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What is our curriculum and intention?

“How we got to now” is the overriding aim of the History secondary curriculum at DACA. Through a shared understanding and knowledge of our past history, we aim to give our students the ability to understand who they are and their place in the world.

We aim to inspire a love of learning and the ability to ask questions. Our History curriculum allows our students to ask and develop perceptive questions to help them understand the past and the present. In an ever-changing world, History allows our students to look to past examples, learn from them and ensure that as citizens we do not make the same mistakes that those before us may have done.

The History curriculum aims to give pupils a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It inspires students’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching equips pupils to ask enquiring questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.


What is our learning journey?

The History curriculum is a five-year learning journey, sequenced chronologically at Key Stage 3 to give students a broad overview with in-depth study of key events in British, European and world history. As well as the study of content to acquire knowledge of people, events and places in the past, from the Roman Empire to the 20th century world, students learn and develop the key skills require to be historians- explaining continuity and change, explaining significance, analysing cause and consequence, using sources to explain the past and investigating interpretations of the past. Units are sequenced to ensure that knowledge and skills build logically and to provide a strong basis for continuing study of history at Key Stage 4 and beyond. We use key word glossaries to support learning and develop knowledge and reading.

At Key Stage 4 we follow the Pearson Edexcel specification for GCSE History with 4 units: a thematic study (Medicine in Britain c1250- present with a historic environment study of the trenches of the Western Front, 1914- 1918); a period study and a British depth study (Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1943- 1991 and early Elizabethan England 1558- 1588); and a modern depth study (USA conflict at home and abroad, 1954- 1975). These units build and extend learning from Key Stage 3 while also introducing new concepts, new content and new historical periods, events and people.


History Learning Journey

Why this? Why now? Why have we sequenced our curriculum this way?

At KS3 we follow a chronological approach that gives students a journey through two thousand years of British, European and world history. It builds in historical concepts that are important in trying to understand both the past and the world we live in. These concepts include power, conflict, change, democracy, dictatorship, war, religion, migration, industrialisation, imperialism, race, gender and class. The curriculum provides students with the opportunity to ask questions, develop their thinking, challenge preconceptions, and interrogate narratives and accounts of the past.

Key Stage 4 builds on those skills, concepts, and knowledge with 4 units that provide a range of development and depth studies, taking in past societies from Medieval to modern with a strong focus on developing the skills required for success in GCSE examinations. It aims to develop students’ skills at reading, writing, oracy, and

critical thinking. Extended writing is a focus for GCSE history with students learning how to write longer, detailed essay answers explaining events and significance, proposing arguments and counter-arguments, arriving at conclusions, analysing sources, and explaining historians’ interpretations of the past.


What will you typically see in our History lessons?

Do Now activities at the start of lesson focus on recall of prior learning, checking for understanding and linking prior learning to new content about to be taught. Students aware of where this lesson/ topic sits in the unit of work/ exam specification and where future learning will take them with links to previous lessons and skills made clear to all.

New content is taught in an engaging and interesting way with a focus on detail, depth, key terms and words, historical concepts such as cause and consequence, similarity and difference, change and continuity, and significance.

Checking for understanding using cold calling, questioning, class discussion, low stakes, quizzes, written work, practice questions, application of new knowledge to big picture work. Check of learning and understanding will identify gaps and misconceptions which will be addressed on the spot in lessons via re- teach, and in planned re- teaches in subsequent lessons. Students are guided to make links between topics and units.

Live modelling and guided practice using I Do/ We Do/ You Do approach, using visualisers and/or whiteboards. Model answers are used to identify good practice and shared areas for development before pupils complete their responses independently. The scaffolding of answers, sentence stems and essay structures support our students to make progress.

Explicit teaching of historical and Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary, glossaries and definitions of key terms, etymology of words and how to use them accurately in sentences and paragraphs.


How do we assess progress in our subject?

At Key Stage 3, formative assessment is an ongoing process. Students are assessed every lesson by the Do Now which asks them to recall prior learning. Students complete fortnightly assessments and tests (from quizzes to longer essay style answers) that assess their knowledge and understanding, their retrieval of prior learning and their acquisition of skills. When gaps in student knowledge and understanding are identified, teachers use that as an opportunity to re-teach a topic or skill. Teachers check for understanding throughout lessons and Exit Tickets are used to check on understanding at the end of lessons. At the end of units of work summative assessments enable students to show what they have learned, how their understanding has developed and how their skills have further developed.

Examples of summative assessments include:

Year 7

  • Why was the Roman army so successful?

  • Why did William of Normandy win at Hastings in 1066?

  • Why was there conflict between the crown and the church in the Middle Ages?

Year 8 

  • How did Elizabeth I use portraits and paintings during her reign?

  • Was Oliver Cromwell a hero or a villain?

  • How useful are sources for an enquiry into slavery in the 18th century?

Year 9

  • Why did the First World War break out in 1914?

  • How did Hitler take power in Germany in 1933?

  • How significant were the evacuation at Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, Operation Barbarossa, and the D- Day landings of the Second World War in contributing to the Allied victory in 1945?

At Key Stage 4, formative assessment is vital is supporting students to make progress within the lesson, across units of lessons and over the two years of the GCSE course. Students are assessed fortnightly using GCSE past paper questions, building expertise over time as students are exposed to and develop their skills at answering the questions they will be asked on the final GCSE papers. Teachers make use of GCSE mark schemes and assessment criteria and students are encouraged to respond to teacher feedback and rewrite or refine answers to improve their skills. Students work towards completing full papers in all four units in the Pearson Edexcel specification.

There are eleven different question types over the four units including-

  • 4-mark questions that require students to explain key details or features
  • 4-mark questions that require students to infer from a source
  • 8-mark questions that require students to write narrative accounts analysing events and the importance of events
  • 8-mark questions that require students to explain how 2 sources can be useful as part of a historical enquiry
  • 12-mark questions that require students to explain why events happened with a focus of at least 3 different factors
  • 16-mark questions that ask students to write arguments and counter- arguments analysing two sides of an issue and arrive at a conclusion
  • 16-mark questions that require students to analyse and evaluate the views of two historians about an issue


How do we extend and enrich our curriculum?

Homework is set in class and includes the use of Seneca within both Key Stages to enhance and develop knowledge and skills. Revision for exams becomes increasingly important as students enter Key Stage 4 and learning to revise and revision techniques are covered in class and then used by students at home. Extra- curricular classes for GCSE and A Level are provided before and after school. Students are also actively encouraged to read and research and at Key Stage 3 research projects are set for homework from year 7. Additionally, in Key Stage 4, students utilise a variety of sources for homework, including knowledge organisers, timelines, flash cards, booklets, past exam papers and revision guides.

The History department has been involved in and offered many extra- curricular trips and visits including Imperial War Museum North, Quarry Bank Mill, Liverpool Maritime Museum, Holocaust Memorial Day, Remembrance Day at Darwen cemetery, as well as trips abroad including residential visits to Ypres and the Somme, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Pompeii, Krakow and Auschwitz.


How does our subject relate to further education and careers?

History can lead on to further study at A-Level and degree level in History, Classical Civilisation, Archaeology and Government and Politics. Skills learned in History are transferable and support many roles and careers including:

  • Government

  • Teaching

  •  Law

  • Human Resources

  • Journalism

  • Public services

  • Politics

  • Archaeology

  • Conservation

  • Curators and museums and galleries

  • Archivism

  • Heritage and re- enactors


If you would like more information about the History curriculum, please contact the Head of Department Mr A. Turner via email: