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Why do we teach History at KSA?

Our aim is to offer a broad, knowledge rich and intellectually challenging curriculum that provides students with the knowledge, language and grammatical skills that allows our students to enter the realm of educated people, to hold their own in conversations in any room, with any groups of people. At KSA, we believe that the stories and narratives that are included in History are beautiful and powerful. Knowing about these stories, different people and communities empowers our students by giving them a wider perspective on the world, raising the ambition and aspiration beyond what they already know. This gives them the power of choice in their opinions, decision making and future choices.

We teach the substantive knowledge of history, the dates, the people, the events, because they are important for our students to know. They provide an awareness of the country, communities, and world that they live in. They will have knowledge of the events that have shaped and affected the society and world around them. We believe that a mix of local, national and international history is the right blend for our students. For example, in Year 7 we teach the succession crisis of 1066, looking at the different events and figures involved. We also look at the importance of the Mediaeval Church, introducing students to new Tier 3 vocabulary to help their understanding of religion at the time.

Alongside the substantive knowledge of history, we also teach the disciplinary knowledge, so that our students understand how the history they study has been constructed. We focus each enquiry around a second order concept, whether it is cause and consequence, using and evaluating evidence or how historians have interpreted historical events and figures. For example, in Year 8 the enquiry on handling and using evidence, related to the Atlantic Slave Trade.

To help our students make links and to make sense of the history they study, our KS3 curriculum is based around four key ideas, so that students return to and can compare similar foci over the three years. These are:

  • How does power change? 
  • Religion and beliefs 
  • Empire and Migration 
  • Societal change 

We use the National Curriculum as a starting point for the content and second order concepts that we ask our students to learn about, however we also make sure that content that we study will inspire and challenge the students at KSA. Our aim is to teach content that is as good, or better for our students, as the National Curriculum outlines. For example, in Year 9 we teach a comparative unit on European dictators in the inter-war period, that allows students to compare a wide range of historical knowledge.

At KS4, we continue these ideals, but tailoring the substantive and disciplinary knowledge to the needs of the AQA exam specification. However, our KS3 and KS4 curricula are not separate, they are a five-year journey, so the knowledge we teach at KS4 will build on their learning at KS3. It is our aspiration that most students will carry on their studies from KS3 into KS4 and then a substantial group will carry on to A Level and degree level. Our curriculum is designed to prepare them for that journey.

What do we teach in History at KSA?

Year 7:

  • What skills do Historians need?
  • How did Invaders change England before 1066?
  • What was the impact of the Norman Conquest on England?
  • Why was religion so important in the Middle Ages? (Both Christianity and Islam)
  • How did Mediaeval monarchs abuse their power and the divine right of kings?
  • How did life change in Mediaeval England?
  • How did one family’s rivalry change England?
  • Why did Henry VIII break from Rome?
  • Why is Tudor England described as a religious roller-coaster?

Year 8:

  • The Age of Exploration
  • The Transatlantic Slave Trade
  • The Stuarts
  • Britain’s Place in the World
  • The Industrial Revolution

Year 9:

  • World War One
  • The Interwar years
  • The Rise of Dictators
  • Britain and the Second World War
  • Key Battles of the Second World War
  • The Holocaust
  • Post-war Britain
  • The Cold War

Year 10 & 11: AQA Specification

  • Germany 1890-1945 Democracy and Dictatorship
  • Conflict and tension in Asia 1950-1975
  • Britain: Health and the People
  • Norman England 1066-1100

Year 12 and 13: AQA Specification

Current year 12:

  1. 1C The Tudors: England, 1485–1603
  2. 2K International Relations and Global Conflict, c1890–1941

Current year 13:

  1. 1L The quest for political stability: Germany, 1871–1991
  2. 2S The Making of Modern Britain, 1951–2007

For more detailed information of the core content covered in this subject for each year group, please access the Knowledge Organisers here:

Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) 
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)