Subject Overview

History at Waddesdon aims to prepare students for success in today’s world of work by:

  • developing their ability to think creatively, logically and critically
  • developing their ability to read for pleasure and for information
  • developing their ability to read quickly, effectively and with purpose by utilising the skills of close reading, skim reading and scanning
  • analysing and critically evaluating a range of information
  • communicating their ideas clearly through speaking and writing.

History aims to encourage students to be active, morally responsible citizens, able to play a full and effective role in their communities, by developing students’ emotional intelligence and attempting to engage them in the moral dilemmas of the past. History looks to encourage its students to form a personal and moral opinion about the world in which they live.

After studying their History course, students should have a general knowledge of the key events that have shaped the world at local, national and international level. This should help give students a shared cultural understanding that will help them take their place in our society.

Miss Helen Drought

Subject Leader for History

Mrs Rachel Branton

History Teacher

Miss Ellen Hoe

History Teacher

Ms Annalies McIver

History Teacher

Across all the key stages the department encourages students to question authorities, challenge identity and appreciate democratic principles in order to contribute in a meaningful way as citizens.

At the core of the teaching of history is inclusivity and as such, all students are challenged by becoming voices alongside historians; they will evaluate primary evidence as well as the validity of interpretations. Students will be taught to to read critically and to be sceptical of information. By doing so, all students are encouraged to be a part of the academic community and enfranchised in their own learning. The content of the KS3 curriculum fully supports this core moral purpose and is intended to support student understanding of British identity and place in the world, as well as significant global turning points such as the French Revolution, the collapse of democracy in Germany, race relations in the USA and the history of terrorism, all of which engage with the struggle for democracy. In KS3 we hope students will be making connections between things that happened in the past and things that have happened more recently. This includes looking at Europe’s place in the wider world.

By the end of Year 8, we believe that every student should be able to think deeply about historical ideas, pursue enquiry questions and respond to these with increasing independence. We hope for History to develop students’ literacy as well as an understanding of their Local history.

At KS4, we continue to develop student depth of thinking from KS3. Students are regularly challenged through depth of questioning on difficult subjects where humans have failed to make the right decision, or catastrophic events in the human past. In lessons, students work together to problem solve, become experts, and share knowledge. Assessment is always focused on the exam. However, these questions give students the opportunity to evaluate sources for their usefulness to historians in studying a time period or aspect of history and students engage with historical debate surrounding the topic studied. This means students have a voice alongside published and academic historians and begin to be critical of the sources of authority around them. Developing upon their skills at KS3, judgments will be more mature and acknowledge the complexity of human action and inaction, and students will understand their own role in contributing to, and the construction of, the historical debate.

In KS5, students are expected to use the skills gained at KS3 and honed at KS4 to work increasingly independently, with teachers as facilitators and mediators. Students are given support for structuring notes but are actively encouraged to read widely. There is a bank of tailored resources in the school library and in C19 to encourage wider reading and engagement with debate. At this stage, students will more readily understand the nature of historiography and that history is not a fixed entity but is made up of a multitude of interpretations and voices. By understanding this, students will grasp their own and each person’s importance even more profoundly in the construction of written history and our interpretation of it in light of our present context and provenance. Students will be able to argue, defend, support and confidently put forward their interpretationsand arguments of the past and understand how their own personal context influences their understanding. By doing so, students are able to assess the merits and value of other historians and be critical about the world around them. Ultimately, they will contribute in a meaningful way as citizens, fully understanding their importance and self-worth and in doing so, gaining a deep understanding of the importance and worth of all those around them.

Year 7 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 7

  • An introduction to the historical concepts
  • The Norman Conquest
  • Medieval Life and Society
  • The Wider Medieval World
  • Life in Tudor England
  • The Impact of the Tudors
  • People, Parliament and Civil War
  • Causes of the French Revolution

Year 8 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 8:

  • The Industrial Revolution and its impact on peoples’ lives.
  • Global Empires
  • The Transatlantic Slave Trade and resistance of enslaved people.
  • Interpretations of the British Empire
  • World War 1 – causes and consequences
  • World War 2 – causes and consequences
  • The Development of American civil rights

GCSE Overview

Many students choose to continue studying History at GCSE. They follow the AQA syllabus 8145. This covers a range of time periods and aspects of history:

Paper 1

  • Section A: Germany, 1890-1945: Democracy and Dictatorship
  • Section B: Conflict and Tension between East and West, 1945-1972

Paper 2

  • Section A: Britain: Migration, Empires and the People: c.790 to present day
  • Section B:  Elizabethan England, c.1568-16

A-Level Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Years 12 and 13:

History at A Level is a popular option. Students study a combination of Early Modern and Modern History. The AQA syllabus requires the students to study the following units:

  • Unit 1: The Tudors: England, 1485-1603 (1C)
  • Unit 2: The Cold War, c.1945-1990 (2R)
  • NEA:   The Development of Antisemitism 1848-1945

The History department run a series of trips including:

  • Year 7 – Warwick Castle
  • Year 8 – Bletchley Park
  • GCSE – 4-day trip to Berlin

Additionally, there are opportunities within school, including a visit by a Holocaust survivor and talks from universities.

There are in-built opportunities for stretch and challenge within lessons, including challenging debates.

Additionally, the History department provide opportunities to enter essay writing competitions such as those run by the Historical Association.

The History department also provide reading, film and documentary lists which link to relevant subject areas for students to extend their contextual knowledge.