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History Key Stage 3

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum is designed to inspire and enthuse students, and to develop their historical knowledge in overview and in depth. Over the course of the key stage, we trace four themes: everyday life, money and technology; political power; protest, conflict and rights; ethnicity, religion and identity. This supports students in developing overall frameworks of historical understanding. A range of topics from different times periods and places are selected to provide in-depth studies that illuminate the overview.

Resources supporting the History curriculum in Key Stage 3 can be found on, or are linked from, the departmental pages of the Firefly site.

Year 7

• When did toilets in England really change?
• Is Simon Schama right about the Norman Conquest?
• Why were some medieval kings more successful than others?
• When did protest achieve the most?
• What can we say about the Industrial Revolution?
• Why did it take so long for women to get the vote?

Year 7 begin with an overview study of everyday life from the Stone Age to the present day, focusing on the development of public health and domestic hygiene. We introduce evidential reasoning by considering the value and limitations of different forms of source material. Students use these skills to evaluate the evidence for the impact of the Norman Conquest of 1066. This leads to a study of political power in medieval, Tudor and Stuart Britain, comparing the success of different kings and analysing the causes and success of protests during this period, including the Civil War. We return to the Industrial Revolution to consider the evidence for its impact on different socio-economic groups, and finish by linking this to the growth of political power with the extension of the suffrage to working men and to women in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Year 8

• Who has come to Britain, when and why?
• Why did Roman Britain end?
• When was the ‘Golden Age’ in Cordoba?
• How much difference did a king (or queen) make in Tudor England?
• How Victorian were the Victorians? Who should be included in the ‘Little Book of Significant Victorians’?
• Why did Britain want an Empire? Why was the slave trade abolished in the British Empire in 1807?
• Is Thomas Clarkson the ‘forgotten hero’ of the abolition movement?

Year 8 begin with an overview of migration to the British Isles from the Stone Age to the present day, making a link between this and multiculturalism in contemporary British society, and a link to their own family history. We then return to the Roman period in Britain, considering the reasons for the end of Roman Britain and the origins of Anglo-Saxon England in the light of the limited evidence available for this period. As a contrast we then study change and continuity in medieval Cordoba, looking at conflict and tolerance between different religious groups in a city which was once the largest in the world, and compare this to religious and political change in England during the Tudor period. Continuing our focus on social diversity, we study Victorian society and values, and debate the significance of individuals in the Victorian period. We then broaden out to the wider world, studying the reasons for the British Empire, particularly the development of the slave trade, and looking in depth at the abolition campaigns. Students evaluate the contributions of William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson and other individuals and groups, and the ways in which they have been remembered up to the present day.

Year 9

• How important was the role of Gandhi in ending British rule in India?
• ‘Mud, blood and young British heroes’: what was the soldier’s experience of the First World War?
• Why did a world war break out in August 1914?
• Was the morale of the British people the key to the defeat of Hitler and the Axis powers in the Second World War?
• Why is John F. Kennedy controversial?
• For what should the twentieth century be remembered?

Year 9 resume their study of the British Empire, studying its impact through an in-depth look at British India, and the reasons for its decline through a study of the role of Gandhi in ending British rule in India. Keeping a wider-world dimension in mind, we study the First World War, looking at the diversity of those who fought and died in the conflict, challenging myths and stereotypes about the trenches with reference to historians such as Gary Sheffield and Gordon Corrigan, and debating historical interpretations of its causes. Students use their knowledge to evaluate representations of the Battle of the Somme on film. We then move on to look at the Second World War, contrasting its global extent with that of the First World War and considering the importance of non-European theatres of war to evaluate the significance of different causes of the allied victory. A depth study on the presidency of John F. Kennedy and the controversies surrounding his reputation provides an opportunity to study both the internal history of the USA and international relations in the post-war era. We conclude the year with a project identifying significant changes and developments in the 20th century, including a case study on genocides including the Holocaust, and a broader look at developments in social, economic, cultural and technological fields. Students make a case at the end of the year for the significance of a particular development for which they believe the 20th century should be remembered.

A highlight of year 9 is the residential trip to the First World War battlefields around Ypres in Belgium and on the Somme in France. Students trace the names of individuals from the local area and their own families on memorials in these areas. They deepen their understanding of the human and strategic dimensions of the conflict through visits to museums, trench reconstructions, and cemeteries including a tour of the Newfoundland Memorial Park at Beaumont Hamel, site of the disastrous first day of the Battle of the Somme. This visit also complements a study unit on injuries and medical treatments on the Western Front in the First World War, which is part of the GCSE course from September 2016.