What will students be studying in History this year?
The Year 7 History course begins with a local study of how London has changed since the Roman time, which builds students’ understanding of chronology, introduces the skills needed by successful historians and builds essential context for the periods of history studied at Key Stage 3. From here, Year 7 students go on to study the development of Church, state and society in medieval Britain, 1066-1509. As part of this, students explore ‘Who were the Crusaders?’ and then investigate the challenges faced by medieval monarchs, including the conflict between Church and state, the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt. This is followed by an enquiry into the features of medieval African kingdoms.
As students enter Year 8, they pick up once more on the theme of conflict between Church and state as they study religious change during the Tudor period, including during the reign of a highly successful female monarch, Elizabeth I. This is followed by an enquiry into the causes and effects of the English Civil War. The subsequent enquiry engages students in the study of ideas, political power, industry and empire in Britain, 1745-1901. In the course of doing so, they will investigate how the industrial revolution changed the lives of men, women and children in Britain. This is followed by a study of the abolitionist movement, as students investigate the British Empire’s links with the slave trade and the reasons why it was abolished. Their work on empire is further developed in the subsequent unit, which is a depth study into the impact of empire on India. At the close of Year 8, students explore the struggle for female suffrage and why women in Britain won the vote in 1918.
In Year 9, students begin work studying challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world since 1901. This commences with an investigation into how historians use evidence to understand what life was like on the Western Front during the Great War. The inter-war period is then explored through an investigation into the rise of the Great Dictators, focusing on the rise of communism in Russia which challenges students to explain why people in the West feared communism. Following this, students carry out a detailed depth study into the development of the Holocaust. This unit poses the enquiry question ‘How do we know what happened during the Holocaust?’ and thus has a sharp focus on evidence as students study the origins of anti-Semitism in Europe and Germany, the development of the Final Solution and explore the nature and extent of resistance to the Holocaust. Finally, students explore the breakdown of the Grand Alliance at the end of the Second World War and the early origins of the Cold War in Europe.
Students in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 have three History lessons per fortnight and follow an enquiry-based approach. This means that learning is organised through rigorous and engaging investigative enquiries, such as ‘How did the Normans conquer England?’ Based around historical concepts of cause and consequence, interpretations, evidence, significance and change, these enquiries mirror the approach which is so central to the historian’s craft and support the development of students’ skills of historical reasoning.
What are the major assessments this year?
At the start of each unit, students will complete a short initial assessment which enables their class teacher to ascertain what students already know about the topic and adapt teaching to meet learners’ needs effectively. At the end of each term, students will complete an assessment. These are structured in order to test what students have learned over both the short and longer term.
What do the assessments test?
Firstly, assessments measure students’ factual knowledge of the topics covered, including their recall of key people, dates, events and situations. Secondly, assessments measure the development of students’ skills of historical reasoning, including their proficiency in working with cause and consequence, interpretations, evidence, change and significance.
What are the expectations of my daughter in History?
Students will be set homework regularly which they are expected to complete to the best of their ability. On occasion these homework tasks may take the form of independent research. Alongside this, students are expected to revisit and review the work they have completed in their workbooks in order to consolidate their learning and aid the development of their long-term recall.
What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in History?
The first course of action is to speak with her History teacher first in order to explain what aspects of the topic or task are particularly challenging. The support offered may differ depending on the nature of the challenge in question. If necessary, it may lead to additional adjustments which can be made in order to support her learning.
How can I best support my daughter in History?
The best way to support your daughter in History is to talk to her about the topics she is studying and what she is learning in class. You should encourage her to complete homework in a quiet area of the home without distractions from siblings, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices. Another way to support the development of your daughter’s historical knowledge is to use the knowledge organisers inside her workbooks to quiz her informally about the factual material she is studying.
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
Please feel free to contact your daughter’s History teacher by email, or the Head of History, Mr Godman at email@example.com if you have any questions about your daughter’s progress in the subject.