History at Judgemeadow is used as a vehicle for teaching the students to critically analyse events, text and sources and then to explain through writing extended answers, expressing their ideas, and supporting with valid evidenc
History at Judgemeadow in KS3 is used as a vehicle for teaching the students to critically analyse events, text and sources and then to explain through writing extended answers, expressing their ideas, and supporting with valid evidence. For this reason the events of 1066 are perfect for students to develop an understanding of different points of view, provenance of sources and to explain why things happened.
Where possible we teach chronologically. Whilst not every period can be covered it makes sense to approach the units we do teach in that order. In Year 7 we carry out a study of 1066 and then the impact of Norman control of England. This is followed by a look at medieval life and the balance of power between church and state. In Year 8 we teach the Industrial Revolution and how Britain became the first industrial nation. This unit gives the students a useful grounding in social changes the impact of which can still be seen around the world today. We follow this with an introduction to 20th century history including the First World War and the rise of the Nazis. It is essential for every student to study the Holocaust which we teach within a broader unit about prejudice of all kinds. We have a moral responsibility in a tolerant, secular system to teach about all kinds of prejudice and discrimination. The current curriculum model requires this to be taught in year 8 for all students to be able to study the unit.
We have a series of summative assessments in place which mirror the skills required for KS4. Each assessment is designed to cover a variety of topics not just the most recently taught. All of these assessments need to be modified to fit in with the new curriculum model and the temporary ‘strands’ model that has been a necessity because of the volume of shared groups in 2019-20.
As previously detailed we use KS3 as a vehicle for teaching the skills necessary to succeed in KS4. These skills are also important life-skills. The assessment model that was introduced in 2017 included formative tasks and summative assessments that mirrored the questions that they would encounter in KS4.
Some areas of study from KS3 are useful for topics in KS4 but not essential. Our KS4 Crime & Punishment unit benefits from a recall of medieval England (Year 7), political changes during the Stuart monarchy (Year 7) and social changes during the Industrial Revolution (Year 8). However, we have designed Year 9 to be a bridging year giving the students wider context of the aftermath of the First World War, the Peace Treaties and particularly the causes and events of the second World War. This is intended to facilitate the teaching of the Cold War. Since we began teaching the new GCSE and International Relations 1919-39 was no longer an available option our KS4 students have struggled to grasp the Cold War and needed contextual lessons before beginning the actual course.
Our teaching groups in KS3 and KS4 are mixed ability so every student is given the same opportunity to succeed. There are no tiers of entry so all will need to tackle the same questions and master the same skills.
The core principles underpinning the Edexcel KS4 course are to provide a curriculum that “will engage students with a broad and diverse study of the history of Britain and the wider world and give them skills that will support progression to further study of history and a wide range of other subjects”. Two of the four units we currently teach were chosen to provide continuity of resourcing and teacher’s expertise as they were units taught with our old specification: “Russia & the Soviet Union, 1917-41” and “Superpower Relations & the Cold War 1941-91”. For the thematic study we opted for “Crime & Punishment in Britain, c1000-present” as we believed that this was the most interesting and accessible for all of our students. For the period study we adopted “Henry VIII & his Ministers, 1509-40” as again we saw this as the most interesting and accessible. We have taught some aspects of the Tudors in previous KS3 models.
We want to enthuse and engage students so that they gain a love of the subject and the desire to take their studies beyond the classroom. It is impossible to teach every aspect of History so the topics are ones that we believe will achieve this aim. Without a grasp of History and personal motivation we cannot expect students to understand UK current affairs and global events. For example, an understanding of the Industrial Revolution and how this concept has been exported beyond our shores will help people to appreciate the human impact on climate change.
As previously explained, we cannot teach every important event in British or world history so we chose key turning points, such as the events of 1066 and the Industrial Revolution, where students can see real change and understand the causes and consequences of it. The new Year 9 model give students the opportunity to study key aspects of the 20th century which have strong political resonance today. At the same time these units will serve as a strong grounding for the beginning of their KS4 studies.
At both KS3 and KS4 the History curriculum is ‘knowledge rich’. Students are required to learn, process, recall and deploy a vast amount of factual detail in order to support longer written responses. As previously explained, we use KS3 to embed skill and familiarity with exam style questions in order to prepare students for KS4. In line with whole school priorities we have incorporated many the “Effective Learning Strategies” into our lessons at KS3 and KS4 to effectively train the students to commit the necessary factual details to their long-term memories. Most of question/assessment types are scaffolded and modelled for students to understand their complexities at KS3. This practice continues, in more depth, at KS4. Feedback for formally assessed work is targeted and the department follows the college procedures on the ‘green-pen improvements’.
We have been using retrieval practice for many years. There are multiple examples of what were formerly called ‘Knowledge tests’ across both key stages. In the last two academic years we have adapted/created more retrieval practice tests that are marked out of 20 for easier comparison. These tests are repeated with students to embed key facts/dates and names which are essential if students are to access the higher levels on assessments. Shorter retrieval practice is also being introduced in many areas to review students’ understanding of previously taught issues and to address misconceptions. The use of concrete examples to illustrate concepts has always been intrinsic to the teaching History, a knowledge rich subject as previously mentioned.
We are incorporating aspects of Dual Coding to support our students. At KS4 we have timelines for each unit allowing the students to create a chronological view of the curriculum. These are coded to also allow students to see the impact of particular issues, locations or people across the units. For example the Henry VIII timeline includes codes for students to see issues relating to the reformation and others to see issues related to the succession.