In History, our vision is to develop a life-long passion for the subject for all our students. Through an enriching, diverse and broad curriculum, we aim to challenge our students to think critically about the world around them in order to develop a deeper understanding of their place in society. A key philosophy of the department is for students to be cognisant of how the past has influenced the present. From learning about the creation of Parliament to get an understanding of our democratic values to learning about the development of civil rights in the USA in order to understand what may happen when those democratic principles are impinged, the History department hopes to foster an environment that allows our students to become informed, active, and engaged members of the local, national and global community.
Our knowledge-rich curriculum has also been designed to ensure that all students are fully challenged in their learning and develop their conceptual understanding of the past so that they make excellent progress. A key focus of our teaching centres around developing historical skills, such as the ability to independently and critically analyse a range of historical sources, in order to reach a substantiated judgement about the past. These skills are consistently put to practise so that students can apply these skills both in an exam setting as well as at a broader global level.
Our expert and dynamic teachers deliver lessons with a mixture of student and teacher-led activities with the aim of encouraging students to take ownership of and become more reflective in their learning. This is done with the view to bridge the gap between each of the Key Stages, and also between Key Stage 5 and Higher Education. For example, students are encouraged to take on research-based projects where they learn how to evaluate and reference various types of evidence to come up with their own conclusions to an enquiry.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, the course content is chosen to encourage students to question and discuss the world around them. It has been created to build on previous knowledge and develop their confidence so that they can take on History at GCSE and A-Level. The curriculum across Years 7 to 9 develops historical rigour and asks our students to develop their historical imagination in order to examine the bigger picture. We also place great importance in local histories with a particular module based around the changing nature of West Drayton through the years.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, students take on the challenge of History at GCSE. A broad and diverse curriculum has been specifically chosen to continue to build on students’ interest and enthusiasm for History. Students follow the AQA curriculum for which they complete six modules where they explore historical concepts such as cause and consequence, change and continuity, and similarity and difference. Students are familiarised with the AQA mark scheme from the very start to ensure understanding of the success criteria thereby giving students the best chance of success at GCSE. Students are given further opportunity to explore their love of the subject encouraging questions to stimulate debate and critical thinking giving them a firm foundation to take the subject for A-Level.
AQA GCSE History
Paper One: 50% – Externally assessed examination (2 hours)
Section A: Period studies AB Germany, 1890–1945: Democracy and dictatorship
Section B: Wider world depth studies, BB Conflict and tension: The inter-war years, 1918–1939
Paper Two: 50% – Externally assessed examination (2 hours)
Section A: Thematic studies, AA Britain: Health and the people: c1000 to the present day
Section B: British depth studies including the historic environment, BC Elizabethan England
Key Stage 5
The skills learnt at Key Stage 4 are further built upon at Key Stage 5, where students have greater autonomy over their learning. Students explore British history in greater depth but also continue to acquire and develop their understanding of different identities across varying social, cultural, and political divides. Students also take on a 3,000-word assignment, which develops the base skills necessary to succeed at university and beyond. This is designed to improve their skills as effective learners and develop them as critical and reflective thinkers with curious and enquiring minds.
Edexcel A Level History
Paper One: 30% – Externally assessed examination (2 hours 15 minutes)
Breadth study with interpretations, Britain, 1625–1701: conflict, revolution and settlement
Paper Two: 20% – Externally assessed examination (1 hour 30 minutes)
Depth study, Russia in revolution, 1894–1924
Paper Three: 30% – Externally assessed examination (2 hours 15 minutes)
Themes in breadth with aspects of depth: Civil rights and race relations in the USA, 1850–200
Coursework: 20% of overall grade
Students conduct an independently-researched enquiry requiring them to analyse and evaluate historical interpretations and to organise and communicate the findings.