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    ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’.

    Malcolm X, 1964

    History at DGGS encompasses a vast landscape of both national and international historical narrative, empowering students with the knowledge and skills to succeed.


    Ms R Wilson (Subject Leader)
    Mrs J Davies
    Mrs G Bunn
    Miss C Toland
    Mrs C Fajuyigbe


    To create knowledgeable citizens who are empowered to be respectful and tolerant of other peoples and cultures, and equipped to seek out new horizons.


    To empower students to engage critically with the world around them, its traditions, culture, precedence and future. To ensure this, we believe students need to know and apply understanding of the very best of what has been thought and achieved in local, national and international history. Through this empowerment it is our intention that students develop an understanding of their identity in the world, and are equipped to enter the great debates of our age with respect, tolerance, and sensitivity.

    To achieve this outcome our curriculum is built upon enquiry questions which allow a deep focus on key historical topics, while also ensuring the development of disciplinary concepts, such as source work, interpretations and significance. Students realise the craft of the historian and can apply this across the syllabus.

    Key Stage 3: We begin our KS3 with a consideration of the concept and nature of power; what it means, how to come by it, and how (not) to use it. Beginning with the challenge of 1066, we explore what power meant in the medieval world, from monarchs and emperors to ordinary people. We look not just at our story, but those of global powers; Mali, Song Dynasty China and Mughal India; to explore what power means and how it is wielded across different cultures and civilisations. In Year 8, our focus turns to the concept and nature of liberty; covering religious upheavals and the English Civil War before moving on to the Industrial Revolution, Empire, Slavery and the Suffrage movement. We end this story with the outbreak of WWI; a clear bridge to the problems when Liberty and Power collide. This theme is further explored in Year 9, as we consider the impact of WWI, covering aspects such as the response to Indian calls for independence in 1919 and the rise of the Dictators in Europe. On a whole school level, we commemorate the First World War and Holocaust and evaluate the impact of these events as part of the wider conflict they are associated with. This journey of knowledge creates a lasting historical landscape to be engaged with the world and its future.

    Our curriculum is compulsory until the end of Year 9. The curriculum aims to find a balance between the very best of the national curriculum but in order to think like a historian, students engage with a variety of source material and interpretations. This extension of deliberate practice when dealing with these sources enables students to come into contact with a variety of information from different sources, learning to respect and listen to a range of voices from the past.

    Passionate and expert teachers deliver this curriculum with powerful enquiry questions which test a wide variety of knowledge from the domain of our syllabus. We regard our key stage three as a hinterland of knowledge which allows our students to make sense of the units studied in key stages four and five. Through extra-curricular events this is brought alive; students visit Dover Castle, the WWI trench reconstructions at Detling, and have the opportunity to engage with external speakers. Students in history develop their vocabulary skills through academic text and explicit teaching of tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary, deployed in analytical writing at intervals through the curriculum.

    Students will progress their knowledge of local, national and international history. They will be able to recall a vast body of knowledge and develop mastery through writing on a range of historical concepts and aspects of change. In particular our students will think like a historian, deploying analysis of historical sources and interpretations, making meaningful judgements on significance. As students entwine their conceptual historical knowledge they will use their understanding of the past to move forward with confidence into the future to deal with the pressing issues of their era.

    Key Stage 4: We follow the EDUQAS History GCSE specification.

    Our GCSE course starts with two development studies; the first arises out of the KS3 curriculum and focuses on the USA 1929 – 2000. Students examine the major economic, social and political changes affecting the USA in the later C20, considering how and why these changes came about; be it the Black Civil Rights campaigns, or the US involvement in the Cold War, Vietnam and the Gulf War. It serves as an introduction to the skill of examining change and continuity, as well as introducing political vocabulary which will underpin later units. Medicine through Time offers a chance to further develop these skills by drawing on existing knowledge of the Medieval, Early Modern, Industrial and Modern periods to explain changes in medical knowledge and understanding. Here students are also encouraged to think carefully about what was possible for people in the past, challenging lazy stereotypes of ‘medieval’ as a synonym for backward and unintelligent by showing that medieval people had no means of even imagining the existence of germs, much less “seeing” them, or the Church as an exclusively repressive body when medical care collapsed completely after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, not being properly restored until 1948. Both of these courses encourage students to tell the ‘long story’ of change and continuity. They build on existing KS3 knowledge and create a backdrop against which the depth studies which make up the second part of the GCSE course sit.

    Both depth studies are designed to give students an insight into the construction of History; both have a deeper focus on skills of source and interpretation analysis, and through these, we seek to embed the importance of evidence to support arguments and claims; again preparing students to challenge lazy arguments or unsubstantiated judgements in their day-to-day lives.

    The first of these studies is Elizabethan England (1558 – 1601). Characterised recently by Helen Castor as a ‘Study in Insecurity’, students examine the key developments, events and changes of Elizabeth’s reign, from social and economic issues such as the vast increase in poverty to political and international affairs such as the religious settlement and the War with Spain. Students consider the traditional view of Elizabethan England as a ‘Golden Age’, comparing this to more recent interpretations of Elizabeth as a precarious monarch, who was never truly secure.

    Finally, students study the rise of Hitler and the Nazi regime in Germany. The course builds on the political vocabulary introduced in KS3 and the USA depth study, allowing a better understanding of modern political ideas such as ‘democracy’. Students will examine the circumstances under which Hitler was able to take control of Germany, the methods used when in power to extend his control and the impact this had on the people of Germany in the 1930s. Again, students are encouraged to reflect and consider why German people voted for Hitler in the early 1930s, the importance of propaganda and populist rhetoric in allowing previously marginalised views to become mainstream, and the effect this had on the world, as Hitler began to implement his expansionist foreign policy.

    Delivery of the GCSE course follows a similar pattern to KS3, organised around key questions. Exam technique is taught and practised at appropriate points within each unit, but the focus of our GCSE teaching remains developing historical skills and analysis.


    Key Stage 5: We follow the AQA A-Level Specification

    There are three components to the A-Level we offer. The two examined units are studied across Y12 and 13, and focus on the Cold War (1945 – 1991) and Tudor England (1485 – 1601). The NEA aspect of the course, which examines the development of Civil Rights in America is delivered in the summer of Y12, with the expectation that it is completed by early autumn in Y13. Students will take knowledge from KS3 and GCSE further and deeper in this course, building their understanding and appreciation of issues and concepts which continue to affect and shape the world today.

    The aim of the A-Level course is to deepen and broaden student’s historical thinking, giving them a real sense of how the world they know and occupy was shaped, both in recent History by the international events of the Cold War, the creation of the UN and NATO and the conflicts which erupted and continue to challenge the world – the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the tensions between China and the USA for example – and through longer, more substantial changes to government structures and methods in the Tudor period such as the enhancement of Parliamentary authority and the foundation of the Church of England. Both examined units of the A-Level draw on knowledge from KS3 and GCSE, but encourage students to look deeper into these issues, setting them in a bigger context and timeframe.

    For the Cold War, this involves broadening the picture to consider conflicts not only in Europe and Asia, but also in Africa and Southern America. Analytical skills are developed as students draw parallels between the different theatres of conflict and attitudes towards the ‘other side’. This is enhanced by a deeper and more powerful use of sources; looking carefully at the tone and audience to explain why each side was suspicious of the other, and how efforts to come together and alleviate conflict were dashed. For the Tudors, students assess the key debates by examining the historiography. This develops their knowledge of the process of writing history, strengthens their analysis of historian’s arguments and encourages them to think about the range of things which could affect what or how a historian writes.

    These analytical skills are brought together and showcased by the NEA, a piece of historical research which allows students to run their own investigation into the Civil Rights movement in America. Students are supported and guided, but this work is largely completed independently, giving an insight into higher academic study and allowing students to understand what university will expect of them. The NEA fosters independence and resilience as students find that they need to reassess their original arguments based on the source evidence they uncover.

    At A-Level, we have high expectations of our pupils. We utilise department expertise to ensure that students have every opportunity to succeed, through developing their questioning, analytical and note-taking skills. Students are expected to read widely around the A-Level course, with some guidance and support from staff to show them how their reading enhances their knowledge of the course and the analytical skills they are honing. At A-Level we want to create Historians who are confident in their knowledge and skills, who can see the relevance of key developments in History and have the skills to undertake independent research. This ensures that our pupils leave us with the ability to understand and participate in the world they occupy, to engage in debates with respect and tolerance, and to challenge unsupported or poorly constructed claims with clear, well considered arguments.

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