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Head of Humanities: Miss N. Wright

The Humanities Curriculum’s intent is to create students who leave KS3 with an understanding of how humanity interacts with the physical environment - and how that physical world is shaped and shapes humanity; humanity's interaction with the spiritual and how past events have shaped that understanding.  All this is founded on the development of the skills of being able to research and construct detailed answers to questions which do not have a right or wrong answer.  The aim is to create students who can ask questions and go and find out answers.  We aim to impart our passion for the subject to our students.

A Developing Curriculum

While some students will study RE, Geography and History to Y11 and beyond we are very conscious of the need to provide a broad knowledge of the content of the Humanities for all students in KS3 for those who won’t take on their studies because we believe that to understand the world it is essential to have a grounding in the Humanities.  In KS3 the skills of analysing and deploying content will begin.  They are reinforced and developed at KS4. While conscious not to continually repeat the content we do use similar themes to introduce ideas at KS3 and then develop them in KS4.  For example the idea of a new dynasty, coming to power through war and radically changing the social and political landscape is explored firstly as The Tudors and then revisited as The Normans.

Within the developed curriculum we are aware of the dangers of cognitive load and look to develop materials which cater for this in the form of how information is presented and have developed interleaving to ensure information is constantly being reviewed and reused. The skills of each subject are revisited on a regular basis, applying the developing skill to new contexts and information.  Likewise, the knowledge gained at GCSE level is revisited throughout the course in starter activities and through interleaved recall lessons.

Many students will go on to study ‘A’ Level History and Geography but many more see these studies as a support to move off into areas like Psychology or Archaeology or as part of a portfolio which allows them into many and varied studies.

The subject content contained within our curriculum is statutory content outlined in the Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum and builds on that to give a broader understanding of the Humanities.  For example, elements of the Pre-1066 study have been worked together with Post 1945 Challenges to present a Year 7 Course which gives a framework for British History as a whole, then allowing for deeper delving into, for example, the study of Tudor England - which covers both the Medieval and Early Modern units.  Given that one of the most difficult areas of study for students is understanding the nature of religious belief and ideas this is covered in the ‘How We Know Stuff’ course, which also encourages critical thinking as well as in other modules.

Humanities subjects are examined in non-tiered exams.  Within Geography and RE this means students will have a range of questions targeted at each ability.  In History, each question is designed to be accessible at different ability levels.  The aim of the department is to find what level students are working at and then provide support so they can reach to the next level.  This may be done through extensions tasks in lessons and through the process of giving to support to help to access higher levels in class and through ILTs.

The essence of the Humanities is to be able to construct extended and substantiated answers to complex questions and so require the ability to communicate effectively.  The analytical skills in answering these questions require problem solving skills.

Students are encouraged to develop employability skills by developing the skills of communicating in a written form that is clear, concise and to the point.  Students develop the skills of self-organisation and time management are essential for success and during the course students will be helped to develop these skills and reflect on, for example, which revision techniques work best for them.

The Humanities Curriculum has links with the following subject areas:  

  • Music - Afro-American History and the Blues
  • Science - Science v Belief; Scientific Revolution and Darwin; Recycling and Global Warming
  • Food - Animal Rights / Food Beliefs and Festivals 
  • Art - Christian Belief and the Afterlife in Art
  • CS - moral issues such as abortion and relationships
  • English  Shakespeare and MacBeth / An Inspector Calls

In KS3 students undertake a creative project which will be linked to a theme from a different curriculum area.

Our subject is Cultural Capital.  As Goethe wrote ‘He who can not draw on three thousand years is living hand to mouth.’  Cultural Capital is the ability not to be out of place in any situation.  RE explores differing religious beliefs and moral debates current to the world our student will navigate.  Geography equips students to understand human impact on a world in what is the defining issue of the epoch and History challenges all students with the idea that today is not the same as yesterday and therefore tomorrow will be different too.

We develop students’ Cultural Capital whilst studying by setting Historical projects with a strong basis in the GCSE Curriculum to encourage a deeper understanding of both topics. We have run visits abroad to Poland; Nurenmberg / Munich; Berlin and Amsterdam. We have also run visits to the Holderness Coast and Tropical World.  Future plans include a specifically cultural visit to York. With each visit the aim has been to take students away from this environment and encourage them to engage with a wider and different context; to think more deeply and to open the door to other possibilities.

Students are encouraged to engage in wider reading research and reading through the setting of student set research projects in KS3 History.

The Curriculum at Key Stage 3 aims to build knowledge of:

  • Physical Geography [Fantastic Places, Natural Hazards, Weather and Climate, Coasts, Oceans, Africa, the UK and Tectonic Hazards] 
  • Human Geography [Crime, Population, Tourism, Russia, Global Impacts]
  • Map Skills
  • The Ceremonies and structures of Belief
  • Faith and the Issues of Faith
  • Miracles and Belief
  • Christianity
  • A Broad Understanding of Human History over the last 12000 Years
  • Depth Studies into specific periods eg Tudor England, Medieval Lincolnshire, The Era of the Second World War, American in the Twentieth Century and the impact of ideas in History.

KS4 studies deepen the understanding of topics and develop the essential skills of constructing substantiated answers in the following areas: 

  • Health and the People 1000-Present Day
  • Conflict in Asia 1950-75
  • Germany 1890-1945
  • The Normans 1066-1100
  • Christianity
  • Judaism
  • Family and Relationships
  • Arguments and Revelation
  • War and Peace
  • Cold Environments
  • The Development Gap
  • Nigeria
  • Resource Management
  • Climate Change
  • Coasts
  • The Urban World
  • The Changing UK Economy
  • Ecosystems