The overall aim of the Humanities Faculty is to ensure that History is taught in such a way as to be both enjoyable and stimulating, enabling students to be intellectually stretched, while acquiring useful transferable skills and also maintaining their interest in the subject both in school and beyond. The following specific departmental aims reflect those of The Vale as a whole. 

We aim...

•             To encourage students to develop an appreciation and understanding of the events and people that have shaped the past and, in turn, the world they live in.

•             To instil a long lasting love of the subject. History lessons are ‘fun’: we aim to be lively, exciting and dynamic, with enthusiastic teaching using a variety of methods and materials.

•             To enable students to become historians by assisting the development of lively, enquiring minds that question and construct rational argument. Students gain experience of historical enquiry, narrative, analysis, questioning, opinion-forming, debate and presentation of their findings. We work to develop powers of analysis as well as the ability to understand complexity, and how factors interact to determine the course of events.

•             To challenge our students to address issues of interpretation and problems of evaluation. For example, we encourage understanding of what ‘evidence’ is and awareness of its varying utility and reliability, and also impress upon students the need to compare sources, to match them against other knowledge and to ask whether the evidence is representative and verifiable.

•             To be relevant to today’s world: we aim to highlight the skills pupils are developing. We make links to contemporary events and encourage pupils to deploy their general knowledge and wider understanding in getting to grips with past times.

•             To ensure a sense of progress and development, both in skills and in the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, for students of all abilities. In History lessons expectations are high: a strong work ethic is developed and rewarded, with students challenged to produce clear and well-organised written work.

•             To enable pupils to develop an awareness of themselves and of their own attitudes and encourage respect for those of others.


Meet the staff:

Mrs L. Millar – Curriculum Leader for Humanities

Mrs L. Boyd– History Teacher

Mr R. Hughes – History/PE teacher

Facilities / Resources

History is one of three subjects taught within the Humanities Faculty. The faculty has six large classrooms, each with an interactive smart board; the Humanities Faculty also has access to laptops for research and presentations as well as a number of historical artefacts.


Key Stage 3

In Year 7: Pupils study History twice a week (2 hours).

Year 7 Overarching Theme– What factors have brought about change in the lives of men, women and children over time? Considering the impact of key factors religion; disease; rebellion; superstition; war; slavery; technology, industrialisation etc.

Year 7 students examine the following periods through enquiries:

•             The Ancient World

•             Medieval England

•             Tudors and Stuarts

•             Colonisation of India and America

In Year 8: Pupils study History twice a week (2 hours).

Year 8 Overarching Theme – Dictatorship, Terrorism and Civil Rights – How have people been denied and fought for their rights and beliefs? Considering the impact of key factors like protest, war, ideology, liberty, political and human rights, religion, terrorism etc.

Year 8 students examine the following periods through enquiries:

•             Early Industrial Revolution including slavery

•             Later Industrial Revolution including getting the vote and the abolition of slavery

•             World War 1

•             World War 2

•             Civil Rights in the USA


Key Stage 4

A Humanities subject; either History and / or Geography, is a compulsory element of the GCSE English Baccalaureate.  Those who opt for History will follow the Edexcel GCSE History specification which spans the medieval, early modern and modern period.

In KS4 pupils study History for 3 hours a week and cover the following topics:

•             GCSE bridging unit : Crime and Punishment in Britain

•             Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060-88

•             Medicine in Britain, (c1250–present)

•             Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-39

•             Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941-91 (Year 11 only)

•             The American West, c1835–c1895 (Year 9/10 only)


Key Stage 5

The A-level course is taught as part of our joint Brigg Sixth Form with Sir John Nelthorpe School.

Students follow the OCR A-Level History ‘Syllabus A’ course.

In KS5 pupils study History 4 lessons a week (4 hours) and cover the following topics:

•             Unit 1: British Period Study and Enquiry: From Pitt to Peel – Britain 1783-53 (Enquiry topic: Peel and the Age of Reform 1832-53)

•             Unit 2:  Non-British Period Study - The Cold War in Europe 1941-1995

•             Unit 3: Thematic Study and Historical Interpretations – Britain and Ireland 1791 -1921

•             Topic Based Essay: Students complete a 3000–4000 word essay on a topic of their choice, which may arise out of content studied elsewhere in the course. This is an internally assessed unit.


Extra-curricular Activities

Students at the Vale Academy benefit from History enrichment trips in Britain and abroad. For example, KS4 students participated in the moving WW1 Battlefields Trip to mark the centenary of the Great War. This is now an annual trip. Year 8 students have experienced life as factory children at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal, Cheshire.

A range of lunchtime and after school intervention/revision sessions are made available. The faculty runs a KS3 ‘Humanities’ Club. It involves lots of fun activities and gives students the opportunity to study historical topics that are of interest to them but are not taught in class. Students have participated in field trips and have completed their own ‘Vale Dig’ in the past.


Useful websites