Why is History important?
Learning about History can be a passport to understanding our nation’s cultural capital – why Shakespeare wrote the plays he did, why we uphold justice, why we have become such multicultural society since WWII. Studying History helps us to understand who we are and what we value.
Our aim for our students is to SUCCEED:
Skills: Help students gain and develop the intellectual skills needed to think independently, write analytically, challenge convention and decide for themselves.
Understanding: promote understanding of key historic events and gain perspective on the world’s current challenges and issues through the lens of the past.
Curiosity: teaching pupils to frame the questions needed for their investigations and to inspire an interest and excitement in the events and people who have shaped our world
Challenge: History at Sexey’s is challenging and engaging at all levels and we strive for excellence from Year 7 to Year 13. Our strong examination results reflect the development of examination skills across the key stages.
Exploration: Experiencing history through a variety of media and outside of the classroom. The Department runs a number of trips at home and abroad (where possible) and invites History societies to bring their passion to us. Recent trips have included the Globe Theatre, the Battlefields of WWI; the Chalke Valley History Unit and a visit from the Civil War Society.
Excellence: Give our students the support and self- belief to persevere and aim high
Diversity: Improve the understanding of other cultures, values and ideas in order to help celebrate and understand our multicultural society and our shared experience.
Benefits of studying History beyond school:
- Excellent preparation for the skills you will need in adult life: the ability to argue your case convincingly when seeking promotion, to write analytically and intelligently when assessing which project should be pursued, to think for yourself based on reason not emotion.
- Opens up a wide range of career opportunities in various fields: politics, law, diplomacy, forensic science, teaching, journalism.
- Great preparation for independent thinking required for Higher Education.
Subject Overview/Curriculum Policy
The KS3 curriculum follows the National Curriculum for History:
- There is a strong focus on SMSC topics covering issues such as rights & responsibility, discrimination and persecution, religious practice and intolerance as well as ensuring the landmark events of British History are explored. We believe that understanding some of the key events in our shared past are important aspects for building up the cultural capital available to our students.
- Sexeys Seven: We take all opportunities to promote the Sexey’s Seven approach to British Values: COURAGE / FORGIVENESS / HONESTY / KINDNESS /RESPECT/ EMPATHY RESILIENCE – but in particular foster the understanding of empathy, for example by discussing experiences of Empire / slavery/ warfare/persecution as well as understanding the perspectives of the rulers and the ruled
- We strongly believe in a spiral curriculum and that you start building for GCSE and A level in Yr 7. We ensure that correct techniques are taught from the start, albeit with considerable scaffolding, support and age appropriate expectations.
- In depth topics are selected for their ability to address core historical skills that will be required at GCSE or where they provide a contextual basis for topics later studied at GCSE and also A Level.
- Assessment style is linked to GCSE questions. In all year groups but especially Year 9, assignments test and model the language of GCSE questions as per the AQA 8145 syllabus followed in KS4. The use of levelled mark schemes in KS3 include criteria equivalent to the skills demonstrated at each GCSE level
- Learning is based around overarching enquiry questions to promote an investigative and open approach to the idea of history whilst still examining key people, events and ideas. See enquiry questions below.
- Challenge is the normalised into lesson planning. For each lesson/series of lessons, the objectives will ensure the acquisition of knowledge, developing skills in source analysis and writing developed explanations, promoting the use of speculation, the evaluation of interpretations and sources and the ability to justify and substantiate judgements. We seek to challenge and support our students throughout KS3.
- Our schedules help us to know where we are: it helps us to track the progression of lessons throughout the term to ensure that we are on track or to identify where adjustments need to be made. This is most helpful when leading non specialist teachers through KS3 in particular.
Key Stage 3 curriculum plan
Medieval Realms: Anglo-Saxon England, Battle of Hastings, Feudal Systems, Role of Women and of the Church, King John and the Magna Carta, Monarchy, Medieval Life
Enquiry 1: How did life and society develop in early England?
Enquiry 2: Did William the Conqueror win due to luck or tactics?
Enquiry 3: How did William control and change English society?
Enquiry 4: How powerful was the Church in the Middle Ages?
Enquiry Question 5: How did the power of the Monarch change during the Middle Ages?
Enquiry Question 6: How hard was life in the Middle Ages?
Enquiry 7: How did the Tudors change England?
Era of Revolutions: Empire & Slavery, Revolution in the UK, Development of Democracy
Enquiry 1- Did we have an English Revolution?
Enquiry 2: Was the Empire just good for the British?
Enquiry 3: How horrific was the slave trade?
Enquiry 4: How did the Industrial Revolution change England?
Enquiry 5: What was wrong with Democracy and how did it change in the 19th Century?
Enquiry 6: How did Women get the vote?
The Twentieth Century World: Era of WW1, Era of WWII, GCSE Topic: Germany
Enquiry 1: What caused WWI?
Enquiry 2: Why did the Nazis rise to power in Germany, and how did this lead to War?
Enquiry 3: Why and how were Jews and other minorities persecuted in Nazi Germany?
Enquiry 4: How did life change in Britain after World War II?
Enquiry 5: How did Civil Rights improve in the USA?
Enquiry 6: What key issues do we face today?
- Assessments take place formally at four points throughout the year in KS3, these coincide with the AR points for the whole school. These are completed in books and are tracked using the whole school tracking stickers.
- We also complete less formal ‘book checks’ when we can in lesson time, as well as at least once every half term (fits within the every 6 lessons policy) with development questions.
- The four main assessment points per year are when students will complete an assignment on core skills (to be used at GCSE) and knowledge. These are marked using GCSE style level mark schemes (which have been simplified and are appropriate for KS3 students to understand). This helps students to gain an appreciation of what is needed for GCSE style assessment.
- Development questions are used to summarise learning and offer some formative advice between assessments. We look to do a minimum of four per year. These are planned in to the schedules, but may be adapted if required.
Key Stage 4 curriculum plan
GCSE Specification Overview: AQA 8145 combination code HC
Component 1: Modern World History – section A/B: Germany Section B/C Origins of the Cold War 1945-1972
Component 2: British History – Section A/A Health and the People (medicine) and Section B/C Elizabethan England 1568-1603
Teaching of the Units
We deliver the GCSE curriculum in Years 10 and 11 – links will be made back to topics studied in the Yr 9 National Curriculum that provide an overlap and to build on prior learning.
Life in Nazi Germany (Paper 1) has been chosen as the first GCSE topic to be taught to provide maximum continuity with student learning in Yr 9.
We then teach the 2 units in Paper 2 consecutively leaving the more conceptually hard unit on the Cold War until last – allowing for greater maturity.
Students use folders to hold notes, and are given topic checklists at the start of all units. This allows for self review, and the teacher to keep track of how students feel they are progressing.
Students are assessed in each topic area using genuine GCSE questions, which are undertaken in the time allocated for this style of question in the exam.
Model answers and standard responses are often used to analyse and improve upon answers. Where student answers are used, their permission is sought and they are made anonymous.
Students will experience all question styles in each of the topics at least once before the related mock examination in that paper.
Students are asked to redo all answers that fall 2 or more grades below their target grade.
In Yr 11, after the mocks, student are asked to redo all questions that are below their target grade/ realistic capabilities. (Some students with very high grades may not be asked to redo them if it just one grade below and it is felt that their Target Grade is genuinely ambitious)
All marked work is kept at the front of folders in an ‘assessed work’ file divider.
Year 11 will only sit one paper in the mock – this may be a hybrid paper but where possible one whole paper will be tested.
Year 10 will most likely only sit one unit mock due to amount of content covered by this time.
All students will have the opportunity to sit a complete unit exam in mock conditions, however a whole paper (2 hour exam) may only be possible in year 11.
All questions will be set and marked to GCSE standard and recent grade boundaries will be used to award grades.
For information on Key Stage 5 (Sixth Form) History, please see here.
Spiritual, Moral, Social or Cultural Opportunities
Across Y7 to Y11, the History curriculum plan enables multiple opportunities to discuss and reflect upon events with a SMSC focus. We consider issues to do with the development of rights and democracy in the UK, the reformation and issues of religious difference; the issues concerning Empire and Slavery; the persecution of minorities and the Holocaust and this is just the highlights. Lessons are grounded in the students’ current experiences and issues that concern our world today. Students are regularly called upon to assess and explain different views as well as to appreciate our development as a society. In KS5 we continue to consider subject matter that raises fundamental questions about the nature of power and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural implications this can have from the emancipation of the serfs in Imperial Russia to the ruthless repression of Hitler and Stalin. The study of 15th Century England helps to appreciate the cultural capital of our turbulent past.
Most Able Opportunities/Support
The classes are mixed ability in throughout but the emphasis is always on challenge. The nature of the subject means that lessons and assignments always require students to think critically, write analytically and substantiate their judgements. In certain topics higher ability students are given the independence to explore an enquiry themselves in small groups, whilst still focusing on the same objectives as the rest of the class. In all Key Stages pupils are always encouraged to strive beyond their target grades and pathways to the higher grades are clearly explored before all assignments are set. In KS4 all assessed work is done via real GCSE questions and focus is always on what it takes to reach the complex level.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Opportunities/Support
- High-quality teaching
- Differentiated work and assessment support (Scaffolding)
- Seating plan to suit needs and abilities
- Exam Access arrangements with extra time for KS4 and KS5
- Additional intervention as needed
- Darryl Carpenter
- Alice Elliott
Useful revision website links:
Updated: September 2020