The ability to be reflective about their beliefs, religious or otherwise is a theme visited throughout KS3. For example in Year 7 and 8 there is a big focus on the role of the Church, the Reformation, the Crusades, as well as comparisons with the Islamic World at the time. Similarly in Year 9 the study of the Holocaust and comparison with Rwanda further develops this theme. In terms of students’ enjoyment of the subject, links and comparisons are continually made with modern day, to ‘hook’ the interest of the students. Upcoming work with CaptiveNorth will help with this, and the cultural experiences of our own students help develop themes to enhance lessons. Within this creativity and imagination is key. Empathy tasks figure highly in the curriculum, whether that is a soldier in World War I (Year 9) or a Roman experiencing the sights, sounds and thrills of Ancient Rome (Year 7). Within this, as mentioned due to the diversity and experience of our students, different perspectives enhance discussion and debate. For example links to the current refugee crisis and immigration have formed a strand in Year 7 Roman lessons, and will be revisited throughout, such as immigration post WW2, and a future Britain in a Box project.
History is a subject that lends itself to investigations, debates and a consideration of different viewpoints. For example in terms of moral and ethical issues, debates over the role of General Haig in World War I – Butcher or Hero of the Somme (Year 9), HIS-story or HER-story and the role of women in History (Year 8) are two such examples. The idea of right and wrong and consequences is also a theme throughout. Obvious examples are students discussing and attempting to come to a consensus on who was more to blame for the Holocaust; Hitler, the Nazi Party or the German people. The Slave Trade and Civil Rights movement follow similar themes. Wider links are highlighted through promoted events such as Peace Day, World Refugee Week and Black History Month.
Social development is a focus both in terms of classwork, but also thematically in the curriculum. Topic wise exploration of the Roman Republic and its virtues, changes to democracy and the monarchy in the UK, as well as changes socially in Britain such as the role of women and immigration are explored. Questions and debates encourage the scenario of ‘what would you do’ in the situation relating to various events throughout History, encouraging students to co-operate and resolve conflict. Britain in a Box project work in Year 9 will also help students to explore British values, their role in Britain and the impacts of multiculturalism and how it has helped to enhance the country.
Topics lend themselves to development in this area. An appreciation of the influences that have shaped the students’ own cultural heritage is focused on ranging from links to the two World Wars and the key changes brought about by these events. Examples include a debate about the ‘Blitz spirit’ that can engage students in the nature of Britishness and the setting up of the NHS and its differences from other nations is also explored. Further links in this area can look at migration, which can be tracked from the earliest topics of the Romans and Normans to modern day. Diversity is also celebrated through various thematic focuses such as theme days, weeks and events as mentioned earlier. A focus on significant individuals or places in Britain encourages students to reflect on their own cultural assumptions and values. Through marking each other’s work and delivering presentations and debates, students also are introduced to concepts, values and events they would never otherwise have encountered.
Work within the subject allows them to express their opinions and communicate their knowledge in varied ways, including artistic forms and the design of castles, Roman Shields, portrait propaganda and WW1 Recruitment to name a few. Written work such as WW1 and poetry and Slave Diaries help develop empathy, whilst in a sporting level, links are also made such as football in the trenches, to enthuse and educate. Developments in religion and its impacts such as the Church and Islam are also developed throughout KS3, further enhancing students cultural development.