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“The first thing you get from the humanities, when they're well taught, is critical thinking.”

Martha Nussbaum

Curriculum Rationale: Humanities

Powerful knowledge in Humanities – Why do we teach these concepts?

The power of thought and deep thinking is critical for students to make the necessary progress needed to be successful individuals within this world. Our aim is to inspire our students across Geography, History and Religious Education to engage with stimulating material through well planned and sequenced lessons to create the lifelong learners that we are ourselves. It is taught in a way that clear progression is made so that new knowledge builds upon what has been learnt previously. In this way the aim at Key Stage 3 is to make successful learners who can choose to study any of the Humanities subjects at GCSE and be successful in school and in future career choices.  

In History the ability to reflect on our past and the choices we made within context allows students to understand their cultural heritage. It places their time in context with a realisation of how this nation has impacted upon others. Within Geography, it is about looking at those past choices to see how this has impacted on the world. Students are then equipped to see the challenges that lay in their future and how their actions can impact the world in both a positive and negative way. The ability to study Religious Education within the Personal Development curriculum at Key Stage 3, and as a GCSE subject, provides a chance to understand other cultures and compliments the other subjects within the faculty. It allows students to think about the morality of our race and how beliefs influence the actions of people both in the recent past and potentially in the future. It is firmly believed that the study of these subjects provides a crucial understanding of our environment, historical roots and religious beliefs which will allow our learners to become successful members of society who contribute to the world positively. 

The skills being delivered in each of the department areas provide transferable qualities to their chosen career paths. The ability to communicate effectively, write clearly and accurately and co-operate with those around them will help guide them in essential requirements for the workplace. At times, specific career paths are discussed related to the subjects and students are made aware of what opportunities the study of a Humanities subject can lead to.

Curriculum Features - How do we embed the learning?

Knowledge is at the heart of the curriculum and each lesson in the department is centred around this concept. Regular knowledge test take place to check the learning that has taken place. This knowledge is then used to build upon in a logical way across each discipline. Students are required to retain this knowledge for assessment points and within the curriculum opportunities to revisit are key. 

The fundamental acquisition of the vital knowledge then allows this to be used to enhance the skills required in each discipline. Extended writing is a feature required in Humanities and the knowledge is used to facilitate this. 

Curriculum Enrichment – How do we link with other subjects and offer experiences?

Taking teaching beyond the classroom allows the subjects to be enhanced. Trips are offered in order to achieve this with year 7 having visited the two museums in the town centre to look at Medieval Life whilst year 9 have the opportunity to go to the First World War Battlefields. Geography makes use of the local area to deliver the crucial fieldwork requirements.   

Throughout Humanities links are created which complement each discipline. There are also links with other subjects. For English History provides context for various texts with closely aligned links with regard to literacy. Key aspects of Maths are reiterated in Geography whilst Science is supported through the curriculum in Humanities and in turn it provides support for History at GCSE.  Away from core, Geography will explore concepts like sustainability which complements Technology.