Why study History?

Studying history allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows us to understand our present. Studying history can provide us with insight into our cultures of origin as well as cultures with which we might be less familiar, thereby increasing cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

Key Stage 3

Our overarching aim when teaching History is to foster a love for the subject and enjoyment of the stories. The History curriculum intends to build in skills required to be successful in History now and in the future, as well as contextual knowledge relevant to students’ future study of the subject, whilst engaging and enthusing students with History that is most relevant to them and their lives. We want students to be able to coherently tell the stories of History that make it such an interesting and exciting subject! We therefore aim to develop students’ reading comprehension and written accuracy, as well as developing source skills and the key concepts of History (such as significance, cause and consequence, change and continuity, interpretation and similarity and difference), thus enabling them to communicate their thoughts accurately and effectively.

Topics covered:

Year 7:

Early Britain (c.500BC-1066), Norman invasion and conquest, Life for people in the Middle Ages, Royal Power in the Middle Ages, The Renaissance

Year 8:

Tudor religion, Mughal India and the Kingdoms of Benin and Mali in Africa, Transatlantic Slave Trade and slavery, Industrial Revolution, Rise of the British Empire

Year 9:

World War One, USA in the 1920s, The Holocaust, Fall of the British Empire, Protest across time

KS4

GCSE

Key Information about the course

Paper 1: Understanding the Modern World

Germany, 1890-1945: Democracy and dictatorship

This course explores how and why Germany changed over this period from an autocracy ruled by an emperor, to a democracy and then to a dictatorship. We will assess how the German people were affected by World War One, the challenges democracy faced as it was set up and throughout the 1920s, and ultimately how and why Hitler and the Nazis came to power and controlled and governed Germany.

Conflict and Tension, 1919-1939: The Interwar years

This course explores how World War One led to World War Two. We evaluate the decisions of the leaders of Europe at the time and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the League of Nations. We assess the impact of Hitler and analyse whether it was his actions alone which led to World War Two.

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Britain: Health and the People: c1000 to the present day

This course explores why and how medicine has changed since the medieval times. We will explore which factors have had the most significant impact on changing medicine: war, government, individual genius, art and religion. We look at the impact of certain medicines, such as penicillin and anaesthetics and how knowledge about diseases and public health developed.

Norman England, 1066-c1100

This course explores how a French ruler came to be King of England through conquest and the consolidation of his rule. We will assess how successful William I and his successors were in establishing and maintaining control, consider what life was like for the English under Norman rule, and evaluate the power of the church during this time. Within this unit is a site study which changes each year. You will either study or visit this site to then write about it within the exam.

The units selected have been carefully chosen to build upon what students will have learnt during their time at The Whitehaven Academy in Key Stage Three, as well as to provide an interesting and exciting course that provides opportunities for learning outside the classroom. It is the history department’s intention to arrange trips to sites that will enhance students’ learning across the course, such as a trip to the Thackray Medical Museum and the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds and a possible future trip to Berlin.

Key areas and skills

Analysis, evaluation and explanation are the main skills examined by the questions. Understandably, it is a subject with a high written focus, however, we endeavour to break down the fear of essays and make the course accessible to all.

You will also develop skills of analysing sources and interpretations against your own opinions and reaching judgements about the effectiveness or use of a piece of history, and these skills can be applied to a wide variety of contexts outside of the study of history.

Main methods of assessment

Paper 1: Written exam: 2 hours, 50% of GCSE

Paper 2: Written exam: 2 hours, 50% of GCSE

Possible career pathway

History is a subject highly valued by employers and colleges due to its status as a facilitating subject as it pushes students to develop many skills, including analysis, evaluation and explanation. However, specific careers areas include anything where you will need to analyse and evaluate evidence to reach a judgement on something, such as law, politics, research and medicine.