Developing an interest in and love of the past
The History Department at Brakenhale has developed significantly over the last few years with the introduction of new syllabi at A Level and a new more robust study at GCSE and across Key Stage 3 in line with the most up to date National Curriculum advice.
We aim, as an enthusiastic department, to inspire our students to develop new skills which have relevance to real life. We aspire to support our students to develop an interest in and love of the past so that our students will develop an appreciation for the ever changing world around them. Our GCSE and A-Level courses provide our students with a thorough understanding of political, social, cultural and religious changes through history, as well as developing investigative and independent research skills.
Studying history provides access to a wide range of career and higher education opportunities. The skills developed through studying history include evaluating and interpreting a diverse range of historical sources, articulating views about historical people and the events they were involved in, a study of causal reasoning, and change and continuity. These skills can be transferred and applied to a wide range of popular careers in journalism, law and business.
The department is well resourced with five classrooms (four in the History Department and one in the sixth form centre) all of which have a computer and projector. The department are building an extensive bank of resources that all teachers can use with classes to ensure that we share good practice. At both GCSE and A Level we make use of Google Classroom and Google Drive to share additional resources with students.
At Key Stage 3 the course focuses on key skills in History and also seeks to provide students with an awareness of the political, social, economic and cultural impact of history. Students have two lessons per week.
In Year 7 students are taught within their form groups. We concentrate on Medieval History with topics including:
- Norman Conquest and the development of Norman feudalism.
- Medieval life and the role of religion including a depth study into the Crusades.
- A study of interpretations through looking at challenges to the power of the Monarchy (including The Peasant’s Revolt and the murder of Thomas Beckett).
- The formation of the United Kingdom
In Year 8 students are placed into Humanities sets within the X and Y halves of the year. In this year we focus on the key concept of Change. Studied topics include:
- Religious changes throughout the Tudor period
- Changes within the Stuart period including the English Civil War, the rise of Cromwell and the Glorious Revolution
- The French Revolution
- The Industrial Revolution
In Year 9, students are taught in Humanities sets that are evaluated and adjusted based on previous attainment. We study:
- The Impact of the British Empire including British colonies and expansion, the slave trade and the impact of British rule in India
- World War One (including the causes, experiences of soldiers, events and local impact)
- The inter-War Years with a focus on the growth of political extremism in Russia, Italy and Germany
- The rise of Nazi Germany including the Holocaust
- World War Two
- Changes in Civil Rights including the developments of British democracy, Suffragettes, and African American Civil Rights
At Key Stage 4 we follow the WJEC exam board which includes four units each worth 25% of the overall GCSE. This subject is suited to students who are passionate about History, have good knowledge retention abilities and developed source analysis skills.
Unit 1 Depth Study — Germany in transition: 1919-47 : Students will explore the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and its consolidation of power, how it implemented policies in the 1930s that would affect the lives of Germans and finally how the Second World War impacted on Germany and its people and what factors led to its defeat in 1945.
Unit 2 Depth Study — The Elizabethan Age: 1558-1603 : Students will explore the major influences on political and social life in England during the Elizabethan Age, how the issue of religion in England became a threat to Elizabeth I and the significance of foreign and maritime affairs on England during this period.
Unit 3 Outline Study — The developments of the USA: 1929-2000 : Students will explore how life changed in America from 1929-2000, students will focus in particular on the changing nature of American foreign policy. Students will also investigate the changing attitudes towards black Americans and assess how much progress has been made by black Americans since 1929.
Unit 4 Investigation — How Britain was affected by the First World War : Students will investigate, through the analysis and evaluation of historical sources, how the lives of women were affected by the First World War and whether generals like Haig were incompetent.
Units 1-3 are assessed as final written examinations that test the students’ knowledge and understanding of the key developments and changes and their ability to answer a range of skills questions and source questions. Each examination is worth 25% of the final grade. Unit 4 is a two part internal assessment that is completed under controlled conditions; it is marked internally and moderated externally and is worth 25% of the final grade.
The OCR history specification is a reformed course based on four distinct, clearly-focused units which deliver overall progression throughout the course. The content of the specification is exciting and emotive which will appeal to and engage students in their studies.
In Year 12
- A substantial British period study and source based enquiry closely linked to the period study. The topic focus of this module is The Later Tudor Period (1547-1603) including the Mid-Tudor Crisis with a depth study based on Elizabeth’s reign.
- A non-British period of history that will include an analysis of the significance of two events. This module is focused on Italy between 1896 and 1943 including interpretation studies of Italy 1915-1925 and Fascist Italy and a study of Mussolini’s foreign policies.
In Year 13
- A thematic study of a period of at least 100 years, and three in-depth studies of events, individuals or issues that are key parts of the theme. This will also involve the evaluation of different historical interpretations of the same events, individuals or issues studied. This module will be focused on African American civil rights.
- A topic based essay of 3000-4000 words on a topic of their choice. This module gives students the freedom to conduct a piece of independent research into an area of their own choosing, simulating University style essays.