“History enables pupils to understand their place in the world, creating a sense of both separate and shared identity.”
Edexcel GCSE History.
Gladesmore Community School prides ourselves on delivering the breadth and ambition of the National Curriculum.
History is important because it enables pupils to understand their place in the world, creating a sense of both separate and shared identity; it encourages pupils to construct questions about how the world around them has been shaped. Through the study of History, students are able to develop their moral understanding by exploring the impact of historical events and changes on individuals and groups. The analysis of different perspectives and diverse responses to events not only contributes to an understanding of the complexity of people’s lives, but teaches us to avoid simplification and generalisation.
Historical knowledge is the foundation for students’ academic and future success; without a clear understanding of History, students will struggle to navigate the modern world or to understand their place within it. Through example, History teaches a nuanced understanding of a range of core concepts, such as democracy, empire and protest. As a discipline, it creates inquisitive and critical thinkers who are enabled to analyse different points of view before reaching a judgement. Similarly, historical writing builds student confidence by teaching students how to weight evidence, evaluate its reliability and reach informed and reasoned judgements.
Pupils join Gladesmore from around 50 feeder Primary Schools and, therefore, their experience of history at Key Stage Two is varied. Furthermore, as a school in a deprived context, some of our pupils lack cultural capital. This means that it is particularly important for us to expose pupils to a rich and varied set of historical examples to ensure that their understanding is not simplistic. Our curriculum consequently cannot assume that pupils have a foundation of historical knowledge, we thus ensure that core concepts are explained and developed in a meaningful way, building understanding over time. However, it is also important that pupils who do have a secure foundation of knowledge are able to develop their understanding in order to become sophisticated and critical historical thinkers. Our curriculum ensures this by approaching stock topics in a non-typical way, e.g. our teaching of the Tudors or our teaching of content which is not traditionally covered in primary schools, e.g. Mali.
Our curriculum is organised chronologically to ensure that pupils are able to sequence their knowledge and understanding. This helps pupils to gain a sense of the past and also allows us to explore change over time and to contrast time periods. By Year 9, pupils’ sense of time has developed so that we are able to break away from a rigid chronological time frame to explore topics over a longer period, for example, India; or to explore links between events in different parts of the world. We deliberately combine overview units with more in-depth studies so that students develop both depth and breadth in their historical understanding.
One of the strengths of our curriculum is that it acknowledges and builds on the diversity within our school community. First, we celebrate the diversity of British history by taking an inclusive approach to our study of the UK, for example, teaching explicitly about the British civil rights movement and also including diverse experiences in our more traditional units, e.g. learning about Black Tudors or exploring the contribution of empire soldiers towards fighting on the Western Front. Furthermore, we have deliberately chosen to extend our teaching and learning beyond the National Curriculum, by teaching a number of international topics to pupils, including the Mali Empire in the Medieval Period, the Aztecs and a study of decolonisation in India.
The department is passionate about the value and importance of History. We encourage as many pupils as possible to continue to study History at Key Stage 5 and beyond. However, our value is not limited to those who continue to study History. All pupils derive huge benefit from studying history because they learn that sources of information are not necessarily neutral, that it is possible to shape information into an argument and that all knowledge exists in a historical and cultural context.
- The Roman Empire
- Battle of Hastings
- Medieval Turning Points
- Mali Empire
- Elizabeth I
- The Aztecs
- English Civil War
- Industrial Change
- Transatlantic Slave Trade
- World War One
- Civil Rights Movement (USA)
- De-colonisation of India and Ghana
- Inter-war and Nazi Germany
- Civil Rights Movement (UK)
- World War Two
- Crime and Punishment
- Medicine Through Time 1250- present (including WW1 on the Western Front)
- Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060-1088
- Weimar and Nazi Germany (1918-1939)
- Superpower Relations and the Cold War (1943-91)