The Key Stage 3 History Curriculum is designed to give students a firm understanding of the social, political and economic development of the United Kingdom set within a wider, global context. It is imbued with the idea that students can see the relevance of their studies to the world in which they live today and recognise the significance of events in relation to the social, political and technological development of England. Additionally they will develop their ability to interpret usefulness, significance and effect as we progress.
The curricula’s substantive content centres around a chronological overview of British History from the start of modern Britain (the Saxon era) through to the end of the 20th Century. Reference is made in brief to other, earlier, societies such as the Roman Empire, when introducing students to the historical skills of interpretation, primary and secondary source analysis and critical thinking. These skills will be further developed as we move through Key Stage 3 in its entirety.
The limited reference to earlier empires allows students to reflect on the development of society across a greater time span than would otherwise be possible. Particularly as cross cultural links with the Roman Empire, in particular the influence of the church, developments to the geographical landscape and specific ideas such as currency as a tool still feature in Britain today. Due to the desire to encourage relatability the chronology largely begins with Anglo Saxon England facilitating a consideration of England’s relationship with religion. This spans from the early pagan traditions of the 5th Century, developing into the subsequent conversion to Christianity, influence of the arrival of the Normans, and the church’s role in later stages of society. Students explore how the power of the church, and its influence in justice and morality, culminating in Tudor England, where following the Reformation it became a growing source of conflict, before declining in influence with the arrival of a more substantial legal system in the industrial era thus lessening its role in justice and emerging as a spiritual endeavour. The saxon era also alludes to knowledge such as the unification of England, establishment of a border with Wales and early forms of localised control. The Key Stage goes on to explore the rapid development of society up until the year 2000, evaluating the machinery of religion, justice, societal control, government and international relationships. There is also a consideration of the impact of developments in technology, urbanisation and social policy, to accommodate an increasingly industrial world. With the rapid acceleration of such policies as a result of specific events and conflicts studied during the period.
The decision to largely exclude societies from pre circa 500AD is due to the fact that Pre Saxon Britain was at times not considered an individual nation state, had a limited societal structure due to empire influences, had additional diversity in terms of language and culture, and many features are no longer in existence.
One of the key areas of understanding we seek to develop is the consideration of pivotal political changes and the development of systems of governance. The study of ‘Medieval Monarchs’ in Year 7 demonstrates to students the extent of influence the character of the Monarch has on effective governance, beginning with an overview of the Norman invasion and the events that preceded it. The Study also explores issues such as the role of women (by considering Empress Matilda’s unsuccessful reign) and emergence of the United Kingdom through the annexation of Wales and conflict with Scotland. In order to consider how, whilst governance was largely reactive, early attempts at reform, such as Henry II’s primitive legal system and the development of the Magna Carta did provide long term development. This unit is followed by a wider study of the structure of agrarian society and how it functioned effectively, allowing later for comparison with urbanised Britain. The assessment focus of this unit encourages students to draw comparisons between monarchical styles reaching substantive conclusions around the most effective.
We conclude this year with the Tudors, considering the conflict generated by religion and increasing centralised control, which was largely reactive as opposed to developmental. Explored through the European origins of the reformation, challenges to the Catholic Church and the Protestant influence arriving in England. This created a religion division that would be at the centre of conflict, and social policy in the subsequent centuries.
Year 8 begins with a study of the English Civil war, bolstered by clear links to Daventry’s role, with the local area as a Royalist stronghold, and the proximity of two key battle sites at Naseby and Edge Hill. This is designed to develop cohesive links between previous schema, drawing attention to multiple interlinking causes and their effect; an example being the growing power struggles between Monarch and Parliament, religious dispute and a modernising society all contributing to a conflict that would change the governmental structure of England. With future topics based upon societies that are government led, the need to explain this change is pertinent.
The course then addresses Britain’s rapid industrialisation and the changes this brought to society, Britain’s role in the global world, and methods of state control. We begin here, to introduce social policy as a machine for solving issues presented by the emerging society, such as the development of formal policing, currency as a tool, the installation of sanitation, and increasing complexity that went into urban design. The impact this had on religion, the power of both Monarch and government and social attitudes is recognised.
Subsequent topics are increasingly complex in terms of causality, and go into greater depth within shorter periods, as opposed to generic overviews of societies through time. For instance WW1 takes into account the effects of the actions of a number of nation states when considering the causes of the conflict, introducing students to the complexity and outcome of international relations. Students are encouraged to critically consider the way in which war has significance on rapid advancement in social policy, technology and political systems, as opposed to being viewed as an event in isolation. Further exploration around ethical issues such as conscription, desertion, censorship etc. all encourage students to explore their own viewpoint, developing understanding that perspectives are nuanced.
This Unit on Black people: Slavery to Civil Rights provides a necessary deviation from the chronology of British history and is centred on the development of civil rights in the USA. Considering how change was achieved through the media, forms of protest, challenging and evolving public perceptions and use of the legal system. Yet also drawing reference to the rapid social change that occurred as a result of the American Civil war, and the wider reasons behind this. The schema built around evaluating significance is directly transferable to many issues that will be covered later within British history such as the conscientious objectors in WW1, troubles in Northern Ireland and industrial action of the 20th Century, in which the need to evaluate and interpret the perceptions of different groups, before drawing their own substantive conclusions. The evaluations required within this unit are generally simpler and more accessible supported by a more ‘assumed’ line of reasoning around the ethics and motivations of the people involved. Thus providing a clear and engaging platform to introduce ideas of interpretation, methods of change and evolving social policy within a modern society.
This pattern of considering cause and consequences is continued when looking at events that had significance during the 20th century, to enhance the ability to think about wider potential impact, and develop the schema of considering events as part of a broader pattern of social change, as social policy is rarely mapped out on a blank canvas. As an example this is done through a study of the different agendas of various 20th Century elected British governments to build a picture of Britain’s most recent social and political history. Enhancing the students cultural capital, with an embedded exploration of music, fashion, and technological development through the period but with an emphasis on exploring events of relevance, themes of bringing about change, for example the role of protest, global recession, and government decision making within the broader picture.
Students as they progress into year 9 are introduced to the economic and political position of Britain in the global world through the study of: pre- and post-industrialised societies; global trade as a source of both conflict and affluence; and how societies different from ours are functional within the context of the society they serve. Examples of this can be seen when reference is made to the role of British global influence through time and Britain’s long term place on the global stage as a result of her empire building. Exploring the wider ethical and political context the Empire operated within, its emergence and decline, and long term legacy on the world. With particular emphasis on the influence of the Empire on the formation / development of many other societies and the broader question of how societies interact with each other and why.
The next two units begin to explore ‘societies in transition’, considering both Ireland and Russia, both of whom have direct relevance to the history of Britain. The initial study of the long history of Ireland explores how history from the 12th century still had potential to cause conflict into the late 20th century. Linking this to the reformation, religious conflict, and the debates within empire which students have already studied. Whilst building the schema of considering empathetically the viewpoint of both sides of the conflict and different stages and the suitability of the subsequent resolution. We continuing on to consider the Russian revolution, which returns back to the end of the First World War. This demonstrates an alternative to reconstruction after the same event, but follows on from the formative year 8 unit on 20th Century Britain to allow students to engage with familiarity about how Britain’s reconstruction differed from that in Russia. Considering how this difference leads to further conflict within the cold war years, how methods of control in a dictatorship differ from those in a democracy in order to introduce an alternative form of governance. Students also explore the extent to which communism was a success drawing on prior learning around these ideologies as a source of conflict, as studied through the lens of the cold war.
Students go on to explore Germany from 1918 – 1945, offering an additional comparison to Britain and Russia with an emphasis on considering modern systems of governance. Focus is given here to the way in which Hitler managed to turn Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship (with references to safeguards within the British Monarchy which prevent this from occurring in Britain). Students are increasingly encouraged to develop their critical thinking skills when analysing, overt and covert propaganda projected via the media. To equip them with the core skills to ensure they apply these in a modern context in the interests of protecting our British values. Key events such as the Wall St Crash, and the impact of financial recession on the world, and the way in which political ideology may become more extreme in times of hardships are also considered due to their modern relevance. Before proceeding on to look at life for key groups in Nazi German society, methods of state control and attempts at resisting the Nazi Regime. Final consideration is then given to the long history of Anti-Semitism, both in Germany and the wider world and how this manifested itself into isolationist policies resulting in the Holocaust.
The curriculum’s intention is also to encourage the disciplinary skills of evaluation, critical thinking and interpretation. In the early part of the curriculum, this involves engaging with ethical debates around acceptability, explored in units such as Black Peoples of the Americas, which understandably elicits a strong and predictable response. These judgement and interpretation skills are challenged more rigorously within consideration of the Irish Question. Students are asked to critically reflect on, and evaluate, the ethics and significance of many issues and events. Facilitated through critical analysis of a range of sources, with increasing levels of complexity. For instance early Year 7 sources consist mainly of drawing information from images or text, with the skill of interpretation and exploring bias and significance developing through Years 8 & 9, as we consider the role of propaganda, the motivation of the creator of the source and its intention. Allowing students to develop a critical approach to the use of historical sources.
In order to do this, students are increasingly encouraged to draw comparisons between societies, time periods and topical knowledge in order to recognise the wider significance of many events, scenarios and societies in both the UK and beyond. With content in the latter half of KS3 all having broad links to the wider global community, with students being encouraged to make connections between topics and concepts.
Disciplinary skills of critical engagement with sources are increasingly built up through practice and application, thus the topics and material deliberately become progressively more complex. With many of the early KS3 concepts having a more established line of reasoning, and with many in the later units requiring students to draw conclusions around issues to which there remains widespread debate among historians as to importance, impact and significance. With the overall aim of students being able to recognise how modern society has formed through time.
|Introduction to the early history of Britain||Exploring the social development of societies over time||Britain as part of the global community|
|1||Introduction to the history of Britain|
What skills do we need to be successful as a Secondary School Historian?
|Britain’s Early social reform||Britain within the global context|
|2||What was the Anglo Saxon life in Britain like between c.400AD-1100AD?||Was the English Civil war fought in an attempt to remove the Monarchy in England?|
What was the impact of industrialisation on the social, political and economic landscape of England?
|How did Britain’s global influence shape the modern geo-political landscape of the world?
What factors led to the division of the island of Ireland into two states with two distinct national identities?
|3||Life and control in Early Britain (Medieval England)||Exploring Events and catalysts that cause societal change||Deepening understanding of foreign societies|
|4||What factors led to a medieval monarch being able to rule effectively?|
What was it like to live in medieval England?
|How did the social & political status of Black Americans evolve between 1700 – 1968?|
What were the causes and immediate consequences as a result of War in Europe in 1914?
|What factors led to the reinvention of Russia’s national identity in 1917
How did Germany react to the political, economic, social and cultural challenges it faced between 1918 and 1929?
|5||Changing forms of Power / Control|
What legacy did the Tudor Dynasty actually leave on England?
|Britain’s later social change (20th Century) |
How did WW1 have a lasting impact on the social, political and technological landscape of Europe?
|Deepening knowledge – An international depth study
How did Hitler and the Nazi party manage to secure and maintain of Germany (1933 – 1939)?
|6||What do English castles tell us about the rise and decline of English castles on evolving forms of conflict and resolution?||To what extent did Britain undergo a social revolution between the start and the end of the 20th Century?||How did an obscure political party in 1921, with limited membership, become the most powerful political force in Germany by 1933?|