The subject of History is an integral feature of the Curriculum and is delivered at Key Stages 3, 4 & 5. The aim of the department is to make History both engaging and fun at Key Stage 3 whilst developing key subject skills which will allow pupils to progress into Key Stages 4 and 5. In correlation with acquiring subject specific skills is the development of literacy via written, speaking and reading tasks which are essential in gaining access to understanding topics of History and their wider context and effect on society.

Key subject skills include:

  • Chronological awareness and the process of developments through time
  • Historical knowledge and understanding of events
  • Historical enquiry and investigation into events
  • Interpretations of History and why people and events have been represented and discussed in different ways
  • Organising and communicating information using a range of techniques

Building upon and developing pupils’ talents and skills…

The History Department at Aberdare Community School is committed to ensuring that all pupils gain access to an experience of History which nurtures an understanding of the “bigger picture of learning”. Pupils will be encouraged to contribute and think about the subject using a range of teaching and learning styles. They will be able to access media links to develop deeper understanding of issues and they will also be given the opportunity to present ideas both in an independent and group scenario. Thinking skills are embedded in the teaching and learning of the subject and this will help pupils express their ideas whilst simultaneously enhancing their understanding of other views and opinions. Listening to Learners is a key philosophy within the department and pupils will be given the opportunity to discuss what and how they learn. This complements the school’s policy of accommodating the various learning styles of all pupils.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Topics and themes studied include:

  • The Norman Conquest and its consequences for Wales and England
  • The Crusades and their wider impact on society
  • King John and his relationship with his barons
  • Life and society in the Medieval Period
  • The Black Death – how could fleas and rats cause so much social disruption

During the academic year pupils will begin to realise why certain events are crucial in determining social and political outcomes. They will use a variety of resources and teaching and learning techniques when studying the above topics. They will be encouraged to think about the consequences of people’s actions and the effect they had on society, whilst simultaneously nurturing an understanding of the key skills of the subject.

Year 8

Topics and themes studied include:

  • The Tudors and their legacy
  • The causes of the English Civil War and the death of a king
  • Voyages of Discovery and the conquest of the Aztecs
  • The Plague and Great Fire of London

During the academic year pupils will build upon the skills and understanding gained during Year 7 to discuss and make judgements on the above themes and topics. They will also be aware of the role and importance of key issues such as Religion and its place in society set against the role of kingship. Pupils will begin to gain an understanding of the scientific challenge to traditional religious beliefs and the endeavours of individuals to question those beliefs. The concept of Empire will also be placed in context with “the thirst for knowledge”.

Year 9

Topics and themes studied include:

  • Wales and Industrialisation
  • A Victorian mystery: Jack the Ripper
  • The legacy of Industrialisation in warfare – WW1
  • “Days that shook the world” – linked to key events of the 20th century e.g. The Wall St. Crash, The Berlin Wall, Cuban Missile Crisis, Assassination of JFK and 9/11

Pupils will gain an understanding of how certain events and developments have shaped present day society. They will have the opportunity to undertake independent and further research on events which remain “unsolved”. A range of source material will be analysed and evaluated which will enable pupils to make judgements on historical questions posed to them. Assessments will be geared towards including some examination – style questions in preparation for GCSE.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

This is a WJEC board qualification which covers two years (years 10 & 11) of study.

Topics include:

  • Controlled Assessment Parts (a) and (b) on aspects of World War and conflict
  • Germany in Transition 1929 – 47
  • Developments in Sport, Leisure and Tourism 1900 – present day
  • Crime and Punishment c.1530 – present day

(Each unit is awarded 25% in weighting)

Key Stage 5 (‘A’ level)

This is a WJEC board qualification which covers two years of study (years 12 & 13) of Sixth Form. There are currently 4 separate units of study which make up this qualification.

Topics include:

Year 12

HY 1
(i) Politics and Government 1780 – 1832
(ii) British Foreign Policy 1793 – 1841

(The examination is 1hr 40 minutes. Questions (a) and (b) on both modules testing knowledge and understanding and explanation of historical development)

HY 2
Nazi Germany c. 1933 – 45.

Source – based examination 1hr 20 minutes

Year 13

HY 3
Coursework element. “The Munich Crisis 1938”
HY 4
The Age of Conservatism 1832 – 1880 exam (1 essay)
Synoptic overview of period 1780 – 1886 exam (1 essay)
Theme based essay on Nazi Germany – (1 essay)

2 hrs 30 minutes examination on HY 4

Teaching methods

All pupils will experience a range of teaching and learning methods when learning about History at Aberdare Community School. The department insists upon meeting pupils’ needs by Listening to Learners and offering lessons which are both interactive and engaging in delivery. The teaching of History will be focused upon Assessment for Learning strategies which correlates with whole school policy and the philosophy of the department. This will serve to stimulate pupil interest and help create an atmosphere of co – ownership of the subject where teacher/pupil relationships are concerned.

Vocational Visits and wider experiences

The Department offers a rich and varied access to “the bigger picture of learning” when studying History.

Vocational and educational visits include:

  • Local historical sites e.g. Castles, Llancaiach Fawr, Blaenavon Pit, Industrial land –marks and Museums
  • Wider historical sites e.g. Submarine Museum Portsmouth, Imperial War Museum London, Tower of London and Hereford Cathedral
  • Berlin educational excursion for KS 4 & 5

These wider historical visits will also be supplemented by co-ordination and joint visits with other departments such as English (Theatre productions) and Welsh Baccalaureate (Senedd).

Guest Speakers

These include:

  • Ex – World War 2 veterans in accordance with Remembrance Sunday (KS 3)
  • Ex – Falklands veteran from 3 Para regiment (KS 3 or KS 4)
  • Ex – Prison Officer and Youth Offending Team representatives (KS 4 Crime and Punishment module)
  • Local sporting heroes (KS 4 Sport, Leisure and Tourism module)
  • Ex – pupils will also be invited to speak and discuss university experiences of studying various forms of History in higher educational establishments