St Ursula’s School

History Curriculum Intent

History is a window to the world.  The History curriculum at St Ursula’s is designed by subject experts to provide a comprehensive and rigorous intellectual journey building students’ cultural capital and their curiosity about the world.  It builds an awareness of the world beyond the students’ frame of reference, providing an understanding new viewpoints and cultural contexts.  We believe that an examination of other cultures and timeframes helps children to fully understand our own country’s history and the present by setting it in context.

Through the topics studied students will be given key opportunities to build their understanding and skills.  These include:

  • Understanding historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use these to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses.
  • Understanding the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discerning how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed.
  • To formulate historical perspectives by placing their knowledge into different contexts in order to understand the connections between local, regional, national and international history.

Our aim is to encourage student interest in History by teaching a wide ranging curriculum with many opportunities for students to both develop and express opinions.   The curriculum provides students of differing ability, need and talent access to an appropriately broad and rich body of knowledge and skills.  Our History curriculum is designed to be appropriately ambitious for all our students, from the highest attaining to those who require special consideration, whether that be SEND or a disadvantaged context.

As subject experts we recognise the contribution that History makes to developing students’ literacy.  We promote disciplinary literacy so that students can read and speak as a History expert would.  Schemes of learning set out tier 3 subject vocabulary which is developed through students’ reading of academic text.

Key Stage 3

At St Ursula’s, students study History chronologically beginning in Year 7 with the concept of History and the history of Greenwich itself. This progresses to in depth studies of the Roman and Medieval world, including a comparison study of the Islamic Golden Age. In Year 8, students study political, social and economic aspects of British history from 1509-1745, including religious turmoil, the beginnings of democracy, and the impact of the Age of Enlightenment. The comparison study in Year 8 focuses on Mughal India and the development of the British Raj.

In the final year of KS3, students conduct a detailed enquiry about the history of precolonial African civilisations, and then the impact of colonialisation, including enslavement and the subsequent struggle for civil rights. The focus then turns to changes in politics and society within the UK. This includes the Industrial Revolution, demands for the reform of Parliament, the Suffragette movement, and working conditions in Victorian Britain.  Finally students study the causes, events and impact of WWI and WWII.

Links to curriculum maps:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Field Trips and Enrichment

The department reinforces learning through day and residential trips.  As a department, we believe that history is a hands on subject; we love teaching in class but we help our students make progress by offering a variety of activities that makes them get out and really engage with the past.  Being based in London we have a rich variety of experiences available to us.  At Key Stage 3 we use a range of museums to support learning for example The Army Museum and The Imperial War Museum.  We also take students further afield, to Dover Castle.  In addition to the trips we run a weekly History club and a number of competitions throughout the academic year.  Our aim is to produce independent, inquisitive historians who go on to develop a lifelong love of the subject.

Links to useful sites for KS3 students, parents and members of the public

BBC Bitesize