Principles and purpose of the History curriculum

The purpose of the History curriculum is to help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. We want to inspire pupils’ curiosities to know more about the past and learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, assess arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Studying history will help students to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

The following principles have informed the planning of our History curriculum:

  • Entitlement: All pupils will study a broad range of content from the past 1000 years, they will access a range of evidence and historical scholarship through their enquiries.
  • Coherence: Our curriculum is chronologically sequenced with a focus on period, place, and people, which deliberately builds on and develops conceptual and disciplinary knowledge.
  • Mastery: We want our pupils to be able to link new knowledge to previously taught content and understand the different ways they connect.
  • Representation: All pupils will encounter a curriculum in which they can see themselves whilst offering a range of diverse experiences that provide an opportunity to broaden their knowledge through the curriculum.
  • Education with character: Through the curriculum, pupils are given many opportunities to debate historical controversy and to share and reflect on a range of topics. Within their school and local communities, there are moments for students to extend their learning beyond the classroom, such as remembrance and commemoration of significant events.

KS3 History Roadmap

‘Why This, Why Now?’

In our planning, we have asked ourselves 'why this, why now?’ Here we provide some examples of the curriculum choices we have made, and why the units have been placed in the order we have chosen:

  • Year 7 unit 1 begins in Constantinople, where East meets West, ideas are exchanged, religions coexist, and trade flourishes. This provides an understanding of the interconnectedness between different parts of the world, such as tracking the influence of the Spice Roads from China into Europe. Students gain significant context and foundational knowledge about Christianity and Islam for later in the year when they visit this region again in unit 3 through the lens of medieval conflict and the crusades. It also prepares them with a conceptual understanding of the development of scientific knowledge and the spread of ideas. This is built on in unit 6, when they learn about the Renaissance, and explore the age of discoveries. The Year 7 curriculum comes full circle as unit 6 begins with the collapse of Constantinople in the 15th century, 400 years after they initially studied its importance and influence in the region in unit 1.
  •  The concepts of power and authority are present throughout Key Stage 3. For example, in Year 7 unit 3 the power struggle between the Crown and the Church are introduced. These are developed in unit 5 when individual challenges to authority are studied, such as Becket, Magna Carta and the Peasants’ Revolt. This power struggle culminates in the English Reformation at the beginning of Year 8 when huge religious upheaval led to long-lasting political and social changes. This is further developed in unit 2 by examining Elizabethan conspiracies and then we consider just how England ended up in a period of civil war. In unit 3, the English Civil War explores changes in power and authority, such as the strengthening of parliament and how the commonwealth briefly interrupted the system of constitutional monarchy for the only time in our national history.
  • In Year 8 the concept of Britain’s emerging empire begins in unit 2 with the early days of Tudor exploration and expansionism under Elizabeth I. Unit 3 then examines how and why Charles II became involved in Royal African Company and the role trade and profit played in the development of the early empire. In unit 4, the Transatlantic Slave Trade highlights the establishment of an industrial system dehumanizing people to Britain’s benefit. Links between the slave trade routes and the scale and success of the Industrial Revolution are made in unit 5. In unit 6 The British Empire is addressed at its height including the actions and consequences of colonial rule for different people in different places. A range of diverse stories from across the British Empire provides different experiences and connections are revisited to tie pockets of information throughout Year 8 together by analysing links through empire with trade, slavery, identity, migration, race, profit, and political power. 
  • Black history is integrated throughout Key Stage 3. In Year 7 at the beginning of unit 2, we use a bridging lesson to consider what happened after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire from the British Isles? and use evidence of the ‘Ivory-bangle lady’ for discussion around migration and to consider the role and status that Africans played in this society. This is picked up in Year 8 unit 2 when migration from Africa is explored again through Henry VIIIs court. In unit 4 the role of Black people and their influence is central to the debate around abolition. In unit 6, again through the lens of migration, we meet some seemingly ordinary but highly remarkable individuals, such as William Cuffey, a black chartist deported to Tasmania whose story would never be known if it was not for the deportation records. In Year 9 we draw on the forgotten soldiers of the trenches, where we pause to consider why there is such a lack of evidence of black lives throughout all the periods they have studied. In unit 5 we explore civil rights in 20th century Britain including the roles of local grassroots activists campaigning for a fairer society in education, housing, health and in the workplace. In unit 6 we examine the consequences of Windrush and mass migration both at the time and retrospectively.
  • Protest movements and campaigns feature throughout Key Stage 3 history, and importantly these units are where concepts around identity and belonging are developed. In Year 7 unit 5 the Peasants’ Revolt 4 provides a clear moment that ordinary people, downtrodden by feudalism, challenged authority and believed they could make a change for the better. In Year 8 we consider the role of popular campaigns by working-class and middle-class people to abolish the Atlantic slave trade. In Year 9 through the suffrage movement, we explore campaigns led by women and consider which methods were the most successful and why. Through the American Civil Rights Movement, we explore grassroots campaigns, legal challenges, direct action, and the evolution of the Black Power Movement. In unit 6, Postwar Britain, we explore significant moments of social protest for different groups, and we consider how far progress was made.

KS4 History

GCSE History is examined in a similar way to English as you will be assessed on your ability to analyse historical sources and complete extended written answers. Therefore, this is an option suitable for those who already are successful in English and enjoy reading and writing.

Course overview:
Paper 1: Thematic study and historic environment.
Medicine in Britain c1250-present and the British sector of the Western Front 1914-18.
Paper 2: British depth study / Period study.
Anglo-Saxon and Norman England c1060-88 / Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941-91
Paper 3: Modern depth study.
Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39
As this curriculum is chronologically sequenced pupils will study the course in the following order:
Anglo Saxon and Norman England c1060-88 (Paper 2)
Medicine in Britain c1250 – present day (Paper 1)
Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39 (Paper 3)
Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941-91 (Paper 2)
Paper 1: Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes
52 marks (30% of GCSE)
Paper 2: Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
64 marks (40% of GCSE)
Paper 3: Written exam: 1 hour 20 minutes
52 marks (30% of GCSE)

For more information please contact

Alicia Shanks, Head of History and Lead Practitioner for Humanities alicia.shanks@lowryacademy.org.uk

Daniel Hargreaves, Head of Humanities and Teacher of History daniel.hargreaves@lowryacademy.org.uk

Nick Fox, Teacher of History and PSHE co-ordinator nicholas.fox@lowryacademy.org.uk

John Thursfield, Teacher of History john.thursfield@lowryacademy.org.uk