HISTORY DEPARTMENT CURRICULUM RATIONALE
PURPOSE AND IMPACT:
“The Uxbridge High School history curriculum will provide all our students with an academically rigorous, stimulating and fulfilling experience of studying the past. Through a wide-ranging, deeply planned and knowledge rich curriculum, spanning over a thousand years of history, students will be exposed to a rich store of cultural capital to which they are entitled and as a result develop a rich armoury of analytical skills.” – UHS History Department Vision
KEY CURRICULUM PRINCIPLES:
- Breadth and Depth: The UHS history curriculum is designed to encompass diverse aspects of one and half thousand years of British, European and World History. By the end of the foundation years, all students will have had a rich and wide-ranging encounter with humanity’s past. Transition, mastery and advanced years will offer students the opportunity to build on these experiences and dig deeper into that past.
- Deep Planning: The UHS history curriculum is greater than the sum of its parts. Each topic is designed to contribute knowledge and skills which build upon students’ previous work and lead each student on a path to progress in history. Topics and their accompanying forms of assessment will tackle specific second-order concepts such as cause and consequence whilst also providing a logical chronological pathway for foundations year students to follow, building up necessary pre-requisite knowledge before tackling new areas. Transition, mastery and advanced level students will have a sophisticated grasp of the nuances of the historical discipline and be equipped to take on the demands of national exams whilst developing a life-long passion for history.
- Research Based: To maximise students learning opportunities, the UHS history curriculum structure, curriculum topics and individual lessons are designed to draw upon cutting-edge subject specific pedagogy, rooting students learning in evidence informed practice; drawing upon colleagues’ experiences in historical and pedagogical research as well as the work of the wider educational community. Particular attention is paid to innovations in fields as wide as: cognitive psychology, structured historical enquiry and knowledge driven learning and the learning advantages they each offer.
- History at UHS is for all students to enjoy, as such it is designed to stimulate, challenge and support students learning in equal measure with all lessons and topics designed to provide a unique and engaging stimulus for every student regardless of their background and at a level appropriate to their current attainment.
THE CURRICULUM – A SEVEN YEAR HISTORIAL JOURNEY:
The UHS history curriculum has been designed as a seven-year journey for students which takes them from a novice to a university undergraduate standard of understanding in the historical discipline. Below is documented how the History curriculum is laid out including the sequential introduction of essential knowledge, the re-visiting of key historical concepts at ever increasing levels of sophistication and the manner in which topics from across the key stages link together enabling students to retrieve knowledge from previous terms and years to inform their current thinking.
Foundation (Year 7 and 8)
- Students engage in six structured historical enquiries per year (one per half-term).
- Each enquiry is focussed on a specific topic, i.e. the crusades, and a key historical skill specified in the national curriculum (cause and consequence, change and continuity, similarity and difference, interpretation, evidential understanding and significance).
- The order of enquiries is broadly chronological, but it is also ordered with consideration to the appropriate accumulation of domain knowledge and tier two vocabulary (i.e. government, church etc.)
- At the end of each enquiry is an assessment which will allow teachers to gauge student progress in their conceptual understanding and knowledge accumulation. Students revisit each concept every year – but at a higher level of sophistication.
- By the end of Year 8 students will have journeyed from Roman Britain to the emergence of modern Britain during the Industrial Revolution.
- Part of this will include looking at the role that the local context (London) has played in Britain’s history and its relationship with the wider world in the past. I.e. topics such as the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Migration to Britain.
Transition (Year 9)
- The Year 9 curriculum follows the same six historical enquiries structure and takes students from the Victorian Era to the end of the Cold War.
- In preparation for the challenges of Year 10 and 11, students will be pushed to extend their understanding of the six key concepts to the level demanded at GCSE.
Mastery (Year 10 and 11)
- Students are taught a two year GCSE History course from the Edexcel Exam board.
- Units of work include: Crime and Punishment through time, Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, Weimar and Nazi Germany, Superpower Relations and the Cold War.
- Throughout the course students will practice retrieving prior knowledge with interleaved revision quizzes. Their progress is monitored by using exam style assessments.
Advanced (Year 12 and 13)
- The sixth form history curriculum is designed as preparation for study at University with students exploring in depth the nature of the Historical discipline, drawing upon a broad field of previously acquired knowledge and conceptual understanding.
- Students follow the OCR History GCE course investigating topics as diverse as: Britain in the 20th century (Churchill Case Study), Germany: Democracy and Dictatorship, Britain and Ireland from the 18th to the 20th century and an independent coursework investigation.
- The Coursework element in particular is an opportunity for students to independently show case their advanced historical understanding in preparation for the standard of thinking and working demanded at University and in the world of work.
WHERE DO STUDENTS GO FROM HERE? HISTORY AND LEARNING FOR LIFE:
- There are several key mile stones along the seven-year historical journey at U.H.S.
- After five years of study, students sit their national GCSE examinations which puts their acquired knowledge and developed skill set to the test.
- For those students who elect to do so, the journey then continues into sixth form where students will sit their national A-Level examinations at the end of Year 13.
- The history curriculum is not designed simply to prepare students for examinations. However, the curriculum is intended to set students up for a variety of future possibilities:
- Continued study of history, related or other subjects at university. The rich field of historical knowledge and disciplinary skills developed over seven years is designed to set students in good stead for higher education.
- History skills are highly valued in the world of work. The analytical and critical mind-set that students develop, the ability to weigh up different arguments and to express ideas in a thorough and justified manner are ideal preparation for students’ future career aspirations.
- A love of history stays with an individual throughout their life. By the end of their journey at UHS it is hoped that students will have acquired a broad and deep level of cultural capital, which they can carry with them and build on in later life.
- As part of this broader preparation for life, students will be able to make connections in their learning between their different subjects and to enjoy a varied range of experiences outside of the classroom.
- The history department’s curriculum establishes links with the English, Government and Politics, Geography, RE and SMSC curricula. Moreover, it is also focussed on the ongoing development of students’ literacy and numeracy skills.
- Potential extra-curricular activities include field trips to Warwick Castle, London’s East End, Flanders and Auschwitz-Birkenau.