Curriculum Road Map: History
Curriculum Statement: History
Humanities comprises three key subject areas; Geography, History, and RE. At KS3 students follow bespoke curriculums for Humanities (Geography and History combined) and RE, whilst at KS4 all subjects are taught following relevant and appropriate GCSE specifications.
Humanities at KS3 has been developed using the Edexcel KS3 scheme of work for History as a foundation, with links made to the national curriculum for Geography, ensuring all elements of the national curriculum are followed. RE at KS3 uses the Bolton Agreed Syllabus as its foundation, but has been developed to reflect the key questions faced by the students of our college and their communities, as well as the wider Bolton area.
At KS4 students study Geography (AQA), History (Edexcel), and RE (AQA short course). All students currently study either Geography or History as one option, and they are popular subjects. RE is taught to all students as part of the PSCHE curriculum within the college. Students achieve well in Humanities, and through the key links between KS3 and KS4 we will continue to challenge all students to make the best progress they can, especially those who have achieved highly in previous key stages.
At KS5, students currently have the option to study Geography (AQA) as well as continuing to access RE lessons as part of their PSCHE development. Students who have opted for KS5 Humanities subjects, including Geography in the past, do incredibly well in achieving the highest grades, with subject areas scoring highly on the ALPS system for measuring progress and attainment. As a department we work with the pastoral system in the college to support our KS5 students with planning and preparing for their stages of education or work.
The Humanities department is integral in supporting the college ‘Life-skills’ process, ensuring that students are provided not just with knowledge, but also the skills that they can transfer into everyday life outside of college. We review our curriculums each year, working together as a department to share best practice, but also working with colleagues from other schools to ensure that we are providing the most supportive curriculum for our students.
Within the Humanities department, curriculum planning and development focuses on three key areas. First of all is the clear understanding of the subject content and knowledge that students should attain at the end of each key stage, and the integration of this into Schemes of Work. Secondly, we focus on the key skills that can be developed in each key stage and how these skills are transferable to the next key stage. Thirdly, as each topic is taught, we identify a ‘big question’ that allows students to apply the knowledge and skills. These ‘big questions’ run through all the key stages and allow students to link their learning to real world skills, employment opportunities, and to make them global citizens. Furthermore, by being consistent in our approach through the key stages, this allows students to develop their memory and recall skills more efficiently. For example, regardless of the new learning that may be taking place, students become more confident in identifying the correct processes or skills that they need to employ to make progress in their learning. We also recognise the importance of ‘out of school’ opportunities and how this can support the curriculums we teach. This is an area of continuous development and change, with prospective trips in the next year to the Imperial War Museum and Media City at Salford Keys, Old Trafford, Southport and Ainsdale Sand Dunes, and The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
The curriculums for the subject areas in Humanities are designed by the lead specialist teacher for the subject. Mr T. Ward (Curriculum Leader) for History and Humanities, Mr P. Locke for Geography and Humanities, and Ms C. Gill for RE. Guiding ‘road-maps’ are produced for each curriculum area that provide an overview of the sequencing of topics.
In Humanities and RE at KS3 there is an understanding that these topics are not taught consistently at KS2 due to the broad scope of learning that KS2 schools can adopt. The aim is that by the end of the first term all students have a solid foundation in both subject knowledge and key skills for these subjects. Humanities focuses on the local history and geography of Bolton, whilst RE focuses on the major world religions and their place in Bolton, as well as an ability to make comparisons and see differences.
Humanities then uses the Edexcel History KS3 framework to guide the structure of learning. As each topic has its ‘big question’ identified then the national curriculum for KS3 Geography content is used to match up linked content. For example, the study of the Elizabethan period contains a section on exploration. This is linked to the geography concept of migration. Using a recap of the Crusades and the Middle East, this region of the world is used as a case study for migration. These links are made explicit and clear to the students as learning takes place.
RE uses the Bolton Agreed Syllabus as its foundation for learning in KS3. Using the Humanities ‘road-map’ as a supporting guide, content is matched where possible to topics being taught at the same time. Students start with a broad understanding of the major world religions, and then, using Christianity, Islam and Judaism – key moral and ethical issues are understood and analysed. Furthermore, where links to the local community can be made these are included too.
The KS3 ‘road-maps’ support the progression of students to KS4 learning. Geography (AQA), History (Edexcel), and RE (AQA short-course) are the curriculums followed. Sequencing of content is planned to allow students to start with topics that allow further development of the key skills from KS3, and allow confidence to be developed in completing future assessments and examinations.
The Humanities department follows whole school policies with respect to teaching and learning, and assessment and monitoring. A typical Humanities lesson contains the 5 P’s to guide sequencing of the lesson content. This will start with a DO NOW task where students re-engage with previous learning to ensure they have the foundations for progress in the lesson ahead. Student progress and attainment is monitored every lesson through effective, structured questioning (both written and verbal), and where appropriate, written assessment. Students regularly reflect on their learning to allow them to identify personalised targets to allow them to make further progress. Humanities lessons also incorporate, where necessary, links to the school life-skills and employment/real-world opportunities.
No student in Humanities is a passenger, all students expect to be questioned every lesson. All students take full pride in their work and respond positively to both structured guidance as well as independent learning. Students are aware of the success criteria for assessments and are supported and encouraged to try and exceed their agreed targets.
Through careful analysis of assessment data, including examinations, Humanities staff are able to identify student strengths and targets with respect to both subject knowledge and examination skills. Throughout the key stages students complete regular assessments containing a mixture of question types (interleaving). For example, in a typical KS4 Geography assessment, students will complete questions that focus on data analysis, locational knowledge, essay writing and evaluative skills. In History, students will complete questions linked to source analysis, chronology, key events evaluation, and understanding of the role of key individuals. Preparation for these assessments occurs throughout the learning taking place by the students with additional foci on specific identified target subject areas and examination skills.
Humanities follows the whole school assessment policy, with regular whole class feedback to address any key misconceptions and set review targets. This will include verbal feedback in every lesson, with written feedback following on. This will also include regular feedback using the online Showbie platform where students will have opportunities to respond to and further develop their learning. Termly ‘review’ assessments, linked to the development of examination skills, as well as including content from throughout the key stage, also help support individualised target setting.
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The Humanities department, by its very nature, focuses on local communities and how events at different scales and different times impact on them. Through the life-skills programme taught within lessons, key topics and key skills are linked to real world applications. From the very start in KS3, the curriculums consolidate and then build on the learning from previous key stages. For example, in KS3 Humanities, students start by learning about the place they live, both today and in the past. In RE, students gain knowledge of world religions before focusing on the religions local to them. Furthermore, links to the science and health specialism of the college are intertwined into learning. From an analysis of the impacts of the Black Death, to the social inequalities in towns during the Industrial Revolution, concluding with an understanding of how scientific developments led to the industrialised societies of the present day.
This continues into KS4, where History contains units of work that link to the health specialism of the college, whilst in Geography, students are asked to apply scientific and engineering knowledge to provide solutions to real world issues. This is continued and developed in KS5 Geography with global perspectives enhanced and developed.
Pedagogy in Humanities allows the needs of all students to be met. Challenge is the starting part in the development of all lessons, working backwards to plan the steps that will allow all students the potential to complete the challenge.
Following the whole school teaching and learning objectives, lessons are structured using the 5 P’s with a clear Do Now task on entry to motivate the students as soon as they enter the room.
Challenge in a lesson may link to a specific examination skill that draws on a specific piece of knowledge. Through the use of short repetitive learning methods, students are able to process and store more information. Humanities staff work together to produce curriculums, schemes of work and lesson plans, with weekly meetings to review, update and improve.
Humanities follows the whole school policy on assessment and feedback. Schemes of work are designed (or adapted from linked examination board schemes) to ensure that as content is taught, students are frequently assessed to check and review understanding.
Formative assessment is applied in every lesson. From the purposeful Do Now task at the start of the lesson, through verbal feedback and learning quizzes, and concluding with a clear plenary to review learning.
Summative assessment is designed with a focus on three key areas. Firstly, has the student learnt and understood the content of the latest topic? Secondly, can the student remember content from previous topics and previous learning? Thirdly, has the student developed the skills to allow them to access all the questions and show their understanding?
Through this combination of assessments, students can be quickly identified if additional support or intervention is required. This can be through focused intervention support as well as supportive working from home tasks. Using both frequent monitoring in lessons and the termly reporting procedure, the level of success of interventions can be measured and new strategies, if required, put into place.
Humanities is taught and prepared by specialists with a genuine enthusiasm for the subjects being taught. This enthusiasm is reflected in curriculums that are designed to engage and enthuse all students, and inspire them to ask questions.
Through the use of fieldwork, educational visits and professional links, learning is taken outside beyond the classroom to further inspire students.
Through the use of the whole school feedback policy, students are able to reflect on their learning at regular intervals. This supports the progress and attainment of all students, and also allows targeted intervention to be provided if required.
Self-evaluation in Humanities is a constant and happens on a daily basis, with weekly opportunities for staff to share and review together. Every lesson that is taught is reviewed on completion and, if needed, adaptations made that further improve the potential quality of learning in that lesson in the future.
As a formal process, via weekly departmental and line manager meetings, strengths and departmental targets are identified. All targets are then evaluated with respect to potential solutions. As a department we use the experience of the staff, support from other curriculum areas, research based procedures, CPD, and feedback from the students and their learning to ensure that progress in the department is for the benefit of the overall learning experience.
As the department grows, and the number of staff involved in the delivery of the Humanities curriculums grows, then the role of self-evaluation becomes even more valuable. This will ensure consistency in the department and that all students experience the best learning experience possible. This ensures that both the staff (and students) challenge themselves at all times, knowing they have a safe and supportive environment around them.
The majority of lessons in Humanities are taught by specialist teachers in their subject of delivery. This also ensures that the curriculums and schemes of work have been designed by specialists.
When any lessons are delivered by a non-specialist then the staff are met with regularly by the curriculum leader to ensure that they have the confidence to deliver the curriculum. For example, the overall structure of the RE curriculums have been designed by the Head of Faculty (who has experience of teaching RE to GCSE) with the support of a specialist Head of RE from Golborne High School. Guidance has also been provided by the Bolton Schools Partnership in developing a scheme of work for the key stages.
Each subject area curriculum is designed using a whole school platform, starting with a ‘road map’ that plans out the sequence of learning and ensuring that all subjects meet the National Curriculum requirements. Each key topic is then planned in more detail using a schemes of work. These show a detailed structure of lesson by lesson learning, assessment and feedback procedures, as well as links to curriculum enhancement, digital learning and cross-curricular links.
Humanities is always striving to ensure that the learning environment for the students can be the most engaging and interesting it can be. Through the use of the school digital policy and research led teaching and learning strategies, students in Humanities enjoy learning and this is reflected in high levels of student engagement. To extend learning further outside the classroom we employ a ‘meanwhile/elsewhere’ philosophy, where we ask students to use their knowledge and skills to find out about similar or contrasting examples in other places and/or other times. This supports the development of subject knowledge breadth.