History

History is a hugely popular option at Weatherhead. This is partly due to our inspirational staff, partly due to the school’s excellent facilities but perhaps mostly because our students tend to share our belief that:

‘The study of History is the beginning of wisdom.’ 

Jean Bodin, French economist (1530–1596).

Mr Green

Head of History

Intent

The History Department at Weatherhead High School believes strongly in the importance of a high-quality History education for students of all backgrounds and starting points. Through studying key events in local, British, European and World History, students develop their knowledge and passion for the subject, as well as having a better understanding of Britain’s position in the modern world. The Department is keen to broaden student’s experiences by providing opportunities outside of the classroom and is currently planning a trip to the Thackray Museum for Year 9 students who will begin their GCSE studies in September 2022. Learning at KS3 is sequenced to give students a chronological understanding of key developments and factors responsible for change and continuity over time. The Department is currently in the process of incorporating a more diverse curriculum at KS3 to provide students with a clearer understanding of present-day situations and the modern world. Our curriculum has been audited against the KS3 and KS4 National Curriculum to ensure as well as giving students the ‘story’ of past events, they are given the opportunity to develop a set of vital transferable skills to use throughout their lives. These skills include:

  • A willingness to question simple explanations for complex problems they are faced with.
  • The confidence to offer a judgement on a scenario or event which is based on evidence, as well as being able to explain why someone may hold a different interpretation to their own. The above therefore provides a further purpose to our History curriculum, in which we aim to produce students who grow into critical thinkers.
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Implementation

Our schemes of work are designed to provide students with an understanding of key periods within British and wider history, and how factors have influenced both change and continuity over time (e.g. the impact of religion on continuity in Year 7, the impact of technology in Year 8, and the impact of world crises and political ideas in Year 9). The design of the KS3 curriculum means students develop a chronological awareness of Britain’s development and position in the wider world, as well as wider world events that have shaped the world they live in today. For example, students begin their study in Year 9 following on from the end of WW1 which is covered in the final term of Year 8.

With the study of History comes not just a ‘story’ of our past, we are conscious to ensure students are aware of the skills the study of History provides them with. Historical skills are embedded from the outset of Year 7, with the understanding that students’ previous learning of History will be very varied and largely dependent on their differing Primary School experiences – this means there is a concerted effort to introduce students to a range of historical skills early in Year 7 and to continue practising these skills to allow them to develop.

Historical skills such as analysis of primary sources and interpretations are embedded across Key Stage 3, allowing students to consolidate their understanding of a topic and provide greater challenge. Schemes of Work and lessons are framed around inquiry-based thinking, allowing students to be investigative and develop their abilities to think critically. Use of lesson time, particularly starter activities, promote engagement and aid students in retaining knowledge in the long term.

For homework, students are provided with variety to allow for engagement and the opportunity for stretch and challenge. Such activities allow students to consolidate their learning from lesson (KS3) as well as applying such knowledge to the skills necessary to achieve in an exam (KS4-5). At KS4 and KS5, homework is used to address individual knowledge gaps, practise skills taught in lessons and consolidate learning carried out in the classroom.

Across ability bands at KS3, assessment is used regularly (both formatively and summatively) to guide learning and the Department differentiates effectively to meet the needs of students of differing abilities.

The department is proactive in using a range of resources for CPD and developing their own subject pedagogy, such as the National College, Hodder Education and AQA webinars. This is to develop subject knowledge and confidence in forms of assessment amongst the department. Weekly meetings are held to discuss teaching and learning and carry out quality assurance in conjunction with the departmental quality assurance schedule.

Intent

The study of History at Weatherhead provides students with a range of key skills needed to take them on to further education and employment.  Of the 13 Year 13 students who completed their History A-Level in June 2021, 100% of students were successful in continuing their education at university, with 54% studying at Russell Group Universities.  The skills of critical thinking, independent research and problem solving have equipped our students to read a range of courses such as: 

  • Classics at the University of Cambridge
  • Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Manchester
  • Law and Criminology at the University of Sheffield 
  • History and Modern Languages at the University of Sheffield
  • Environmental Science at the University of York
  • English Literature at the University of Newcastle 

The world class passion for History at Weatherhead is displayed by how students immerse themselves in a range of extra-curricular activities and competitions.  The Department runs a yearly competition for International Women’s Day, as well as a yearly project for Black History Month.  In the academic year 2020-21, students at Weatherhead designed their own Black Post Box, with students submitting postcards explaining reasons to fight racism and discrimination. The Department also plays an active role in promoting SMSC and British Values across the school with their delivery of assemblies, such as Remembrance Day assemblies.

Staff at Weatherhead

In the History department we are fortunate to have experienced, enthusiastic and highly qualified staff. Their diverse skills and interests enrich learning opportunities as well as inspiring our students.

Mr Green is Head of Department and provides expertise in Britain and Empire and late medieval English History, particularly the Wars of the Roses.

Ms Bartle is a highly-qualified and passionate historian who brings a wealth of innovative teaching and learning ideas to the department.  She is History KS3 Co-ordinator and her area of expertise lies in Germany in the 20th Century, specifically the Third Reich. 

Mrs Burke has been at Weatherhead for over 20 years. Before entering the teaching profession, she was a senior manager in local government and in addition to her degree she has post graduate qualifications in Management and Law. Her area of expertise is modern European history.

Ms Smith has a wealth of experience from which our students benefit greatly. She is currently Assistant Headteacher and Director of Key Stage 3 and has been a History teacher at Weatherhead for over 25 years as well holding her M.A. in Education. Her particular interest is nineteenth century British political history.

Ms Clarkson is a recent addition to the History Department and possesses a strong passion for the teaching of History.  An innovative practitioner, her subject expertise lies in the Women’s Suffrage Movement of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. 

Mr Clark is also a recent addition to the History Department.  Mr Clark is a highly-qualified teacher with great expertise in Early Modern Europe and 19th-20th Century Russia. 

Facilities

Pupils can access an extensive range of reading and reference materials in the Learning Resource Centre in addition to the publications available from the department. These can supplement their study of History outside of lesson time; laptops are also used to develop learning in the classroom.

Support

History teachers here at Weatherhead provide a wide variety of lunch time and after school support sessions and a comprehensive revision programme to cater to the needs of GCSE and A level students.

Extra-Curricular

Students have access to a number of experiences to enrich their curriculum. For example, sixth form students are given the opportunity to visit Berlin in order to explore the some of the key sites in modern European history. They also participate in Wirral’s annual Holocaust Memorial Service, and have been privileged to hear the story of a Holocaust survivor first hand.

Visit weatherheadhigh.co.uk/extra-curricular-clubs for our current programme of extra-curricular activities.

History is a hugely popular option at Weatherhead. This is partly due to our inspirational staff, partly due to the school’s excellent facilities but perhaps mostly because our students tend to share our belief that:

‘The study of History is the beginning of wisdom.’ 

Jean Bodin, French economist (1530–1596).

Mr Green

Head of History

History Learning Journey