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History

  • History

History is a fascinating and hugely important subject which we teach in order that students develop a lifelong passion and enthusiasm for the past.  History connects the past with the present and it matters because it helps us as individuals to understand why our society is the way it is and what we value.  History lessons encourage students to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and form their own judgements about the past.  At Gosforth Academy we build upon the students’ prior knowledge of ancient, medieval and early modern history by focussing on the modern era. However, students also revisit the earlier periods in two of the GCSE topics and in the A level coursework.  Students have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of different topics in History.  We have designed a curriculum which avoids repetition and we have chosen topics which are not necessarily the easiest choice but are the ones which are particularly interesting, such as the Cold War.

History plays a fundamental role in developing students’ understanding of British values and how these concepts developed over time.  Modern British and American History develop the student’s awareness of democracy and the importance of the rule of law.  We also teach students about the consequences of a lack of individual liberty or a lack of tolerance of others through topics such as the Cold War and the Holocaust.  We emphasise the role of individuals who have made a significant difference to the world as a result of the strength of their characters and individual genius.  As a humanities subject History allows students to broaden their understanding of the plethora of human experience.  In order to enhance this further we are committed to organising visits to historical sites whether in the UK or overseas.

History lessons develop a number of transferable skills which are essential for academic success and for future careers.  We are passionate about improving the oracy skills of our students.  As a result lessons are often based around discussion and debate allowing students to articulate their views and opinions.  Talk in lessons has a direct impact on the expansion of students’ vocabulary and the quality of the students’ extended writing. The ability to write analytically and to convey an argument in a succinct yet persuasive fashion is essential to success in History.  As a result literacy skills are part and parcel of all History lessons.  We place a very high value on the acquisition and retention of precise factual detail in order to support arguments.  This means that factual tests are a regular part of the lessons.

Even though we cover a broad curriculum there are always areas which students want to cover in more depth so we are proud that our homework policy allows students to do exactly this.  Each half term Key Stage 3 and 4 students conduct their own independent research into a topic which complements or extends their understanding.  They are then able to present this information in any way they feel is appropriate which is an opportunity for them to be creative and to take great pride in their work.  This policy along with our entire rationale is underpinned by our belief that if a love and passion for History starts at school it will continue for life.