“We are not makers of history. We are made by history”.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Since the beginning of time, humans have been recording their lives, deeds, and actions. History is a part of all of us, and without a knowledge of history we truly are “like a tree without roots” (Marcus Garvey). History allows us to be human in the fullest of ways, not just because knowing the past better prepares us for our futures, but also because it provides a context to our lives that often we did not know was missing.
At Leesbrook we offer a rich, deep and exciting history curriculum, designed for our pupils and the unique context of our academy. This curriculum is not only culturally enriching but will enable pupils to develop a love and passion for history that will equip them with the ability to be life-long scholars of the past.
During Key Stage 3, pupils will be taught the historical skills needed for excellence through a wide range of topics; moving through space, time and historical themes. In Year 7 pupils explore how ‘England’ began, investigating the different migrant groups that over time have variously become known as the English, and how England as a nation was created through examining the events leading up to and beyond the Norman Conquest. Pupils move on to explore the topic of Empire, questioning why the British Empire was created, who it benefitted, and evaluating whether it was a ‘good’ thing for the world. They then move on to investigate the issue of slavery, including the slave trade, the slave experience and the abolition movement. Year 7 concludes with the study of Medieval England and the Black Death, where pupils study the role of religion, medicine and superstition in understanding and tackling the worst pandemic ever to hit the world.
Pupils commence Year 8 with a study of World War I. They explore the path to conflict, questioning whether war was inevitable in Europe. The soldier’s experience of living and fighting in the trenches is explored, as is the contribution of soldiers from across the Empire. Pupils then commence an investigation into the infamous Titanic. They examine the luxury and lives of those in the Upper Class cabins, and the poverty and hope of better prospects of those in second and third class. They explore how the Titanic sank and evaluate who was most to blame for the huge loss of life that resulted. Year 8 concludes with an extended study into Victorian Whitechapel. Pupils look at the the research of Charles Booth, examining the living conditions of one of the most notorious inner city slums of Victorian England. They explore who lived in Whitechapel, what their lives were like, what crimes were committed and how Whitechapel was policed. No study of Whitechapel would be complete without studying the Autumn of Terror and the crimes of Jack the Ripper, and pupils conclude this topic by questioning whether Whitechapel was the perfect environment for the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
In Year 9 pupils study a collection of themes that enable them to perfect and refine their historical skills, as well as their understanding of the interplay between society, economy, politics and culture. The year starts with The Roaring Twenties – a study of American society, leisure, fashion, economy and crime in the 1920s. Pupils will examine why there was an economic boom and how the Stock Market shaped the future of the west. They explore the ‘new’ leisure crazes of the 20s, the liberated women who panicked respectable society, and the experiment with prohibition that defined the decade. Finally they examine the story of Al Capone, questioning whether he was a villain or a hero of the people, before evaluating whether the Roaring Twenties was really an era of progress for all by examining the experience of immigrants and African-Americans. Following on from this pupils engage in an extended study on women through time, looking at how their role, status, rights and freedoms have changed through history. Within this unit pupils explore the witch-craze of the 1600s (which focused almost exclusively on women), the suffragette movement of the Edwardian era and the role of women in war, in addition to women of notoriety such as Elizabeth Fry and Annie Kenney. Year 9 concludes with an investigation into the native people of North America – the Plains Indians. They examine their way of life and the importance of buffalo and horses to sustaining independence. They look at Native American religion, spirituality and belief and the structure of society – especially the roles of the warrior and the medicine man.
At GCSE pupils will follow the EDEXCEL curriculum, taking the following options:
•Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-1939
•Crime and Punishment c1000-Present
•The American West c1836-1895
•Henry VIII and his Ministers 1509-1540