“Those who do not learn the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat them.”
It is more important than ever, in our ever shifting world, that we understand the importance of History within the school curriculum. In an era of ‘fake news’ and divisive politics, we must educate our students in the mechanisms that have constructed the modern world. Key concepts such as democracy, parliament, revolution and significance play an important role in understanding the world we live in. Students need to engage with a range of topics from within British and world history that equip them with the character and culture they need to cope and thrive with the twenty first century.
The History Department believes in these core principles:
- Students should develop a passion and interest in the subject during their five years at the school. This will be facilitated through first time Good or better teaching that provides engaging lessons for all abilities.
- The curriculum offered to students should be accessible to all but provide students with opportunities to be challenged, to think hard and have their learning extended. This will encourage students to use their initiative and, where possible, find out answers for themselves. This will involve reference to fiction and non-fiction texts which they can use to extend their learning.
- Students should be equipped with the necessary analytical and evaluative skills that are needed in the modern world. They should learn to question the provenance of opinions and evidence and learn to assess what they show them about different topics from different historical periods.
- Students should be given access to a wide-ranging curriculum that covers significant elements in British history and the wider world. This will support prior learning at KS2 and provide them with a platform for further study at KS5.
- Students will be instructed in key historical concepts such as parliament, revolution, democracy, causation, significance, and change & continuity.
- Students will develop their leadership, organisation and communication skills by recognising the importance of key terminology within the subject, as well as being given opportunities to complete a range of range of written and oracy tasks.
The History Department will aim to ensure that all students:
- have detailed knowledge and understanding of the history of Britain as a coherent, chronological narrative (sequence), from the earliest times to the present day: how peoples’ lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies.
- gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract vocabulary such as ‘democracy’, ‘revolution’, ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
- understand historical concepts such as change and continuity, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses.
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed History – key stage 3
- gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales. This will involve visits to historical sites and the use of outside speakers.
- learn to retrieve key information by using repeated practice of knowledge and skills, spaced retrieval practice and low-stakes testing.
This will be carried out in the following way:
- Clear overview of curriculum from Years 7 to 11 showing cumulative development of knowledge strands based on threshold concepts. Students will receive two hours per week in Years 7 to 9, with three hours per week at GCSE.
- Clear overview of curriculum within each key stage and each year, showing the sequence of learning.
- Shared and consistent lesson structures with accompanying resources.
- Coherent step-by-step sequences that build on existing knowledge and allow incremental development of knowledge.
- Access to broad and deep factual knowledge that allows them to use a range of thinking skills, including those that are deemed to be ‘higher order’ skills such as analysis and evaluation.
- Focus on learning – changes to long term memory – not performance. This will be implemented through the use of low stakes testing and interleaving.
- Explicitly teaching new tier two and tier three vocabulary
- Unrelenting focus on key concepts.
- Embedded regular retrieval practice and spaced practice
- Embedded and consistently applied homework focused on knowledge retrieval.
- ‘Close the gap’ by building and retaining long term knowledge in PP students.