“The more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future” – Theodore Roosevelt
History at Heath Park is an ambitious academic subject rich in powerful knowledge of global, national, and local events which have shaped the social, political, economic, and cultural world around us. The pursuit of History at Heath Park broadens understanding of the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change over time and its links to modern society. We want students to appreciate that diversity is a part of our nation’s story by studying the impact of migration over time and the relationships between diverse groups. History allows pupils to interlink the challenges of the present with those of the past and in doing so immerse themselves within the cultural capital of time.
Powerful knowledge of History ensures students are given the opportunity to become more confident, creative, resilient, and critical thinkers. Through the critical evaluation of contemporary sources and historian’s interpretations, students are given power over their knowledge. Our teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Through dynamic history teaching at Heath Park, we want students to embrace British Values by encouraging debate and sharing of opinions. In an ever-shifting modern world we want to help equip students with a skill set that allows them to question the media they are bombarded with to make intelligent, informed conclusions.
At KS3 we start Year 7 with a unit entitled ‘Where are we from?’ This unit looks at the contribution early invaders and settlers made to Britain. Students study the Celts, Romans, Vikings, and Saxons. Our aim with this unit is for students to understand that migration and diversity has always been a part of our nations story. It also supports transition from KS2 as we are further developing elements of history studied at primary.
Students then study the Middle Ages. This is a chronological study of British history from 1066-1485. Throughout this unit we continue to develop important historical skills and concepts. We introduce substantive concepts, for example the feudal system, in order to develop familiarity for later learning. Throughout KS3 ‘Enquiry Questions’ are used over a series of lessons to enable students to link their learning over time. For example, during study of Medieval England the enquiry question is ‘Who holds power in Medieval England? The King, the people, or the church?’
Students then move onto looking at the Tudors and Stuarts. We weave the stories of ordinary people into our lessons in order that the narrative is not just that of different Kings and Queens. For example, students conduct independent research tasks on the roles of black Tudors.
Year 7 finishes with a unit that explores Islamic civilisation and the Mughal Empire.
Students begin Year 8 with a thematic study of Medicine Through Time. This enables students to develop their knowledge of change and continuity and helps to prepare them for the thematic study of crime undertaken at GCSE. Studies of Slavery, Empire, WW1, and WW2 follow. Students finish KS3 with a final unit called ‘Where are we from?’ This enables students to make sense of some of the key events that have shaped modern Britain and their local community. We explore the impact of industrialisation to the area and more recent migration with a case study of Windrush.
KS4 starts with the thematic study of Crime and Punishment Through Time. This unit allows a smooth transition to the rigours of the GCSE as students have been introduced to concepts such as change and continuity at KS3. Students will be required to consider the causes and types of crime, law enforcement, combating and punishment of crime and changing attitudes towards crime and punishment over time. They will also be required to examine the major political, social, economic, and cultural perspectives which have contributed to the development of both crime and punishment from c.500 to the present day
This is then followed by the first study in depth; Conflict and Upheaval: England 1337-1381. This option focuses in depth on selected themes and issues relating to the history of England in the period 1337-1381. Students are required to consider the main political, social, and economic issues of the time. Candidates develop an awareness of the course and effects of the Hundred Years’ War, the political, economic, and social impact of the Black Death and the causes and events of the Peasants’ Revolt. Students develop an awareness of how these issues have been represented and interpreted, and how they have generated wider historical debate
In Year 10 students tackle the second study in depth exploring Germany in Transition 1919-1939. This unit contains some complex ideas and key terms which is why it is studied in Year 10 rather than earlier. Students should be able to tackle this challenging unit by building on the skills implemented throughout their earlier history lessons at Heath Park. Students will be required to consider the impact of the First World War on Germany, the recovery of the Weimar Republic, the factors which led to the rise of the Nazis and the impact of the Nazi regime upon the lives of the German people. Students should develop an awareness of how aspects of life in Germany in this period have been represented and interpreted, and how they have generated wider historical debate.
Students finish the course with a period study; The Development of the USA 1929-2000. This option focuses on the key trends and turning points that have affected the development of the USA between1929 and 2000. Students will consider the developments, events and personalities which have shaped the recent history of the USA. Students also examine the major political, social, economic, and cultural perspectives which have affected the lives of the American people over the whole of this period.
At Heath Park we study A Level History unit 2O Democracy and Nazism: Germany, 1918–1945
This option provides for the study in depth of a period of German history during which a newly developed democratic form of government gave way to a dictatorial Nazi regime. It explores political concepts such as ‘right’ and ‘left’, nationalism and liberalism as well as ideological concepts such as racialism, anti-Semitism, and Social Darwinism. It also encourages reflection on how governments work and the problems of democratic states as well as consideration of what creates and sustains a dictatorship.
At Heath Park, pupils have several opportunities to develop their historical understanding both inside and outside the classroom. At KS3 artefacts from the Wolverhampton Library Service are brought into the lesson to help bring history to life. Students are given the opportunity to study and handle artefacts from Ancient Egypt and study genuine artefacts from the WW2 Home Front. We also invite guest speakers into school. During past years this has included Holocaust Survivors and University lecturers delivering to students.
At KS4 trips are offered to students. Most recently students visited the Police Museum in Birmingham which is located in a Victorian cell block. This has CEIAG links to police careers as well as offering students the ability to develop knowledge in relation to their Crime and Punishment course.
At KS5 we work with the Holocaust Educational Trust to enable students to visit Auschwitz for the day. Last year most of the year 12 and 13 history classes used this opportunity.