Curriculum intent

The world is changing rapidly. The future is full of possibilities. So with such changes possible, why spend time looking to the past? Some people assume that History is the study of the people and societies which are ‘dead’ and lack relevance. The reality is that quite the opposite is true.
History could not be more alive in how:
• it helps root ourselves in time, understanding the ways in which our identities have been
shaped and continue to be shaped by the past.
• the stories and examples help provide comparisons to the problems we face, inspiring
potential solutions and ideas which help inform our decision-making.
• it equips us with the vocabulary and cultural capital to help participate in society: to
track, shape and debate political issues.
• it changes our understanding of and relationship with the truth: looking at how historians
can make claims and the basis on which they can contest claims.
• it provokes debate and challenges us to think about issues from different perspectives.
History’s power lies in how it fundamentally changes us: how we see ourselves and the world we live in.

Christian distinctiveness

Our core Christian values are embedded throughout our history curriculum and regularly appear in discussions and reflections in lessons. The title pages of core booklets each show the highlighted values which most frequently link to that half-term’s enquiries.

These values also influence our curriculum planning and approach to the subject. For example as historians, we look to engage in the complexities of the past, including those aspects which may appear uncomfortable. We recognise that not everything that forms part of our national history will inspire pride, and instead we look to be truthful to the many different people in the past, and their experiences of it.

We look to develop empathy with the people of the past. We do not seek to ridicule or mock those in the past but to understand the beliefs and ideas they held no matter how strange they appear to us today. Just as we aim to treat others equally regardless of differences in the present, we must recognise that people in the past were just as we are: capable of hopes and dreams, love and laughter, grief and fear. They are people who must be respected.

Knowledge in history

Our history curriculum is structured around these overarching themes:
• Monarchy and government
• Causes and consequences of warfare
• Religion and beliefs
• Britain’s connections to the wider world
Our core knowledge is selected and sequenced to enable students to develop understandings of these ‘big stories’ across history.

At key stage 3, each half-term consists of a thematic block of linked enquiries. These enquiry questions drive a sequence of lessons anywhere between three and six lessons, and are based around a key disciplinary concept to develop historical thinking. Blocks are then sequenced chronologically over the key stage to ensure development of both a coherent narrative, but also to develop a ‘sense of period’.

Core knowledge is determined in relation to what we want students to learn in relation to the overarching themes. This is regularly reviewed and refined in planning discussions amongst staff in line with recent historical scholarship. This core knowledge is then fed by a rich hinterland of detailed and evocative stories and clear concrete examples to illustrate abstract ideas and vocabulary.

Our core themes assist with the consolidation and revisiting of core knowledge. For example, when studying the causes of the English Civil War in year 8, pupils are required to draw upon their learning about monarchy and government in year 7 in order to make sense of words like “parliament” and understand why 1649 was such a significant date.

Careers and aspirations

What do we do in the subject to support students to be ready for the world of work?

Historical thinking has enormous transferable value in the world of work. Through the study of history, students determine the requirements of a question, select relevant information and deploy it in a cohesive, structured and considered argument.

How do we plan to raise aspirations through our subject content?

Through our subject content, we raise aspirations through opening students’ eyes to the world around them. We encounter people and industries beyond their everyday experiences so that students know what the world of work can offer.

History GCSE

Why study history?

The study of history allows us to apply the lessons of the past to help solve problems in the present, and have the ability to apply an analytical mindset to all kinds of situations and challenges. These problem-solving and analytical skills are relevant in just about any industry which has a focus on current societies and future developments, particularly in the fields of business, politics and academia.

The aims and objectives of GCSE history are to enable students to:

  • develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of specified key events, periods and societies in local, British, and wider world history, and of the wide diversity of human experience;
  • engage in historical enquiry to develop as independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers;
  • develop the ability to ask relevant questions about the past, to investigate issues critically and to make valid historical claims by using a range of sources in their historical context;
  • develop an awareness of why people, events and developments have been accorded historical significance and how and why different interpretations have been constructed about them; and
  • organise and communicate their historical knowledge and understanding in different ways and reach substantiated conclusions.

What will I learn?

  • Medicine in Britain, c1250–present
  • The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18
  • Injuries, treatment and the trenches
  • Early Elizabethan England
  • The American West, c1835–c1895
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

How will I be assessed?

  • Examinations

Future pathways and careers

  • Further and higher education
  • Television and radio broadcasting
  • Law
  • Accountancy and finance
  • Politics
  • Management careers
  • Publishing and writing
  • Retail and sales
  • Business and marketing

Course contact

Mr C Gilmore
cgilmore@queenelizabeths-ac.org.uk