Curriculum Information for History

The purpose of the history curriculum is to aid students in developing knowledge and understanding of both the past of Britain and the rest of the globe. At Tottington, we want to inspire students' interests in learning more about the past and teach them to think critically, analyse arguments and facts, and acquire perspective and judgement, to ensure that pupils will be successful in the future.  Students who study history will be better able to understand the complexity of people's lives, the nature of change, the variety of societies and interactions among them, as well as their own identities and the problems facing their generation, which would allow students to become more employable and well-rounded in their future lives.

History Learning Journeys

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The curriculum for history offers students a range of cultures to engage with, and then to identify the impact that this will have on their own lives, ensuring that they are given the tools needed to adapt and use in their lives.  It is our aim that students will have a range of knowledge and skills throughout their history journey, with the aim that they can use and adapt these skills to help them practice informed opinions, activate their analytical skills and apply them to help in social situations and to diversify their understanding of the world around them. 

Broadly, our Key Stage 3 Curriculum is taught using chronology, so that pupils understand how events lead into one another, which assists with the skill of change and continuity.  We then ensure that historical skills are engrained in the curriculum so that by GCSE, they can adapt and confidently answer questions using the skills learned and developed in Key Stage 3.  For those who enjoy the course, they will then be well-equipped to study at A Level standard and beyond.  

At Key Stage 3, there are 4 lessons a fortnight allocated to history, and at GCSE this increases to 6 lessons a fortnight. Typically, in a lesson, you will see a range of pedagogical approaches such as source analysis, discussions which lead on to the larger judgement questions through teamwork and working together, as well as marketplaces and interleaving, especially at GCSE level.  There is an emphasis on longer writing, due to the analytical nature of history and the expectations that students need to develop their writing style and arguments.   Interpretations are important in history and are implemented in lessons on a regular basis in order to build students’ critical facilities.  We have been developing ways for history to be not just about remembering facts, but to challenge their preconceptions about historical events and their impact ensuring high aspirations and collaborative working.  

We have a range of assessments that all use the GCSE stems.  This ensures that pupils are aware throughout their historical journey that there is a range of historical skills to be applied.  Progress is checked by questioning and targeted feedback in lessons, and then all teachers mark the same questions at Key Stage 3.  At GCSE, students sit mock papers, as well as work being marked replicating a question stem, again to ensure consistency.  At Key Stage 3 we use progress trackers with lessons and assessments, so that students can track their development and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.  At GCSE, students are told their target and are then informed of steps needed to achieve these and to strive for success. 

Work set for GCSE students reflects the demands of the course, and is used to cement knowledge, as well as develop the skills.  With the nature of the course, it is a tool used to help with interleaving, and therefore assisting students with their retention of the three papers. This is commonly set through GCSEPod, where clips can be watched and then assessed, or through Seneca, where their content knowledge is regularly tested and reinforced. 

At Key Stage 3, we have a bank of resources which are linked to extending students’ knowledge of the wider world, which also complements the period of study at the time. 

Historians Club is a well-received extra-curricular club, where students learn, listen and have the opportunity to take responsibility for researching and presenting to their peers.  This has been in place for the last two years, and has a fantastic impact in lessons; pupils have increased in confidence and are more willing to participate more in class. Pupils communicate and inspire peers across year groups. 

Outside speakers have been to the school, presenting to year groups, examples of which have been speakers explaining their own heritage and experience of The Holocaust. Visits to local areas have also taken place in order to allow students to explore their local history. 

History has a wide application for all students who are looking for opportunities in a diverse range of fields and higher education.  It is a well-regarded subject which can lead to further academic study, but also develops practical skills that lead to vocational pathways.