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Our learning

Department Vision and Priorities

For us, “History Matters!” Our vision is to equip every student with an understanding of the past - in order to inform their knowledge of the society in which they are growing up and therefore enable them to contribute as responsible citizens.

Pupil progress is at the heart of what we do in the History department. Our aim is therefore to develop the quality of teaching to improve rates of progress, allowing potential high achievers to excel whilst ensuring that each individual reaches their potential in the subject. Developing literacy is a key component of success in History so pupils are encouraged to read widely and there is an emphasis from the outset on clear, formal written and oral communication.

In their learning, students are regularly challenged to consider why we study history and how what they are learning is related to making sense of the society we live in. Rights and responsibilities are promoted with reference to specific curriculum content areas, particularly those related to citizenship. History is being chosen by an increasing number of the KS4 pupils (currently over 35%) as an option to be taken for GCSE; these pupils reflect the full range of the schools’ community. We expect the number of pupils choosing History to continue to rise as it is a Baccalaureate subject and therefore of vital importance for pupils with high aspirations.



History is taught by seven members of staff; Mr Tanner (Teacher in Charge), Ms D Moore, Ms Marks, Ms Saunders, Ms Loveday-Jones, Mr Lack and Ms Adjei



At KS3 pupils should:

  • Extend and deepen their chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history
  • Identify significant events, make connections, draw contrasts and analyse trends within periods and over long arcs of time
  • Use historical terms and concepts in increasingly sophisticated ways
  • Pursue historically valid enquiries and create relevant, structured and evidentially supported accounts in response
  • Understand how different types of historical sources are used rigorously to make historical claims and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed


In Year 7 the following units are included:

  • Invasion and Conquest from Romans to Normans
  • Religion, Rights and Rivalry e.g. Becket, the Crusades
  • The Black Death – causes and consequences
  • Change 1450 – 1550 e.g. The Break with Rome


In Year 8 the following units are included:

Royalty, Religion and Rage including the problems of Elizabeth I

Persecution, Profit and Freedom including slavery, industrial revolution

Empire, War and the East End including causes of WW1, local study -  Newham and WW1


In Year 9 the following units are included:

  • Russia after 1917
  • Germany after 1918 including Treaty of Versailles
  • Rise of the Dictators and the Road to World War 2
  • Aspects of WW2 including the Holocaust
  • The Cold War
  • USA in the 1960s



Curriculum change at KS4 GCSE is imminent so below you can find an outline of the curriculum followed by our current GCSE pupils and the new curriculum for first teaching from September 2016.


Current:  Pupils follow Edexcel History GCSE Specification B (Schools History Project)

  • Development study into 'Crime and Punishments'
  • Source enquiry in 'Protest, Law and Order in the 20th Century'
  • Depth study into 'Life in Germany c. 1919 - 1945'
  • Controlled Assessment on 'The Indian Subcontinent: The Road to Independence 1918 - 1947'
  • Each of the four units of the GCSE is worth 25% of the final marks of the overall qualification


From 2016:  Pupils will follow the new Edexcel History GCSE Specification

  • Crime and Punishment through time c1000 - present
  • Early Elizabethan England 1558 -1588
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 - 39
  • Superpower Relations and the Cold War


Each of the four units of the GCSE will be worth 25% of the final marks of the overall qualification



Marking pupils’ work is the primary method by which teachers monitor the progress of pupils. All work produced either in class or for homework, is marked. The marking of pupils work signals to the pupils that their efforts are valued by the teacher and should improve pupil motivation to make further progress. The History department has a diagnostic marking policy. We aim to give positive comments in appropriate language whilst informing the pupils how they could improve the quality of their work and continue to make progress in the subject. Marking and pupil response is an ongoing element of teacher/pupil dialogue in line with common school policy.


Progress will be shown by referring to four key terms which will show the stage to which a pupil has progressed: Emerging; Progressing; Developing; Deepening. More specific statements relating to key history skills will enable pupils to see what they need to do make further progress.


The History department supports the work of the English department and the National Literacy Strategy, correcting common grammatical mistakes, common spelling errors and particularly the misspelling of historical terms. Teachers use their professional judgement and may be selective in their use of corrections.


The History Department recognises the achievements and efforts of pupils in History through the department's reward scheme where each term pupils can be nominated as History Heroes for outstanding work, effort and/or progress made. Five pupils are then selected from those nominated and named as the History Heroes for that term, being presented with a reward. The reward scheme has proved popular amongst pupils, motivating them in lessons and in completing their homework to a higher standard.



At KS3 pupils are set two Independent Learning Projects each year. They will have two weeks to complete each project. These are substantial pieces of work and at least six hours work should be devoted to the project during the two-week period allocated.


At KS4 homework tasks is set regularly. This will be linked directly to current classwork being undertaken. Revision and the ability to revise independently for assessments and exams are an important feature of the homework programme at KS4.





Cumberland School

Oban Close, London, E13 8SJ



T. 020 7474 0231

F. 020 7511 2510




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