At St Mary’s Catholic School we pride ourselves on providing an exemplary curriculum for all students, including our students with special educational needs.  Our Year 7 to Year 13 curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced, allowing all students to know more and remember more in lessons, and to achieve exceptional progress.  Our curriculum is planned to stretch and challenge all learners, with highly effective scaffolding in place to ensure our students with SEND and other additional needs also achieve highly.  Our curriculum meets and exceeds all national curriculum requirements.  Due to the numerous strengths and sustained success and impact of our curriculum year on year, St Mary’s supports many other schools within the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust and more widely to share this exemplary practice.

The History curriculum is exemplary because:

  • The department is staffed by highly qualified subject specialists who are committed and passionate about sharing their subject knowledge and developing students’ love of History.
  • Our curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all and students all access the same curriculum across the key stages with differentiation in place to ensure all students achieve highly.
  • Our History curriculum is sequenced through Key Stage 3 to help students develop a mental timeline which helps make new knowledge easier to learn. The curriculum is also designed with repeated encounters of key concepts such as war, invasion, empire, monarchy and tax etc this allows students to develop confidence in key historical terms and helps to make new topics more accessible.
  • Our History curriculum is designed to develop the students’ key historical skills such as significance, cause, consequence, change, continuity, source/interpretation analysis and evaluation and developing a judgement. This is integrated throughout the curriculum to develop them as historians but also to use these historical skills to develop students for the modern world by encouraging them to ask perceptive questions, think critically, challenge arguments, debate with others, form their own judgements and question and analyse evidence.
  • Our History curriculum is designed to support and develop students as historians but also holistically and develop their understanding of British values. Studying topics such as the vote and civil rights in Key Stage 3 and Power and the People at Key Stage 4 develops student’s awareness of democracy and the importance of the rule of the law. Both the Holocaust and our GCSE Germany (1890-1945) unit teach students about the consequences of a lack of individual liberty or a lack of tolerance of others.

The History curriculum is ambitious, broad and balanced:

  • Our History curriculum covers the national curriculum elements and we have also ensured students gain the opportunity to study – throughout all key stages – a broad History curriculum by including topics of different time periods, different countries, different cultures, different political systems and different human experiences to broaden their understanding of the world and its past.
  • The History curriculum is ambitious with challenging topics covered throughout key stages such as the Holocaust, Germany – democracy to dictatorship, trade unions, the civil rights movement, immigration, the British Empire and the vote. These topics allow students to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups as well as their own identity and challenges of their time.
  • To enhance our History curriculum further there are always areas that students want to cover in more depth. We are proud to have History research project, History club and Debate club to further develop students’ love for the subject, allowing them to explore topics further which compliments and extends their understanding.
  • Extended reading and source activities are available throughout key topics to develop and stretch students and engage them in History further and progress their passion for the subject. Recommended reading lists are provided for each topic, homework and class work incorporates academic readings to challenge all students and support them in achieving highly.
  • The sequencing of our curriculum has been carefully planned to support students to achieve highly and our results reflect this careful planning. Alongside this, our topic selection is wide to engage students with a love of History and this can be seen in our healthy uptake at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

The History curriculum has effective scaffolding to support our SEND students/other students with additional needs:

  • It is important for all our History students to access the same key topics to not only develop them as historians but also holistically, therefore SEND students follow the same curriculum across all key stages and we have high expectations for all our students across the department.
  • All of our key words and definitions for each topic are provided for students to allow all to access the reading and resources for the lesson. This supports all students to access the curriculum and lesson topics.
  • Our SEND departments provide key information on our SEND students and as a History department we use this key information to adapt tasks to ensure all students can access and engage fully within each lesson. Some examples of these strategies include, but are not limited to; writing frames, highlighting key words in long texts, reading aloud, diagrams to break up key knowledge, key word banks, recap activities, modelling tasks, question formulas to support and using LSA support if applicable.
  • Our curriculum is differentiated with curriculum plans and schemes of work offering examples of how the lesson activities may be differentiated or scaffolded to allow all students to access the same broad curriculum. Lesson resources are differentiated appropriately to support the needs of the pupil.
  • All students are monitored which allows for intervention to take place if needed, this could be study support sessions, class changes, seating changes or different revision materials. SEND and PP students are highlighted on class charts and seating plans to allow staff to monitor and support students throughout their study to ensure they achieve highly.

The History curriculum is worthy of sharing more widely with other schools because:

  • The staff in the History department are all highly skilled subject specialists who work hard to stretch students and support them through the ambitious curriculum we provide.
  • The History curriculum provides an excellent reading curriculum for students with academic reading including in lessons and homework and recommended historical fiction for each topic of study.
  • Our curriculum is worth sharing as our outcomes show we support students on a path to achieving highly and becoming passionate and outstanding historians.