Secondary > Humanities

Humanities at The Bemrose School

Insights into Everything

Through expolration of the humanities we learn how to think creatively and critically, to reason, and to ask questions.  These skills allow us to gain new insights into everything from the rise of Hitler to dark Geography across the world, studying crime in society and why some religions are marginalised.

Understanding our World

Research into the human experience adds to our knowledge about our world.  Through the work of humanities subjects, we learn about the values of different cultures, about the climate of the world we are living, about how history is made.  At the core, Humanties allows us to understand the world we live in, and gives us tools to imagine the future.

Bringing Clarity to the Future

Humanities subjects provide the ideal foundation for exploring and understanding the human experience and the world we live in. Investigating a branch of philosophy might get you thinking about ethical questions. Learning geographical skills might help you gain an appreciation for the similarities in different cultures. Contemplating class systems allow you to understand political decisions. Reading a book from another region of the world, might help you think about the meaning of democracy. Listening to a history course might help you better understand the past, while at the same time offer you a clearer picture of the future.

Humanities Vision

Who We Are

  • Historians / Geographers / Philosophers and Sociologists
  • Passionate – we love our subject
  • Reflective – we make positive relationships with our pupils
  • Firm & fair – we have high expectations of everyone and will enforce them
  • Consistent – we treat all pupils the same
  • Adaptable – We change how we teach based on who we are teaching

How We Teach

  • High Expectations, High Challenge, No gimmicks, No Shortcuts
  • Uniformity – All pupils will get the same deal
  • Make skills obvious – we demonstrate what skills are being developed
  • Stick-ability – constant revising knowledge to aid retention
  • Exam skills – focussed on the ability to perform in the exam
  • Assessment – is regular and moderated
  • Tailored – to the individual pupils
  • Variety – A variety of approaches and activities are used


To pupils – through verbal, written and summative feedback
To parents – where necessary; phone calls, emails, Target Setting Days
From pupils – to inform planning and to quality assure t&l
Regular – a constant cycle of feedback

How We support

Know your classes – PP, SEN, WMB, HAP’s, MAP’s and LAP’s
• Choose your first 5 – make them a priority in your lessons
Use other staff – collaborate with colleagues to support pupils
• Intervention with Impact – closely targeted with measurable outcomes
Life chances – our children deserve it!

Humanities Staff

  • Mrs K Colburn-Hayes: Learning Director of Humanities
  • Mrs D Goulding: 2nd in Humanities – Sociology
  • Mrs K Barlow: 2nd in Humanities – History
  • Mr P Allen: Head of Geography & Topic
  • Mrs C Byrne: 2nd in Humanities – RE
  • Mr M Denison: Assistant Headteacher & Teacher of Humanities
  • Mr R Horner: Pupil Progress Lead & Teacher of Humanities
  • Ms A Kearney: SENCO & Teacher of Humanities
  • Mr K Picken: Teacher of Humanities
  • Miss M Selby: Teacher of Humanities
  • Miss B Tribbensee: Teacher of Humanities
  • Miss E Gibert: EAL Teacher

Humanities Course Outline



Year 9

World War One Memorial Trip – Belgium and France

Year 10

World War One Memorial Trip – Belgium and France

Thackeray Museum

KS3 – Year 7

In Year 7, students will start the year by focussing on historical skills and applying them to knowledge of Britain pre-1066. This involves looking at source analysis, inference and chronology. Students then develop their knowledge of Medieval Britain by looking at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror and the feudal system. Students will continue to develop the skills learned at the start of the year by focussing on the Tudors, Elizabethan England and the Spanish Armada. The focus is to develop the students extended writing skills whilst evolving explanations, using evidence to support points as well as awareness of this history of Britain.

KS3 – Year 8

In Year 8, students will start a yearlong journey looking at the development of world trade by starting with the Transatlantic Slave trade. They will develop their source analysis skills, empathetic writing skills as well as their knowledge of how and why the slave trade happened. This will then link to the British Empire, how it was gained and the effects of the empire on today’s world. This will be followed by the Industrial Revolution in Britain and how trade within the Empire and beyond helped Britain, with a focus on Derby, to become a world leader. We will also look at famous Derby icons throughout history and their impact on the world. We are also introducing a topic on the Fight for Civil Rights to finish off the year focussing on key people within America who helped gain Civil Rights, key events leading to equality and bringing the lessons to focus on issues today regarding equality and race within America.

KS3 – Year 9

In Year 9, students will study Britain and Europe from 1914 to present day with a focus on the events since World War One. The students will look at weapons, injuries and developments through World War One and focus on source work (pictures and texts) to develop their understanding. The focus will then shift to Hitler’s rise to power, the changes and key events in Europe that allowed this to happen. Year 9 students will then look at key events of World War Two and the impact on Europe and the wider world. Students will also do a half term focussing on Roma and Indian experiences of the war and the effect on their communities. This is closely followed by an in-depth study into the Holocaust, it with a focus on empathy and why we remember these events.

KS4 – Year 10 and 11

GCSE students will study the following topics:

  • Early Elizabethan England 1558-1588
  • American West 1835-1895
  • Medicine Through Time 1250-Present
  • The British sector of the Western Front 1914-1918: injuries, treatment and the trenches
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–39

They will sit three individual exams for GCSE History, which will cover all five topics. The students will be asked to display their skills of source analysis, explanation and knowledge and understanding. Key skills the students will need to develop are:

  • Causation – to be able to explain how something happened
  • Impact – to be able to explain what the outcome was of an event or discovery
  • Chronology – to be able to identify key events and link them to each other
  • Balancing an argument – identifying strengths and weaknesses in information
  • Concise writing – to be able to make clear points and support them with evidence


“Geography is the subject that holds the key to our future” – Michael Palin

KS3 – Year 7

In Year 7, students will start the year by focussing on geographical skills, thinking about geography as a subject, our place in the world and using basic mapskills. This involves using world maps and OS maps of the local area. Students then develop their knowledge of weather and climate, thinking about how the weather affects us, how we measure the weather, weather around the world and the weather in Britain.  Students then complete a module on Globalisation and TNCS, exploring topics such as child labour and investigating the role major TNC’s play in globalisation. A module on Brazil is an in depth study of a country, looking at physical aspects such as climate, landscapes and rainforests contrasting this with how people live in cities. Finally, students will study extreme environments, building on their understanding of Biomes to explore Arctic/Polar regions and deserts.

KS3 – Year 8

In Year 8, students will start a yearlong journey looking at the Extreme weather, building on the weather module in year 7 by looking at case studies of hurricanes and cyclones from a HIC and an LIC the effects and responses.   Impossible Places introduces the idea of sustainability with a focus on the water problem in Las Vegas and sustainable engineering in Dubai. Restless Earth introduces the earths layers and plate tectonics. Students will examine a range of case studies of earthquakes and volcanoes looking at cause, effect and response.  The country study in year 8 is an in depth look at Kenya, examining human and physical aspects of the country, including a focus on the Maasai Tribe. Following this is a module on Coasts. Looking at processes and landforms that shape Britain’s coastline and how these areas can be managed. Finally students will look at Megacities. Examining why people live where they do, why people migrate (push and pull factors) with an in depth study of the Dharavi slum in India.

KS3 – Year 9

In Year 9, students will study The Physical Environment looking at Rivers, including the water cycle, long profiles of rivers, fluvial processes and landforms. Students then develop their knowledge of sustainability and global issues, looking at the water, food and plastic problem. Dark Geographies is the study of crime in the local area, the darkside of tourism and the darkside of fashion. A country study follows looking at China. Students will discover the physical and human elements of China, looking at the effects of the one child policy. Students then complete an extensive module on biomes and ecosystems revisiting in depth rainforests and deserts. Finally year 9 examine climate change. They will look at cause, effect and solutions including mitigation and adaptation.

KS4 – Year 10 and 11

Students study the AQA Geography specification. The specification enables a variety of teaching and learning approaches. It is an exciting and relevant course that studies geography in a balanced framework of physical and human themes and investigates the link between them. Students explore case studies in the UK, high income countries, newly emerhing economies and low income countries. Topics of study include climate change, poverty, deprivation, global shifts in economic power and the challenge of sustainable resource use. Students are encouraged to understand their role in society, by considering different viewpoints, values and attitudes.

Religious Education

In RE we hope to teach from religion rather than teach about religion. Many of our lessons involve philosophical discussions on the nature of the world and human beings. We seek to explore the world and our place in it. Students will also be taught the important skill of representing a diversity of viewpoints with evidence to support those ideas. We feel it is important for students to understand and respect ideas, including those that are not their own.


Year 8 – Faith Trail, Derby

Year 9 – Holocaust Memorial, Nottinghamshire

Year 11 – Cathedral Visit, Derby

KS3 – Year 7

In Year 7, students will study RE through Topic. They will explore creation stories, conflict, rights and responsibilities and stewardship.

KS3 – Year 8

In Year 8, students will alternate lessons with PSHE each half term, with three lessons per fortnight. In the first half term they will look at the Christian “Big Story” making links with other Abrahamic religions including Islam. They will then explore religious attitudes towards charity and helping others through the “Children of Calais” unit. Here we look at the story of lone child refugees homeless in Calais and the responses of people of faith to their plight. Finally, we look at worship around the world.

KS3 – Year 9

In Year 9, students will also alternate lessons with PSHE each half term, with three lessons per fortnight. They will also begin preparation for the GCSE course. They will study Relationships, including family, marriage and divorce and Good and Evil, looking at forgiveness and different religious and non-religious attitudes towards forgiveness.

KS4 – Year 10 and 11

GCSE students will study the following topics:

  • Life and Death – including sanctity of life, creation, abortion, euthanasia and the afterlife.
  • Good and Evil – with Theodicy, suffering and the religious response to suffering
  • Human Rights – with examples from history and the present.
  • Christianity – belief and practice
  • Islam – belief and practice.

They will sit three individual exams for GCSE RE, which will cover all five topics. The students will be asked to display their skills of analysis, evaluation and knowledge and understanding of how belief affects practice.

Paper 1: Religious, Philosophical and Ethical Studies in the Modern World written examination: 2 hours 50% of qualification

Paper 2: Study of Christianity Written examination: 1 hour 25% of qualification

Paper 3: Study of a World Faith – Islam Written examination: 1 hour 25% of qualification


Year 10 sociology

Students study three units across year 10. Families and households, examines how families have changed over time. The sociological theory behind the changing nature of the family. Theorists include Marxism, functionalism and feminism. Alongside families and households, students study research methods and the different research techniques. Both Quantative and qualitative as well primary and secondary data. Students are encouraged to design their own research project and discuss the ethical considerations with conducting research.

Students also study the education system and how the education system influences, social class, ethnicity and gender. We look at the role of education and government policies that have improved schooling. Again, students will look at the sociological perspectives of Marxists, functionalists, feminists and New Right. Students are encouraged to develop both analytical and evaluative skills.

Year 11 sociology

Year 11 sociology focusses on crime, deviance, and social inequality. Students investigate the relationships between social class, gender and ethnicity. They are encouraged to critically evaluate the crime statistics and investigate patterns of crime and the effects of crime on the community. Students study the patterns of crime and how social class, gender and ethnicity all play a role.

Social stratification focusses upon the inequalities within society, the inequalities related to social class, ethnicity and gender. The structure of society and whether or not society is a meritocracy. Students are encouraged to develop a knowledge of the world around them and the differences between people and communities.

A-level sociology

A-level sociology remains a popular subject with good outcomes at sixth form. Students study six units of work. Education, Family, Mass Media, Crime and Deviance, Research Methods and Sociological theory. Students are encouraged to think analytically and develop a critical knowledge of sociological theory. Students study the classics of Marxism, Feminism and Functionalism as well as post modernism, New Right and left and right realism.