Developing an interest in and love of the past

Head of History: Miss D Bunkell
Telephone: 01344 465059

Head of Humanities: Mr S Vegh
Telephone: 01344 465059
Email: svegh@brakenhale.co.uk

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 Edexcel exam board which includes four units across three papers. This subject is suited to students who are passionate about History, have good knowledge retention abilities and developed source analysis skills.

Paper 1- Crime and Punishment through time, 1000-present. The focus of the topic is about the nature of change in crime, punishment and policing over time, the study of each time period brings with it a great opportunity to really explore the social and political factors which have helped shape each period of history. This topic also includes a focus on a historic environment: Whitechapel, 1870–1900: crime, policing and the inner city. This study of Whitechapel highlights the problems associated with policing at this time and the developments and challenges to investigative policing. Public attitudes to policing and the problems associated with regional and national policing are also highlighted through the study of this historic environment.

Paper 2- Early Elizabethan England, 1558-1588. Threats to the security of the country from home and abroad; differing views on religion; the education of young people; attitudes towards the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society. Students will investigate matters which include religious issues, especially the Catholic threat to Elizabeth’s security, relations with Philip II of Spain, several social and economic issues, and England’s changing relations with the wider world, including the first steps towards the creation of a seaborne empire.

Paper 2- Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941-1991. Students study a period of immense recent significance in the development of our modern world. It is a story of mistrust and nervous tension, spying and treachery, tragedy and new hope, destruction and rebuilding. It is a story of crises and conflict on a global scale: from the Berlin Blockade and the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the tanks in the streets of Warsaw, Budapest and Prague, to spies, student riots and encounters in space.

Paper 3- Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1939. This modern depth study offers students a fascinating analysis of how, between the First and Second World Wars, a democratic Germany became a one-party dictatorship. During this short time span students will examine various political, economic, social and cultural aspects of this change from a democratic to a one-party state.

At Key Stage 5 we follow the AQA exam board which includes two units across two papers and a non-examined assessment module. The content of the specification is exciting and emotive which will appeal to and engage students in their studies.

Across year 12 & 13 students will study:

Depth study: The American Dream: Reality and Illusion 1945-1980
This topic focuses on the key theme of change and continuity throughout the period, including the civil rights movement, the Cold War and social and economic change.

Breadth study: The Tudors England 1485-1603
This topic focuses on the change of power and life under the different Tudor Monarchs, including Tudor exploration and religious conflict.

Historical Investigation: The Witchcraze in Europe
This is an open aspect of the course, in which students can choose the question they answer on this topic. Students are given support and guidance to allow them to complete this aspect of the course which internally assessed and externally moderated.