The St Martin’s Ampleforth History syllabus is designed to give our children a love for the subject, encouraging them to want to learn more and to develop their skills to achieve success throughout their time in the school, as well as at Common Entrance, GCSE and beyond. This provides the children with an excellent foundation to continue their studies at Ampleforth College. As they move on to the College, our children should expect to have developed an awareness of the past that is different, to appreciate continuity and change, to be able to discuss the past with realism and imagination and to be aware of the historical origins of modern political and social situations.
To achieve this, our children hope to develop a range of skills, including communication, research, analysis and evaluation. Access to these skills are obtained through various activities; narratives, assessment for learning activities, drama, visits to local historical sites and the use of a variety of source materials, ranging from historical artefacts to text book materials to the Internet. The development of the children’s skills is closely linked to the children’s progress in other subjects, especially in literacy.
From Nursery to Year 2 the syllabus follows the National Curriculum as outlined by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 1998. Key Stage 1 is taught through a creative, topic based curriculum. In Years 3, 4 and 5 much of the syllabus is drawn from the National Curriculum, although individual teachers have the independence to select their own topics, depending on the teacher’s particular interests and expertise. From Nursery to Year 5 the children are taught by their class teacher.
Year 6 children have the opportunity to study a number of well known and popular events and characters, such as Lord Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar, while the children in Years 7 and 8 cover the Common Entrance syllabus, ‘The Making of the UK,’ focusing on the Tudor and Stuart periods. The more able pupils extend their CE studies by preparing for the Common Academic Scholarship. Teaching from Years 6 to 8 is by specialist History teachers.
The St Martin’s Ampleforth History Department enhances the learning of our gifted and talented children through the organisation of talks and discussions from visiting historians. Recently we have had the pleasure of visits from Fr Leo Chamberlain, former Headmaster and Head of History at Ampleforth College, and from Richard Ansell, former pupil and Oxford graduate.
The St Martin’s Ampleforth History Department enjoys a good working relationship with the History Department at Ampleforth College. An inter-departmental review of syllabuses, policies and teaching practices is held annually, and College staff provide talks and seminars to our children, including a pre-Common Entrance workshop from the College’s Head of History. St Martin’s Ampleforth provides a team for the College Inter-house Junior History Quiz.