The History curriculum at CCGS has been designed to ensure that students have the opportunity to learn key subject substantive and disciplinary knowledge as well as learning how the academic discipline can support and develop broader learning skills.
‘Substantive’ and topic knowledge
In Year 7 students start by investigating the Medieval period in England (and Britain) by looking at key features of life and conditions before moving on to discuss concepts of ‘power’ and ‘rulers and ruled’ in the period. Once this broader chronological overview has been completed the students focus on a topic in depth: King John. The students finish the year by examining the transition of England and Britain from the Medieval to the Early modern period by examining the Reformation in England.
The Year 8 curriculum continues the chronological progression by investigating how the world expanded under Tudor and Stuart England bringing about the opportunity for students to investigate the wider European and global position of England and Britain. The next investigation focusses on the abolition of the slave trade continuing the chronological progression and the more ‘interconnected’ position of England and Britain from the 16th to 19th century. Students in Year 8 are also expected to investigate History in breath and ‘by theme’ and this is achieved by an investigation focussing on ‘Political Revolutions across time’. The final part of the Year 8 curriculum returns the focus to Britain and looks at the period 1688-c1850 where political developments and social shifts are discussed.
The Key Stage Three curriculum is completed in Year 9 with a focus on the Twentieth Century. Students examine the ‘build up’ to, and experiences of, the First World War before doing the same for the Second World War. Once the investigation of the causes and experience of the Second World War is completed then a depth investigation of the Holocaust is undertaken. The course finishes by, once again, looking at global history ‘in breadth’ by investigating the History of China from the decline of the Qing to the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War.
The GCSE curriculum follows the AQA History course. In Year 10 the students complete the ‘modern’ element of the GCSE course (building on the content knowledge accrued in Year 9): Germany 1890-1945 and the Cold War 1945-72. In Year 11 the students move on to complete the British element of the GCSE course initially by looking at the breath study discussing how and why protest against authority occurred c1170-2000 before finishing with the depth investigation looking at Norman England 1066-c1100.
The A-Level curriculum (EDEXCEL exam board) starts by focussing on the 20th Century: the ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ study of Germany from 1918-89 investigating the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany and the FRG and the origins and features of Mussolini’s dictatorship in Italy c1911-1946. The A-Level course ends with the students investigating the political, economic and social position of Britain in the years c1780-1928 with ‘depth’ investigations on political protest and activism across the period i.e. Pre Napoleonic War era ‘radical reformers’, Chartism, campaigns against the Contagious Diseases Act, ‘Votes for Women’ and the General Strike as well as looking at the ‘breath’ question of how and why more people gained the right to vote in the period. During Year 13 students are also expected to produce a piece of individual coursework which can be on any topic of their choice whereby they are expected to draw on a range of acquired skills in terms of disciplinary and subject knowledge as well as demonstrating organisational and procedural skills.
Whilst the substantive and topic knowledge ‘drives’ and underpins the History curriculum, it is also important that students are taught, and have the opportunity to revisit and refine their understanding of, the ‘disciplinary’ knowledge of the subject. Throughout their journey through the curriculum students will be exposed to a range of ways in which history (and historical claims and arguments) are constructed (e.g. causes and consequences, similarities and differences, change and continuity) as well as being exposed to the methodology of how historians investigate the past (e.g. the use of ‘sources’ and ‘evidence’ and the concept of differing interpretations).
The curriculum is designed to enable the students to develop a sound chronological framework of key events as well as having the opportunity to learn about fundamental subject specific events and broader concepts. Furthermore, students will be expected to construct historical claims using a range of disciplinary concepts as well as learning about how historians investigate the past. The curriculum will also develop and support the ‘broader’ academic development of the students e.g. developing reading, writing and debating skills. Finally, the curriculum is designed to ensure that students are able to progress in terms of their understanding of chronological, substantive and disciplinary knowledge with prior knowledge being a critical component in building this understanding.