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The Curriculum


The Curriculum Intention

‘A curriculum exists to change the pupil, to give the pupil new power. One acid test for a curriculum is whether it enables even low-attaining or disadvantaged pupils to clamber in to the discourse and practices of educated people, so that they gain the powers of the powerful’ – Christine Counsell (2019)

 The Lawnswood History curriculum has been designed to deliver a high-quality history education, helping pupils to gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It aims to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past through a narrative of knowledge, skills and understanding. Our curriculum is a coherent, broadly chronological narrative. We think it important that we look at how individuals have shaped the wider world we live in, and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by that wider world. Students learn skills to make connections, draw contrasts and write their own structured accounts such as written narratives and analyses. The History curriculum across KS3, 4 and 5 equips pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History at Lawnswood helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

The Lawnswood History curriculum aims to ensure all pupils:

  • know and understand the history of Britain as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
  • know and understand some significant aspects of the history of the wider world
  • gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
  • understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
  • understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
  • gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

The Implementation; how the Lawnswood Links are addressed

The Impact – Assessment Practice

Key Stage 3 Assessment Rationale

History Department

How progress is tracked

Assessment approach linked to KS4 assessment criteria across Y7-11. GCSE content and criteria (although aspects of this are being adjusted in response to exam board guidance continually) are used to inform assessments, modelling, teacher feedback and follow up.

Y7-9 assessments have updated and revised on a rolling programme to reflect new GCSE. Although not directly GCSE questions, the approach and terminology of the assessments is designed to scaffold understanding of assessment needs, preparing pupils to achieve their potential in high stakes written exams at the end of KS4.

Learning Journey/Swirls have been revised and reviewed to reflect GCSE assessment criteria, whilst avoiding direct assessment ‘training’.


How progress is tracked:

In Y7 CATs scores are recorded in books. Y7 Baseline assessment is also recorded. Teachers have been given the GCSE predicted grades which have been derived from their CATs tests and FFT.

Across KS3, at the end of each learning journey, key assessments are recorded in books on PINS sheets.


Success criteria based on GCSE assessment objectives:

AO1. Recognise themes/change/continuity over time (35% at GCSE)

AO2. Explain reasons for/results of events and differentiate between them (35% at GCSE)

AO3. Analyse sources – particularly utility/reliability, cross referencing, using knowledge to “test” sources (15% at GCSE)

AO4. Assess historical interpretations  (15% at GCSE)

(AO5. Accurately select information)

(AO6. Accurately use topic-specific language/SPaG)

Key assessments are recorded on department tracker as mark/score and D/M/E for significant tasks.


Screenshot from the tracker to exemplify


How Developing/Meeting/Exceeding is determined

Agreed common assessment tasks are undertaken across the department.

Agreed mark schemes (currently being revised/matched to GCSE assessment objectives) are used and standardisation takes place on key tasks. Results are logged on trackers at department review points and feed in to DC points.

CATs and KS2 profiles (along with target GCSE levels) are used to determine D, M, E. Professional judgement is used on progress towards target (from starting point) over time and on specific tasks. Expected levels are based on whole department guidance and discussion. The new 1-9 grading adds some challenges for matching outcomes against KS4, but the department contains two experience GCSE examiners and a wealth of good practice.


How knowledge, skills and application is assessed

The KNOWLEDGE aspect of reporting at DC1, 2 and 3 has been based on an appropriate showing of key knowledge (against ability level). An emphasis on revision (techniques) developing to prepare for KS4.

The SKILLS aspect of reporting is based on key (and second order) concepts (key skills are revisited throughout KS3) with an increasing emphasis on sources and interpretations in Y8-9, in line with GCSE.

APPLICATION is based on pupils’ ability to produce work of expected standard with limited or no help/support/scaffolding (as appropriate). This has led to many pupils being judged as ‘developing’ for this aspect of assessment/reporting in Y7. It is hoped that as pupils become more independent in their learning, they will find this aspect of assessment more accessible. It must be added, that often, too many of our learners (of all abilities) lack confidence and the independent work skills necessary to show their knowledge and skills.


How students  are stretched and challenged

The focus of all assessment tasks and preparation is independent learning and thinking. Pupils work independently on assessments, often in exam conditions. Differentiated materials are used, where appropriate, for preparation. This enables pupils to be challenged to access the highest levels available in assessments. Assessments are all based on GCSE tasks and are therefore challenging by their style and wording. Scaffolding and structure are withdrawn across the Key Stage depending on ability.

Grouping, teacher support and questioning, and extension tasks are used to develop and challenge pupils. There is a focus on second order concepts and challenge throughout.


How intervention is provided to Developing students

Pupils’ assessed work is PINS marked. This is reviewed and green pen follow up work undertaken. Work is improved in class and staff focus on Developing pupils to test their understanding. This informs intervention in subsequent lessons/tasks, especially when a pattern is seen (rather than single pieces of work which may be down to misunderstanding/technique/absence etc.). From pupil voice, it is clear that pupils understand concept of expectations for their level of ability and focus on D, M, E outcome rather than just score/mark. Discussion takes place in class and follow up tasks are set. department meetings/briefings, Developing pupils are frequently discussed. At DC1, 2 and 3 reviews take place and intervention plans are developed where possible.