“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
History is not just about facts and dates. It is a subject for anyone who wants to understand why humans behaved the way they did in the past, for anyone interested in the events that have shaped the world we live in today, and for anyone interested in solving puzzles, developing arguments and taking part in debates. Studying history will develop your ability to think clearly and logically, research, analyse, hypothesise, argue and criticise. Historians actively search for an interpretation of the past. It is commonly acknowledged that an understanding of the past is fundamental to an understanding of the present. Most importantly, history is both fascinating and fun as it combines the excitement of exploration and discovery with the sense of reward born of successfully confronting and making sense of complex and challenging problems.
What learners need to be successful
Pupils will be expected to bring a pen and ruler. Highlighters are also encouraged so pupils can highlight key information during times of reading.
History is a subject that requires a lot of reading and writing. Those who enjoy reading and analysing information will be able to excel in this subject. Pupils will study real people and events and discuss why people did what they did. They will develop their ability to judge what is true and whether they can always trust what they see, hear or read. They will be writing on average one to three A4 pages each lesson.
An example of how we analyse text in History is the use of Content, Origin and Purpose (COP) when explaining a source’s reliability or usefulness. When looking at a source, we first extract the key points from it (content). With the key points secured, we look at where the source has come from, when it was written and who has written it (origin). Is the country of where the source was written affecting the source’s reliability? Would a Nazi news report be a reliable source of information during the war? Or would Hitler be a reliable source of information about Jewish people? After looking at the origin, we look at the purpose of the source. Was this source a propaganda poster during a war? Would this make it reliable or not? The use of COP in this way is a core skill for History pupils that transfers well to college and university level.
What pupils will learn
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 4
How pupils’ learning will be assessed
Students will be assessed through a range of source analysis questions and short, detailed explanations of the causes and consequences of key events. Regular homework and end of unit assessments will be the way in which this is achieved. This will enable students to apply their skills and knowledge on the topic they have learned about. The feedback given to pupils will include a grade, what they have done well and what they can improve on. This feedback will be expected to be inputted in a progress sheet inside their book where they can record and track their progress throughout the year. Pupils should respond to this feedback to ensure they can improve their grade.
Where does history lead?
History encourages students to think, argue, discuss, communicate and challenge. It is accepted by higher education institutions to be a challenging discipline and is favourably looked upon. As well as a requirement for the more obvious professions such as law, museum work, teaching, and archaeology, history acts as a platform for careers in law, politics, civil service, the media, management and education amongst many others.
Revision is important at all times. Pupils should ideally revise or research each new topic. During exam time, it is expected pupils begin revising at least 3 months in advance to their exam. This will give them enough time to revise with confidence rather than with pressure. Revision classes for the end of year GCSE exams usually begin during and after Easter. Afterschool revision lessons lasting an hour will be ran weekly after the Easter holidays.
LINK: School History
A very good website with tons of resources for pupils to extract and revise from.
LINK: BBC GCSE Bitesize
GCSE Bitesize is a very easy and helpful revision site. The History section has topics based on the WJEC specification the school follows.
LINK: Tutor 2 U GCSE History Revision Quizzes
Contains plenty of quizzes based on History topics. A fun and useful way to revise for when pupils are preparing for assessments.
We encourage pupils to use their own research skills to find information. Pupils will understand the topics and content they will need to learn and using Google is a great tool to finding useful and up-to-date case studies.
Key Stage 4 pupils will be given homework once a week. The homework will include one high level exam question which the pupils will be expected to complete in a week. The homework is tailored to give the pupils the core skills in answering questions they will be given in their final exams. It is very important the pupils complete weekly homework so they are used to the kind of questions that will come up in their exams. The questions should take between 10 and 40 minutes to complete. Support is offered by the Humanities team, so if your child is struggling to access the homework, they should ask their teacher for guidance.
The Humanities department are dedicated to giving pupils unique access to ways of learning. While field trips are not a necessity for the qualification, the department hopes to fit in a trip for the GCSE pupils as well as the Year 8s. These trips may include visiting museums or sites of historical interest. We hope to take the Year 11s on a trip to experience life as an evacuee.
The department will run weekly homework clubs for pupils who need to catch up on homework or who need help completing it. GCSE pupils will also be given the opportunity to attend after school revision lessons after Easter.
How parents can help with their child’s learning
History is a subject with a strong core in the use of the English language. You should encourage your child to read as much and often as they can. It is recommended your child read for at least 30 minutes each day. This will not only help them in History but also in the rest of their subjects. It is also important to encourage your child to take an interest in other aspects of history. There are many fascinating and factual documentaries about topics in history by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 as well as videos, textual and documentary evidence on the internet. These don’t have to be about the topics studied in the GCSE; getting your child involved enough to watch documentaries can ignite an interest and passion in history that can last a lifetime. Reading books about history is also very useful. Younger pupils find the Horrible History books quite enjoyable to read and they are a good base of knowledge on famous people and events throughout history.