What is History about?
Our vision for History at Kingsmead is for students to ‘unlock the past, to build skills for your future’. To meet this vision, the History Department aims to promote historical awareness and a passion for learning about the past, as well as equipping students with a range of academic and readiness skills. Students learn about the past in a variety of ways, studying a mix of British and world history, and they are encouraged to use that knowledge to help them make sense of the present.
What do we teach in History and why?
The study of history is crucial in developing good citizens. Students learn about people and consequences of their actions in civilisations across the world and time. History teaches morality through evaluating key events such as the Holocaust and the dropping of the atomic bomb. They learn about the political, social, economic and cultural impact of key events and decisions. In reviewing the mistakes of the past, we aim to ensure that future generations do not repeat them.
History is more than just facts of names, events and dates. It requires a firm understanding of the historical skills. Students will deepen their understanding and use of the following by studying history at Kingsmead:
Throughout KS3, Kingsmead students embark their study of history by travelling over 1000 years of both British and world history. This breadth study at KS3 allows for students to develop their use of spotting trends and changes (skill of change and continuity) through the key threads of knowledge of power and conflict; religion/ church and state; society. As suggested by the National Curriculum, students focus upon a diverse range of topics which encourages students to debate and probe issues through time and to gain a personal identity through studying collective human history and morality. Each year, the curriculum is designed for students to answer a synoptic question which brings their learning together:
Year 7: What was the most significant change in British history up to 1700s? People's lifestyles, how the country was ruled, or religious beliefs?
To answer this question, students will show knowledge and understanding of: empire, invasion, monarchy, power, control, succession, rebellion, religion, society, economy, conquest, government and parliament, revolution, rights and dictatorship.
Year 8: What was the most significant change in Britain since 1800? Political ideas, war and conquest, or technology?
To answer this question, students will show knowledge and understanding of: industrialisation, imperialism, nationalism, democracy, propaganda, classism, dictatorship, democratisation, authoritarianism, issues of morality, American hegemony, genocide, superpower relations.
Year 9: World and Local History - What has been the experience of marginalised peoples?
To answer this question, students will show knowledge and understanding of: Empire, slavery, white supremacy, classism, economics, society, human rights, treatment of minorities.
At GCSE, Kingsmead students study the AQA course. Students will be required to use the above skills in the depth studies of:
Unit 1 - Germany, 1890–1945: Democracy and Dictatorship
This unit provides students with an opportunity to study over 50 years of German history in great depth. Students will investigate Germany prior to World War I and assess the reasons for Germany’s defeat and the impact this had. They will analyse the fall of the Weimar republic and explain why Hitler came to power. Nazi Germany and the life of ordinary Germans will be studied in detail, including the education of children, opposition to Hitler, and Nazi racial policy.
Unit 2 - Conflict and Tension in Asia, 1950–1975
This unit covers only 25 years and allows students to gain a detailed understanding of the period. Students will learn about the cold war background to conflict in Korea and Vietnam, as well as the motives and interests of the indigenous population of these two countries. The role of key individuals and presidents will be explored, and comparisons will be drawn between the two conflicts.
Unit 3 - Britain: Health and the People: c1000 to the Present Day
This unit covers the broad theme of medicine and health over time, allowing students to analyse key trends and turnings points. They will look at the long- and short-term consequences of key developments and understand the impact of the wider world on Britain. Students will analyse the importance of war, religion, government, science, communication and individuals in developing or preventing changes in medicine from medieval Britain to today.
Unit 4 - Elizabethan England, c1568–1603
This unit offers a detailed insight into Elizabethan England. Students study Elizabeth’s personality and her control over government as well as life during the Elizabethan era. This is further developed with a study of a historic environment (which changes yearly), which allows students to link their knowledge specifically to the environment and individuals who lived at the time.
At A-Level, students are provided with a chance to refine their skills and deepen their understanding of key topics. The exam board (OCR) and the expert Kingsmead teachers give students the ability to develop a desire within them to continue learning beyond the confines of the classroom. The main purpose of the qualification is to prepare learners by providing a suitable foundation for the study of history or related courses in Higher Education or a professional career.
What does History enable our students to do?
How is the curriculum structured in History?
All students study history in key stage 3 and it is an option at GCSE and A level. Students have access to the latest textbooks and online resources and laptops and tablets are also used in lessons for challenge, independent research and interactive quizzes. Homework is set weekly and will require students to revise key knowledge, practice their skills and knowledge by completing extended written answers and complete knowledge quizzes. The curriculum is structured for students to explore big issue questions which challenge their thinking. Historical skills are repeated each year and practiced at greater depth each time. This spiral nature of the curriculum allows for students to Practise to Perfect.
What specifications do we follow?
GCSE: AQA 8145
A-LEVEL: OCR H505
What are the links between History and other subjects?
History will inevitably touch on other disciplines due to the breadth of knowledge that we offer students. English is imbedded into the curriculum with a strong emphasis of high literacy. Teaching of key words is explicit and focuses on the etymology, prefix and suffix and ways in how to use the word. Students will often find links with English and Drama when studying the Elizabethan Golden Age and the role of theatres and Shakespeare. Students also create synoptic links when studying the Industrial Revolution with Dickins.
The beginning of year 8 directly links with geography’s unit on urbanisation. Students can use both subjects to understand the desires for people to move, but also the positive and negative impacts of the growth of cities. Maps are often used to give historic events place and scope – used well in the Pacific Theatre of war lesson to introduce students to places beyond Britain.
History builds students understanding of democracy and political ideas. These are further developed in GCSE Citizenship and A-Level politics. History provides students with the firm historic examples of Magna Carta, extreme nationalism, anti-colonialism, Chartist movements.
Graphs (line, pie, scatter plot, Venn) are often used in change and continuity enquiries in order for students to plot major events and show the impact that they had. Percentages are used to explain the impact of events (30-40% of England killed in the Black Death).
What are the future careers students can take when they study History?
History skills equip students for a plethora of careers. The ability to present a case and justify it is sought by most professional employers. Aside from curating, archaeology and teaching, history students can go into careers such as law, journalism, policing and government.
The skills listed below are desired in many professional careers and in higher education:
What extra-curricular activities can students take part when you study History?
Curriculum trips are offered annually for the Elizabethan study at KS4, and KS3 students are invited to numerous trips to historical sites which are linked to their studies, such as the Tower of London and Hastings.
The history department is often involved in the school readiness and character curriculum. Remembrance Day, Black History Month, LGBTQ+ month and Holocaust Memorial Day are all led by students who wish to share history beyond the classroom.