History Department at Rivers Academy
Curriculum Team Leader: Ms S Mcdonell
“If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. ”
The History department aims to help all students understand the relevance and importance of History, and to enjoy studying it. We look to support students in gaining the knowledge and skills to understand the world around them and to achieve outstanding results at every level. Our aim is to inspire as many students as possible to study history at GCSE and A-level and to ignite all students’ curiosity for the rest of their lives.
At Rivers History is taught throughout Key Stages 3-5 and is a popular subject with a large intake of GCSE and A-Level students. Former students have gone on to study History degrees at universities including Edinburgh, Oxford and Imperial College London. As a large department of 6 specialist teachers we are very proud to have developed a rigorous and varied History curriculum that challenges, intrigues and encourages all students to engage with, and succeed in History across their time at Rivers.
Students begin Key Stage 3 with a project on the local history of Bedfont and Feltham. For the rest
of the year they start by studying The Battle of Hastings and Norman Britain (1066) and move chronologically to look at the Civil War (1642.) Topics that are covered throughout this time period include The Crusades and The Tudors. Role play lessons and a range of trips make this a very enjoyable introduction to History!
Students develop their historical skills further including reasoning, research and source analysis. They focus on Twentieth century History including investigating the British Empire, the World Wars and the rise of Dictators in Europe. These topics are some of the most fascinating periods in History and they provide an excellent background to the GCSE course. Year 8 students also have the opportunity to visits the Trenches from the First World War in Ypres, Belgium to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of war.
Years 9, 10 and 11
GCSE History is a popular and successful option subject at GCSE. Topics studied at GCSE include:
• The Cold War (1945 – 2001)
• Nazi Germany
• The Civil Rights Movement in America
• An independent study comparing life in Britain during the two World Wars.
Students will tackle a number of challenging concepts such as opposing systems of government, assessing significance and causation as well as developing other key skills such as empathy and essay writing. Success at GCSE requires that students are academic, motivated and creative. We are
very proud of students’ exceptional achievements in the last exam season.
Many of those who take GCSE history decide to stay on in the department making it one of the most popular A-level subjects. The A-level course offers a chance to study new and exciting topics as well as developing student’s history skills to a very high level. In Year 12 students investigate the Tudor monarchy in depth and Irish History. By Year 13 students study the French Revolution and will sit two exams to determine their grade.
The History department offers a wide range of extracurricular opportunities and trips that all students are encouraged to take part in. This includes –
• Annual 3 day trips to Prague or Budapest for students in Year 10 – 13
• Annual residential trips to World War One battlefield for Year 8 and Year 9 students
• Taking part in international debating competitions with Model United Nations
• Planning and presenting whole school assemblies on historically significant events eg. 100 Year Anniversary of World War One
• Winning competitions such as the VE Day Bake Off.