Age 11-14

We aim to provide a sound, working knowledge of the emergence of human society in pre-history, and then the ‘broad sweep’ of human civilization, from the ancient classical world, through the medieval realms and onto the complexities of the modern world. We believe history should allow us to reveal the ‘bigger picture’ of human inter-connectivity and integrated development. We begin our studies with exploring the Palaeolithic world of the hunter-gatherer and then the transition to the Neolithic Revolution.  We investigate Bronze Age cultures in Britain, using Stonehenge as a case study, then ancient Egypt, Chinese civilization under Qin Shi Huang, and India, under Ashoka the Great. We survey the Mediterranean civilizations, the achievements of Alexander the Great and the Roman legacy – before analysing the collapse of the Roman Empire. As part of exploring the rise of the medieval European world, we will look at the Byzantine world of Justinian, the Islamic Empire of the Middle East and Spain, as well as the 13th.century Mali Empire of Mansa Musa in Africa.

The Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Age of Enlightenment and the Agricultural Revolution – all herald the coming modern world. The Industrial Revolution helps to facilitate the Age of Empire, the opening up of the ‘New World’, the Slave Trade, colonialism and imperialist rivalry, which finally culminates in the Great War of 1914-1918. Year 9 will visit the Western Front battlefields of northern France and Belgium.

We believe in applying a varied and accessible approach to learning: classroom debate, presentations, investigative projects, using evidence, visits (for example, to the Museum of London, Roman & Georgian Bath and the Tower of London), displays and competitions. All of these help to create a passion for history that strengthens the key skills being developed in the classroom, at each stage of development. We also seek, where possible, to liaise with other departments in order to co-ordinate a deeper, more integrated appropriate parts of the syllabus. For example, we liaise with the Science departments, when we look at Stonehenge and Religious Studies, when looking at the rise of Islam. We are also seeking to develop a broader and more inclusive approach that is sensitive to public debate: for example, we look at evidence of ‘Black Britons’ at the time of the Roman Empire, medieval witchcraft and feminism, the long-lasting impact of slavery on British culture, and ‘forgotten figures’ like Maharahah Duleep Singh – the Asian Suffragette in Edwardian England, or events like the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963.

History develops invaluable skills for the modern world including the ability to scrutinise, analyse, debate and argue. We also feel that history should awaken a sense of wonder and enquiry. It is part of our human nature to seek to break down the barriers of time and mortality, to expand the limits of human consciousness beyond the realms of just one single life. We encourage our pupils to always look for the wider picture, to be open-minded and curious about the world.