West Lakes Academy’s history department aims to ensure that all students at the school develop skills of critical thinking, incisive analysis, effective oral and written argument, the ability to infer and much, much more. History is not just a dry series of dates and events (though they do matter). It is an ongoing process of investigation, analysis, selection, debate and writing. It is this process which inspires inquisitive, challenging and analytical minds to pursue the subject at GCSE, A Level and beyond. History at WLA deals with change over time in a broad political, social, economic and cultural context. By the end of their studies students should have developed a life-long interest in history, an independence of thought and a strong belief in the importance of human rights and tolerance of other interpretations and perspectives.
Key Stage 3
Students begin Year 7 by looking at the skills required of an historian and practising these skills on real events from the past. They take on a history mystery and come up with their own hypothesis to test. Throughout the year they put these skills to the test whilst they undertake a series of enquiries into different aspects of history from the Romans to the present day. Units they study include:
Being Curious – an investigation into what specific past societies have contributed to our culture including the Norman Invasion and the Victorian period.
Our Capital – an investigation into the capital using a variety of sources from paintings to maps; archaeology to invoices and written records. They start in Roman London and travel through the Middle Ages and the Great Fire of the Stuart period; ending in the 20th century with the Blitz.
Going Abroad – Students look at how the Empire was developed and key events along the way including the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
Students are continuing to develop their historical skills and explore specific events in history with more of a focus on the modern world. Units they study include:
Presenting History – Students investigate how historical events are presented by the media and focus on the slave trade and the work of abolitionists. They have to write a letter to Steven Spielberg analysing the accuracy of his film ‘Amistad’.
Remembering History – Students look at how people remember the past focusing on the memorials of WW1. They investigate the war and look at the reasons why we should remember the past.
Challenging History – This unit coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day. Students are set the task to gather evidence of the Jewish Holocaust in order to present an argument against Holocaust deniers such as David Irving.
Making History – Students look at the key events of WW2 and consider the turning points of war making judgements about their importance.
Investigating History – Students are given the materials to conduct an enquiry into the case of Jack the Ripper. All their skills from KS3 are assessed and a final report is made.
Key Stage 4
Students begin KS4 by engaging in project work. They may look at certain controversial issues from the past such as the conspiracy surrounding the assassination of JFK or they may do a comparative study into different societies such as Ancient Athens and Rome.
After Christmas students begin their study of the Pearson (Edexcel) syllabus. The four units they will be exploring through years 9, 10 and 11 include:
A Modern Depth Study – Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39.
A Thematic Study and the Historic Environment – Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and The British sector of the Western Front, 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches.
A British Depth Study – Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, c1060–88.
A Period Study – Either The American West, c1835–c1895 or Superpower relations and the Cold War, 1941–91.
We offer students the option to study AS and A Level History in the academy’s sixth form.