History is more than just a list of dates and events to be learned for tests and exams. History at Brambletye attempts to take the pupils beyond the textbooks and puts at its core real, human experience. While it remains essential to acquire factual knowledge of the various topics covered, they are meaningless without working on proper understanding of the information. Knowing that the battle of Hastings was fought on 14th October 1066 is of limited value if there is no understanding of why it is important in the first place!

The subject covers a broad range of topics from the Stone Age up to the Victorian age, with scope for independent research in the later years to undertake an independent enquiry of the pupils’ choosing. The course also focuses on the various skills that can be developed through the study of the subject. They are:

  • chronological understanding: what happened when and in what order, and how one set of events is linked to other events before and after historical interpretation: recognising that the past is reported and can be interpreted in different ways
  • historical enquiry: developing question asking and research skills through independent and group study, and using an array of different sources
  • critical thinking: to develop open-mindedness and the ability to process and interpret data.

Most importantly of all however is to nurture inherent enjoyment, curiosity and intelligent enquiry regarding our study of the past.

In Year 3 pupils are taught about the period from the Stone Age to the Romans in Britain, as well as topics on the Egyptians and the Greeks. This work is supplemented in Classical Civilisation lessons. Year 4 then starts at the other end of the British History Timeline and works backwards over the year starting with why we have Remembrance Day, back through the Victorians and what life was like for children growing up during the period before finishing with pre-Norman England. This lays the foundations for the chronological narrative that starts in Year 5 with 1066. From Year 5 onwards key topics are selected to enquire about the various clashes between crown and religion (and how they shaped our country) before picking up the concept of forging a United Kingdom. This is intertwined in Year 7 with studies of each of Brambletye’s four House leaders; Drake, Marlborough, Nelson and Wellington. Year 8 is dedicated to Common Entrance and Scholarship preparation with topics set by the ISEB worked on in the build-up to June exams.

Pupils have two periods of History per week in Years 3 – 6, increasing to three in Year 7 and 8. A range of historical outings takes place during the academic year which change based on the topics being covered. They all aim to make the most of the outstanding array of historical sites available in Sussex and are a key tool to make the subject more accessible and ‘real’.

Rory Parker
Head of History