We live in important historical times. Changes in politics, culture, migration and the physical environment are the product of powerful beliefs, habits and traditions, some of them recent, others developing over centuries. To make sense of this world, we need to understand its context. History can help provide that context.
At Saint Thomas More Language College history department, we encourage our students to consider history from a range of perspectives, so that an understanding of the traditional approach focussing on kings and conquests is complemented by examination of how ordinary women and men from a range of backgrounds lived and responded to change.
Students are encouraged to research, investigate and examine pictures, documents and archive footage to develop their critical thinking and build their own historical understanding. They are encouraged to consider the many causes and effects that shape historical events and compare and contrast them with their experiences today.
The course for Year 7 is guided by the National Curriculum with students also being encouraged to consider the world beyond the curriculum’s parameters. We take a chronological approach, starting beyond Britain with ancient peoples in central Africa, where first modern people developed, before considering how and why technologies and cultures spread. Students then study the many peoples that came to Britain, from the Neolithic builders of stone circles to Romans, Vikings and Normans.
The History department places a particular focus on daily life and the many experiences of different people and groups in the Middle Ages, encouraging students to investigate the differing experiences of rich and poor, men and women, clergy and laity in the medieval feudal system and how they lived through times of peace and war.
Through a study of fashion, sport, food and music, war and farming, students examine the continuities and changes in the lives of people. This approach is designed to make the past more accessible to KS3 students.
We continue this approach in Year 8 with our study of the Early Modern Period or ‘Renaissance’, looking at the many changes to politics, religious belief and daily life that affected people in this era. Again, there is an emphasis on studying primary sources and developing critical thinking and analytical skills, while focusing on a range of aspects of life, from sport and fashion to technology and religion, that changed so profoundly in this period.
In year 8, we also introduce students to perspectives on empire, colonialism and the slavery which shaped lives for Black Africans and indigenous peoples in this period. We consider how this new age led to discoveries and different approaches to science, art, literature and theatre, while old religious beliefs and customs were challenged.
Year 9 students study the industrial revolution and the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, looking at the causes and effects of the profound changes of this age, from the inventions that transformed everyday life to the political revolutions in which women won the right to vote and own property and Black people mobilised against racial segregation and discrimination. In year 9, students are increasingly encouraged to examine politics and ideology, using archive footage, visual and written sources to understand the dangerous ideologies of that caused such destruction in the Twentieth century.
For Years 7, 8 and 9, there is an end of year written exam which is built on the tasks they have practised throughout the year. These exams are designed and scaffolded to effectively prepare students for the challenges of GCSE.
KS3 programme of study
KS4 - GCSE option subject
In GCSE history, we begin at year 10 with a study the events of the Twentieth Century in detail. We identify causes and effects of significant periods, from the World Wars through to the four major crisis of the Cold War. Students will have a depth study in which they try to understand Germany from the Weimar Republic to Nazi Germany before and during the Second World War. The tasks students engage in in year 10 are preparation for the first of the three GCSE examinations in year 11.
In Year 11, we look at alternative versions of history, examining the role of Jewish and Flemish communities of the Middle ages, the experiences of Black people, Irish Catholics, British Asians and other migrant communities in Britain in an exciting and cutting-edge aspect of British history.
Year 11s examine and evaluate the rise and fall of the British Empire and its impact on the culture, economics and politics of people in Britain and around the world. We examine the historical landscape and how it changes over time, with a depth study on a key historic environment, Spitalfields in London.
Extra curricular activity
Located in Chelsea in the heart of London, we are fortunate to be able to take our students to visit many impressive historical sites. We organise visits to a range of London Museums. We provide students with investigative field-work challenges to go out and independently explore the history and archaeology of this truly incredible city.
Pursuing this course, students should gain a love of history and an appreciation of their wider world. History is in the shape of the streets we walk on, in the soot on our city’s walls and in the stories that we tell one another. History is all around us.
For further information about History qualifications please contact Ms H Thorne.
If you are looking at different revision resources, you will need to remember that we are studying OCR GCSE History A Explaining the Modern World (J410).
BBC Bitesize – revision pages and quizzes (does not cover all of the course but useful for Germany and Migration)
Click on: https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/examspecs/zqkrbk7
Quizlets – revise keywords using online flashcards / quizzes / games etc. Divided into topics. Great for learning and improving your vocabulary. Remember you don’t study all of these topics so check them against your revision list carefully.
Click on: https://quizlet.com/subject/gcse-history-OCR-modern-world/
Tiny cards- you can either download the app or use the following desktop version to make electronic flashcards, then test yourself using the resources you create.
Click on: https://tinycards.duolingo.com/create
Study wise– A series of notes and resources relevant to the exam specification, again check against your revision list to make sure you are covering the correct topics. Click on: https://studywise.co.uk/gcse-revision/history/
Revision world– This website covers many of the topics we have studied although it is not specific to OCR so you have think about which areas you need to learn - https://revisionworld.com/a2-level-level-revision/history-gcse-level
Printed revision materials
Revision guides – There are a range of revision guides that have been published and these are all available on Amazon. Hodder Education have published an exam board specific revision guide, CGP is another option which is slightly more accessible. See links below.