KS4 skills, which have been embedded into all KS3 lessons and assessments.
- Year 7 – 3 lessons a fortnight
- Year 8 – 3 lessons a fortnight
- Year 9 – 3 lessons a fortnight
- Year 10 – 5 lessons a fortnight
- Year 11 – 5 lessons a fortnight with revision after school for an hour every week.
In History lessons, we have a particular emphasis on 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 learned to look after humanity, by looking at past events and understanding the causes and consequences of particular parts of History. Often in History lessons, we have debates when pupils are asked to express their opinions on facts.
As well as school trips and guest speakers, we also provide enrichment opportunities within our Schemes of Work. When an opportunity arises, staff embrace utilising the school environment to bring History alive for pupils (eg: using the yellow yard to demonstrate the logistics of the Battle of Hastings). This enables pupils to really engage with the subject and also helps with knowledge retention.
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 has key skills embedded into every lesson. 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 and its relationships with countries around the world.
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
In year 7, we baseline assess pupils 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. This will help us to understand what skills pupils need to work on and inform staff for lesson planning.
In all lessons, 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, but also, an accurate way of tracking pupil progress. Our differentiated metals within the lessons ensure all pupils have access to achieve top grades, no matter what their ability. We provide literacy scaffolding and support to help weaker pupils. Every History lesson has a core skill at the forefront of our lessons which is shared with pupils. Over our Curriculum Map journey, we ensure pupils are tested at the end of each unit of work.
Our staff address key vocabulary within lessons, paying particular attention to literacy and teaching them methods to try to help them spell the word themselves. Equally, misconceptions are addressed by the member of staff. 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 and develop a love of reading.
Our view towards homework is that it ensures our pupils have the chance to either reflect upon a lesson to consolidate their learning or to research the next upcoming topic. We ensure pupils understand that homework has a purpose.
History provides pupils with excellent 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. This is clearly evident within our lessons by the curious questions they ask. The more they learn about History in Stanley High School, the more they want to know. It is with this attitude, the subject itself lends itself well to promote the thirst for learning. Our pupil voice questionnaires help us to build upon what pupils enjoy, what they are finding difficult, and what they would like to see within their lessons.
History in Stanley High School ensures pupils leave with an appreciation for other people and knowing how to be good citizens of the world, having learned 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 capitol.