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Character Opportunities

The very core of the study of History is inquiry; students have to use the evidence to establish what happened and why. Curiosity is the bedrock of who we are and what we do in the History Department. More than that, though, we look at examples of how curiosity has driven human development; from the drive for exploration in the early modern period to the development of medicine throughout the ages, or the way beliefs and superstitions have bene used by people to explain the world around them.

We look at hard at social contracts in history; how the relationships between people and nations put us where we are. We use the study of the past to help students realise how lucky they are to be alive here, today; how their life is qualitatively better. We do this by looking at the development of political and religious freedoms and also improving social and work conditions throughout the last 1000 years.
History is hard. It is a demanding academic student but we encourage students of all abilities to try, to fail and to learn from their failures and do better the next time. History itself is the study of the decisions people made in the past – many of them bad such as the French Revolution or the Brixton Riots. We encourage students to learn from their own mistakes and to realise that you are only beaten if you give up.
Learning from mistakes is only the first part; our students are encouraged to believe that they can succeed. Our curriculum in constructed in such a way that from the very beginning of Year 7 students gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to tackle GCSE History. By the time they start their KS4 studies they will realise that they can do well in the subject. We also look at the importance of a positive attitude to effecting change by examining the People’s Charter and the social and political reform movements of the 19th century.
Students have to work hard in History and we have the highest possible standards for the effort and quality of work required. By meeting these standards students learn the importance of self-motivation and taking control of their own learning. We also look at those individuals who were able to effect change and the role that determination and self-control played in their successes; people such as William of Normandy, Oliver Cromwell and the Pankhursts show students the value of sticking to their core values, while groups such as the Chartists, the Trades Union Movement and the resistance to the Nazi state in Germany help the students understand the importance of working with others to achieve their goals.
History is the study of people. Students develop empathy and sympathy by having to imagine themselves and their reactions in other times but also have adopt sometimes alien world views in order to understand some historical paradigms. They may have to consider the role of religion in trials in the middle ages, or the unquestioning obedience to a king expected in the Civil War era; by doing this they also develop an understanding of the social contract; the ties that bind communities together and the importance of operating as a member of the community.
History encourages students to ask “why?”, to dig deeper and to find out more. Every answer sparks another question. Our lessons are built around core questions which are purposefully open ended, allowing students to explore issues further. We have a thriving culture of lunchtime and after school sessions where students can come and find out more or fill gaps in their knowledge; we provide out of school materials such as revision books and podcasts so students can explore as much as they like. We also, through the study of history, consider how important drive and enthusiasm is; for example, there were two invasions in 1066: one failed, one did not. The difference between the two was in the commitment of the leader of the second the one.

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GCSE Subject Specification

You can find all the information relating to this GCSE Subject on our Subject Specifications page.