Download our FREE smartphone app today!
The History department intends to deliver a diverse, deep and challenging curriculum that enables all students to understand the past by developing their historical skills. Historical thinking combines substantive knowledge and conceptual understanding and renders the past something that can be investigated and understood. The history curriculum will empower students to question, investigate and explore the complex world that they are apart of.
Students will study a broad range of historical topics designed to get pupils to ask questions about the past to drive forward learning through an enquiry-based approach. This approach will enrich the cultural capital of our students by assisting them in becoming “educated citizens” who are familiar with the key historic events which have not only shaped Britain, but Europe and the world too.
The curriculum delivered by the History Department at Harris Academy Beckenham has been designed in such a way as to reflect the school’s local context. With a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicity’s and cultures our curriculum contains elements ranging from the great Islamic Civilisations in the Middle East to the Quest of Civil Rights within the United Kingdom as well as the key events that have shaped 20th Century Europe.
The History Department at Harris Academy Beckenham takes a chronological approach to teaching history at both Key Stage 3 and 4. This approach allows us to take students on a journey and exploration of the past, with us the class teacher, as their guide.
By guiding students, we can give them clear autonomy of their learning and facilitate a love for learning. Taking a chronological approach allows our students to make direct comparisons themselves and identify where continuity and changes are occurring throughout the past, whilst refining their skills as young historians. A further benefit of this methods of journeying through History this way, is that we are able to close the gaps that our disadvantaged students have. It is crucial to their future that they have a confident and secure grasp of history to make them a well rounded and educated citizen who is familiar with not only British history, but the histories of people around the world and an appreciation of the diverse and complex world that they are apart of.
As a Federation, we have a resourceful and expert history strand which meets every half term to receive professional learning, share best practice and develop further opportunities to aid our students’ progress towards excellence in History.
At Key Stage 3, the History department delivers five topics across each year group covering over 1000 years of history that tries to cover the major periods of change or development, as well as a range of political, economic, social and religious history. This happens in one 80-minute lesson that happens each week that allows teachers to delve deeper into knowledge and understanding as well as mastering key historical concepts that are crucial. As part of each lesson students will be addressing a key enquiry question tailored towards the key aspects that we as practitioners believe are crucial parts in the development of history. By implementing an enquiry-based approach to history it allows students to think about the bigger picture and see where what they are learning fits into the “Bigger Picture”. Students are assessed formally twice in the academic year. Once in July and again in June. To reduce the high stakes element of assessments students will also produce 2 internal essays and complete two factual recall quizzes that will contribute to their assessed grades at the data drops.
At Key Stage 4, students are taught for two 80-minute lessons a week and follow the Edexcel 9-1 History Curriculum. Students study Crime and Punishment with Whitechapel, Early Elizabethan England, The Cold War and Weimar and Nazi Germany. The two 80-minute lessons allow students to embed key knowledge and skills that are required in order to achieve in this rigorous history curriculum. Students are taught in a variety of engaging ways in order to develop the key concepts and skills necessary. Do deliver the curriculum, the history department has chosen to adopt a chronological approach to the GCSE modules that are taught so that teaching take students on a journey through time. After each data drop, planning is reviewed to ensure that any gaps in knowledge or skills that need to be practised are revised as part of revision or “mop-up sessions”. This can be bespoke to each GCSE class taught.
In all lessons taught within the history department there are key aspects that are present. There is a clear focus on knowledge retention, though the use of “Nothing New, Just Review”, where students are presented with questions from last lesson, last month and last term. This will help to embed the key knowledge that they need in their long-term memory. Elements of mastery are deeply imbedded within the curriculum so that students practise second order concepts and work with the knowledge they are gaining to become masters of history. By presenting students with the “Bigger Picture” they can see why they are learning this particular topic and how it links to their wider study of history and the modern world so that they are not learning disjointed facts.
To monitor the quality of teaching by history teachers learning walks, book scrutinises and observations are conducted to ensure that students at Harris Academy Beckenham are taught to the highest possible standard and that teachers are held accountable for the learning of their classes. This is conducted by the Coordinator of Humanities, Assistant Principle for Global Communications and Most Able Lead. Feedback is then given to teachers and any necessary support can be put into place.
Students will be able to speak with confidence about the significant events from the past and explain how they have impacted our society today. Students will be able to interrogate historical information and sources and be able to explain this verbally and through written responses. All students will be able to reach their own conclusions about the historical events from the past and justify their reasoning behind this.