Timelines are used to help pupils visualise how events relate to each other.
History has a privileged position in the Heritage curriculum because so many other subjects need to be understood in relation to the past. A broad historical perspective is also critical for intelligent citizenship and as a foundation for life-long learning.
In our Junior School, each classroom displays a timeline to help pupils visualise how historical events relate to one another. Pictures of historical events are added throughout the year with the idea that, over time, our pupils will develop an increasingly well-textured grasp of different periods of history. Narrative history is used to teach the story of history in chronological order rather than through disconnected bits of knowledge. In a typical lesson, a chapter is read aloud and then pupils narrate orally or in writing what they have just heard.
Pupils in the Preparatory classes are given a broad overview of British history from early man to present day in order to understand how daily lives have changed over time. They are also introduced to the succession of British monarchs and, beginning in Year 2, study in greater depth key historical figures such as Boadicea, William Shakespeare, Samuel Pepys and Captain Scott, to name a few. Junior pupils also keep a Book of Centuries, split into three sections – ancient world, middle ages, modern world – which is then filled up in chronological order with written narrations, maps, and pictures over four years. The Book of Centuries is cross-curricular: entries are made about authors, composers, scientists and artists as well.
In the Senior School, we emphasise both the analysis, interpretation and use of source material and a more analytical approach to answering historical questions. A broadly chronological approach re-starts, with a focus upon the ancient world, the middle ages and the early modern period in Years 7 and 8. From Year 9 pupils study key events and developments in the expansion and end of the British Empire from c.1600 to the C20th. Tensions in Europe, in part the result of competition to develop and expand overseas empires, provides the context for the IGCSE course commencing in the spring term of Year 9.
The IGCSE course focuses upon: the origins and course of WWI 1905 – 1918, the development of dictatorship in Germany between 1918 and 1945, Civil Rights in the USA between 1945 and 1974 and the development of international organisations between 1919 and 2011.
The IGCSE syllabus we use is: Pearson Edexcel International GCSE History (4HI1).
Our youngest pupils learn about different countries around the world through hands on experiences, such as trying on saris and silks from India, grinding up aromatic spices, or dancing to the rhythm of African drums. Parents who have lived in other countries often contribute to such sessions. Map skills are developed, for example, by looking at journeys fictional characters have taken, marking a route on a map of the Botanical Gardens and writing directions to get around the school. Reading stories from the four countries making up Great Britain and identifying key landmarks within Cambridge helps familiarise pupils with their own country. The names of continents and seas are learned through song. Physical land forms, such as the highest mountain and or the longest mountain range, are identified and explored as are, for example, the differences between a pond, a lake and a river.
In our Junior School, we focus in greater depth upon knowledge of capitals, countries, water forms and land forms. We expect pupils to memorise these geography facts, with help from songs where possible. In Year 6, for instance, all the countries of Asia, North America and South America are learned over the course of the three terms. In addition, pupils look at what life is like in the countries and continents they are studying. Travel writing, letters, leaflets, and journal entries all give them an opportunity to engage with different cultures in a personal way.
Pupils studying Geography in the Senior School learn to collect, analyse, present and interpret primary and secondary data. They learn how to use a large variety of maps, how to think critically and analytically, and how to solve problems and be good team players. We cover a wide range of topics from human and physical geography including: river, coastal and hazardous environments; economic activities and energy; ecosystems and rural environments; urban environments; fragile environments; and globalisation and development. Senior Geography pupils also enjoy a number of fieldwork trips to rivers, coasts, farms and cities where they collect and later analyse their data. These are always a lot of fun and are very enriching.
The IGCSE syllabus we follow is: Pearson Edexcel International GCSE Geography (4GE1).
Religious Studies supports the Christian ethos of Heritage School without excluding other philosophies and faiths. The key objective of our Religious Studies curriculum is to encourage our students to think for themselves about life’s biggest questions.
One way this is facilitated is through Bible readings. We think all pupils should be familiar with its main stories and themes, given its historical and cultural significance. Readings of Old and New Testament stories take place most days throughout the school, after which Infant and Junior pupils narrate (tell back) what they have just heard. Christian beliefs, values and history are explored by our Juniors through the reading of a biography of an inspiring Christian each year. In the Senior School the readings are arranged thematically: Year 7 follow the chronology of the Bible, Year 8 the geography, Year 9 the archaeology, Year 10 the morality and Year 11 the theology.
Respecting other beliefs, traditions and ways of life is vital in our multicultural society. In Year 4 pupils begin learning about other monotheistic faiths, first Judaism in Year 4 and then Islam in Year 5. Year 6 pupils learn about the beliefs and practices of Buddhists and Hindus, with an emphasis upon key stories.
In the Senior School, our curriculum is designed around challenging questions which encourage pupils to examine presuppositions and think through what they do and do not believe to be true. Atheism and agnosticism play an important part in our lessons, as do all the major religions represented in Britain.
Year 9 has a more philosophical approach as we begin the IGCSE course. The fluctuating relationship between science and religion is a particular focus. In Year 10 the exam course continues with a shift to ethical questions, looking at the answers given not only by religion but also by a secular society. In Year 11 we come back to important ethical questions that we face in our society – conflict, justice, human rights and various kinds of discrimination.
The IGCSE syllabus we follow is: Pearson Edexcel International GCSE Religious Studies (4RS1).