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


Miss L Vessey – History Teacher


Mr C Hoare – Year 7 History teacher/Geography teacher




Facilities / Resources


History is one of three subjects taught within the Humanities Faculty. The faculty has six large classrooms, each classroom has an interactive smart board; the History department 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) and make the following enquiries:


Year 7 Overarching Question – 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


  •  What makes a good historian?
  • What was the impact of the Norman Conquest?
  • Mucky and Miserable: Is this a good way to describe peasant life in the Middle Ages?
  • Why couldn’t a King do whatever he wanted?
  • ‘It was all about Henry VIII having a son wasn’t it? Exploding myths about the Reformation.
  • Extreme Makeover? How far did the Reformation change EnglandMedieval Realms 
  • Why was there an Industrial Revolution in Britain?
  • How did living and working conditions change during the Industrial Revolution?
  • How were the people of North East Lincolnshire affected by the Industrial Revolution?






In Year 8: Pupils study History twice a week (2 hours) and make the following enquiries:


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.


  • Why does Harewood House want to forget its past?
  • Was the abolition of the Slave trade really down to William Wilberforce?
  • Why did the world go to war in 1914?
  • What was life like for soldiers in the First World War?
  • Is the First World War still significant today?
  • How were civilians affected by WW2?
  • What were the steps to the ‘Final Solution?’
  • How can we challenge generalisations about the Holocaust?
  • How important was Martin Luther King in gaining Black Americans Civil Rights in 1968?
  • KS3 Overview unit: Monarchy and Democracy




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 new Edexcel GCSE History specification which spans the medieval, early modern and modern periods. Students in Year 11 currently follow the Modern World History Syllabus ‘B’ offered by OCR examination board. Both the new Edexcel specification and the OCR Modern World syllabus are relevant to the world that we live in. Many of the major political issues in the world today have their roots in the topics that are studied in each course.  In this way, GCSE History helps to provide an insight into understanding current affairs, as well as a solid grounding in many of the major events of the 20th century. 




In KS4 pupils study History for 3 hours a week in Year 9 and 2 hours a week in Year 10 and cover the following topics:


Year 9 (2016 Edexcel specification)


  • Introduction to GCSE
  • Overview of 20th Century
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918-39


Year 10 (2016 Edexcel specification)


  • Superpower Relations and the Cold War 1941-91
  • Anglo-Saxon and Norman England c1060-88


(Other topics to be covered in the future in Year 11 include Medicine in Britain, c1250–present)




Years 11 (OCR History B specification)


  • How was British society changed, 1890-1918? (The Liberal Reforms Votes for Women and WW1 Home Front)
  • Historical Enquiry (Controlled Assessment): The USA, Land of Freedom?1945–1975 
  • Topics previously studied in Year 10: Germany 1918-45, The Cold War 1945-1975 (including the origins of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War)


Key Stage 5


The A level course is taught as part of our Joint Brigg Sixth Form at 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 group.


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 ‘Horrible Histories’ 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 participate in field trips and have completed their own ‘Vale Dig’.


There is also a GCSE History Movie Club to bring the topics studied at GCSE to life for students, promote further discussion and allow students to develop their evaluation skills by critically assessing the films. 




Useful websites