The History Department

'Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.'
- George Santayana

The statement above should be one of the key guiding principles for any secondary school history course. It ensures that our starting point is always our society today and that the focus is always on developing an understanding of the forces that have shaped it. The history department at Humphry Davy, whilst following a roughly chronological approach, has developed a number of key themes which run through the two years of the KS3 course which we hope address this key issue.

The challenges facing monarchs, for example, is traced from the Norman Conquest to the Terrible Tudors and Slimy Stuarts! We also consider other themes such as living and working conditions and the changing nature of warfare which are followed through the two years of the history course.

 Year 7s recreate the Battle of Hastings on the school field!

Whilst covering these large sweeps of history we also drill down to cover certain key topics in depth, such as the Slave Trade in year 8, which creates the opportunity for more detailed study.

In addition, developing key historical skills is a vital element of a successful KS3 course. Skills such as effective research, interpretation, and extended writing are all promoted through the two years. Local history also plays a vital part in our curriculum, particularly in Year 7 when Cornwall’s central position in Britain’s Industrial Revolution is considered.

History at KS4 builds upon many of the key events introduced in Year 9.  We study the AQA syllabus and topics include a detailed study of Germany from 1890 – 1945, including key issues such as the rise of Hitler and his impact on Germany and the wider world.  Tensions between the world wars are investigated as part of the ‘Conflict and Tension, 1918-1939’ unit.  There is also an emphasis on British history and pupils study Elizabethan England, including an investigation of the historic environment.  A look at the development of medicine and public health from c.1000 to the present day is the thematic element of the new GCSE.

Anyone interested in understanding the actions of the past and how they have shaped the present will enjoy studying History.  Above all, it encourages our students to develop critical thinking skills and helps them to better understand some of the challenges facing the modern world.

‘Not to know what happened in former times is to continue always a child.’
Cicero, philosopher and politician (106 BC - 43 BC)