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KS4 Humanities

Subject statement

Learning Humanities is important for Burnside Secondary because this helps us understand others through their languages, histories, cultures and areas of natural beauty.

Humanities helps us to foster social justice and equality in our pupils and therefore links closely to our lessons in SMSC

We also learn how people have tried to make moral, spiritual and intellectual sense of the world, through exploring key figures and events in History.

Humanities teaches our pupils at Burnside empathy, with opportunities to see things through other pupils eyes. We attempt work critically and logically with subjective and sometimes complex information. We encourage our pupils at Burnside Secondary to reflect upon their learning.

Humanities allow us the opportunity to weigh evidence skeptically and consider more than one side of every question. This again is an important life skill we teach pupils at Burnside and is further reflected in SMSC lessons.

Humanities pupils build skills in writing and critical reading and during every lesson we pay attention to language, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Humanities encourage us to think creatively and teach us to reason about being human and to ask questions about our world.

Humanities develop informed and critical citizens. Without the humanities, democracy could not flourish. This is turn provides an excellent chance to learn and reflect upon British values.

With recent topical events surrounding Black Lives Matter (BLM), we will spend time focusing on Empire, the establishment of colonies and slavery, to help our pupils learn from mistakes that have been made in the past and how future generations can learn from these.

Course Outline

Students gain skills in using various forms of evidence, both primary and secondary and are able to use these make inferences and judgments about historical events. Pupils will learn how critical historical decisions influenced and changed lives, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Pupils will also learn how historical events helped to shape the political structure of a country and its identity. Importantly pupils studying this course will be asked how certain historical events have created a legacy and shaped their lives. Where possible we will study the local context (Waltham Forest and London) to increase relevance.

Geography studied for one term, will focus mainly on Human elements, exploring how phenomena such as migration, urbanisation and de-forestation affect lives either positively or negatively. We then take time to compare and contrast within a local context. Pupils will be actively encouraged to learn about people, traditions and cultures within different countries.

Class 4 / Class 5

Autumn 1

  • Events Leading to World War One
  • World War One

Autumn 2

  • The Interwar Years
  • Events Leading to World War Two

Spring 1

  • The British Empire
  • Colonial Rule
  • Impact upon Modern Britain

Spring 2

  • Jewish Life Before the Rise of the Nazis in Germany
  • The Persecution of the Jews (Holocaust)

Summer 1

  • The European Union
  • Britain’s Changing Relationship with Europe

Summer 2

  • Understanding Population Globally – Focus on China
  • Chinese Population Control and Forecasts
Assessment and feedback

All students are given a base-line assessment in English on Entry. This will help the Humanities department to produce more individualised programs of study taking into consideration their competency in literacy.  Each lesson will involve question and answer sessions to make dynamic formative assessments in addition to marking being undertaken after each lesson. It is absolutely imperative that you actively encourage your son/daughter to engage in dialogue with the class teacher and respond to comments made.

Formative Assessments

Guidance advice and next steps marking. Pupils are encouraged to respond using a purple pen after each lesson

Summative Assessments –

End of topic test (5-10 questions).

Other forms of  Assessment  include:
  • Role Play
  • Starter questions
  • Plenaries
  • Peer marking
Student weekly outcome sheet:
  • Differentiated target based questions
  • Target setting
  • Weekly learning objectives  
How parents/carers can help:
  • Encourage your son/daughter to watch documentaries and history/geography channels on TV
  • Where possible visit places on historical and geographical interest in London. These are often easily accessible and free of charge
  • Support school trips to places of history
  • Encourage a curiosity in history and the world around them.
Links to online resources: