The study of History has never been more crucial than in the age in which we live

To understand a society and a culture it is crucial to know where we have come from and the study of History gives us this context of the modern world so that we can better understand each other and develop into global citizens who understand the great traditions of this country including the development of democracy, society and diversity.

As David McCullough famously said ‘History is who we are and why we are the way we are’. Through our scheme of learning over Key Stage 3 we have chosen to focus on topics that help our students understand why the world is the way it is. We look at the journey of this country from being a colony of the Roman Empire. The development of monarchy in the Middle Ages and then how that absolute monarchy has, starting with the Magna Carta given way to a constitutional monarchy where the people have a say in how their country is run. We also investigate how other countries such as Germany, France and Russia took a different path by removing their monarchs and the setting of fascist states or democratic republics.

Our learning in history is based around four key skill pillars:

  • Understanding the past – Through our study of History in Key Stage 3 we aim to develop an understanding of the key events that shaped the world, and our country, since the time of classical civilisations by investigating the origins of democracy, right up to events impacting our lives today such as the ever-looming threat of terrorism. Understanding these events allows us to develop an understanding of the world around us today.
  • Questioning evidence – This is an important idea to consider as history has been retold many times before, so we must be able to understand how the provenance of a source or an interpretation can impact on its perspective. Developing the skills of source analysis allows us to use information to develop our understanding as well as to question that information with which we are presented be that a Norman account of the Battle of Hastings or fake news we are bombarded with on social media.
  • Story telling – When dealing with a subject that spans the globe and dates back thousands of years an understanding of chronology is important. This allows us to develop an understanding of the sequence of events from the past be it over a short period of time such as the events of the Battle of Hastings, or the changing role and rights of women in England over the last two thousand years. It is important to understand the ‘story’ of history as it allows us to sequence events and find the links between them that allow us to make sense of our past.
  • Debating – We in the History department strongly agree with this statement as to argue effectively is to develop the capacity to communicate clearly engage with contrasting views and reach well-reasoned judgements. Through a study of History, we learn to look at why historians have different interpretations of key events and figures and look at contrasting arguments prioritising importance to different reasons before reaching well-reasoned judgements. This skill makes for an effective historian, but it also allows our students to develop the capacity to empathise with the opinions and beliefs of others and learn how to communicate their thoughts, ideas and beliefs with clarity as well as realising that it is okay to disagree with the opinions of others.
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