Section 3: Curriculum

 

One would have to travel a long way to find another school that has gone to so much trouble to consider a rationale for their curriculum.  It is carefully thought through and acted upon.  Although the school does not have to follow the National Curriculum, it has largely done so with an emphasis on the medieval, early modern and modern in Years 7,8 and 9 respectively.  A unit approach is adopted focused on enquiries.  This includes some interesting local history in Year 7 through a cross-curricular “Portsmouth curriculum”.   There are schemes of work but no single approach to lesson planning.  The units are taught in isolation but the experience of the teachers helps ensure that links and connections are made across many of the units.   There is the occasional synoptic unit.  There is regular consideration of the reasons for studying history and how history is constructed even down to separate historiography clinics for older students.  Discussions with students indicated a high level of awareness of historical methodology.

The popularity of the subject (some 60% of the cohort for GCSE) and large post-16 numbers (there are currently 38 in Y12) means that choices are available post-14.   Two GCSE specs are offered  and at A-level, an early modern and modern option.  Careful thinking and preparation has gone into the new examination courses.  Also offered is the International Baccalaureate in which history is a major contributor.  It has led to some very high quality personal studies on a range of topics such as the Wars of the Roses and Zionism.  Consistently history (and its associated politics) has been the most or nearly most popular option.


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