In Key Stage 3 history, your child will study local, British and world history. This will include learning about significant events, people and changes from the recent and more distant past.
Students approach topics from a variety of perspectives, including political, religious, social, cultural, aesthetic, economic, technological and scientific.
In the new curriculum, lessons focus more on themes and the international relevance of historical events.
Pupils show their understanding of what they have learnt by making connections and drawing contrasts between different periods and areas studied, and by using their historical knowledge to analyse the past and explain how it can be represented and interpreted in different ways. They should also learn how different types of historial sources are used to make claims about the past.
Students have to study seven separate areas of history in KS3. These are:
- The development of the Church, state and society in Medieval Britain (1066-1509). This could include the Norman Conquest, Christendom and the Crusades, the struggle between Church and crown, the Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament, English campaigns to conquer Wales and Scotland, feudalism, the Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt, the Hundred Years War, and the War of the Roses.
- The development of the Church, state and society in Britain, 1509-1745. This could include Renaissance and Reformation in Europe, the Elizabethan religious settlement and the conflict with Catholics, first contact with America and India, the causes and events of British civil wars, the Interregnum, including Cromwell, the Restoration, 'Glorious Revolution' and power of Parliament, the Act of Union of 1707, and society, economy and culture across the period.
- Ideas, political power, industry and empire in Britain, 1745-1901. This could include the Enlightenment in Britain and Europe, the British transatlantic slave trade, the Seven Years War and the American War of Independence, the French Revolution, industrial Britain, party politics and social reform, the development of the British empire with an in-depth study (e.g. of India), Ireland and Home Rule, and Darwin's Origin of the Species.
- Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world, 1901-present. This will include the Holocaust. It could also include the Suffragettes, World War 1, the inter-war years, the Great Depression, the Welfare State, Indian independence and the end of empire, social, cultural and technological change, and Britain's place in the world since 1945.
- A local history study. For example, this could be an in-depth study of one of the areas of British history listed above, a study of how local sites reflect national history, or a study of an aspect or site of local history pre-1066.
- A study of an aspect or theme of British history before 1066. This could be the changing nature of political power in Britain, the changing landscape from the Iron Age to the present, a study of an aspect of social history such as migration, or an in-depth study of an historial turning point, such as the Neolithic Revolution.
- At least one study of a significant society or issue in world history and its interconnections with other world developments. For example, Mughal India, China's Qing dynasty, Russian empires, or the USA in the 20th century.
Here are some lessons that have been taught in schools for KS3 history:
- Studying the events leading up to and during the Battle of Hastings, Year 7 pupils use a variety of sources to build up the sequence of events, including an exercise to put twelve extracts from the Bayeux Tapestry in chronological order. Pupils then work in groups to extrapolate the reasons why William was successful and why Harold lost, including the part played by forces outside the control of either man.
- Year 8 pupils analyse popular interpretations of early modern witchcraft. They then use a range of historical sources to describe and explain people's beliefs and attitudes. The class then split up into small groups in order to act out the trial of a local witchcraft case and consider the facts that influenced the outcome.
- A Year 9 class is set the task of answering the question ‘What caused the Russian Revolution?' They are given both written and pictorial sources, which include photographs of Russian peasants, army deserters and a cartoon depicting Rasputin exercising control over the Tsar and Tsarina. The class work in groups to put together a timeline, which is to later aid them with an essay on the causes of the Russian Revolution.
Help your child at home
- Visit museums, art galleries, old castles and other places that could provide a physical link to the past.
- Get them talking to grandparents and elderly neighbours: real life stories provide an emotional link.
- Look out for old artefacts in jumble and car boot sales to kindle their interest.
- Have books and DVDs with a historical theme around the house that they will want to watch willingly without being forced.
Despite all the information you’ll receive from your child's teacher, SATs can still seem baffling. Here are the answers to your key questions.
1.What are SATs for?
SATs help teachers – and you – learn more about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Teachers can compare how well each child is doing with their peers, both in their school and across the country. They can also measure how much each child improves from one Key Stage to another and are used to predict the likelihood of children achieving specific results in their GCSEs.
In addition, headteachers, local authorities and the Department for Education use the results to help identify schools that are struggling and, if a school is doing really well, it can share what it's doing right with other schools.
2.Does my child have to take SATs?
On 14 September 2017 the Department for Education announced that the Y2 SATs will be made non-statutory (so schools will be able to choose whether to adminster them or not) from 2023.
A new baseline assessment for Reception pupils will be introduced and KS2 SATs (in Year 6) will not be affected.
This announcement does not affect children due to sit KS1 SATs before 2023, so if your child was born before 31 August 2015 they will still be tested at the end of Year 2.
3.What do the tests involve?
Children are tested on what they have been learning at school.
At Key Stage 1 (Year 2), your child will take official SATs in readingand maths. They will also be assessed by their teacher (known as the teacher assessment) on speaking and listening, writing and science.
A separate grammar, punctuation and spelling test for KS1 was introduced in 2016, but after the paper was accidentally published in advance on the government's website, the Department for Education said that schools did not have to administer the test. It remained optional in 2017, and is likely to be optional in 2018, although this is yet to be confirmed.
At Key Stage 2 (Year 6), SATs are compulsory and cover English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling, and maths. Other subjects, including writing, speaking and listening and science, are teacher assessed.
Teacher assessment can help to judge children's performance in a subject over a longer period of time. The results of teacher assessment are equally important, as a teacher may feel your child is doing better in a subject as a whole than in the parts of it covered by a test.
4.How will my child be helped to prepare?
Teachers use past papers as practice papers so children can practise the kind of questions they may need to answer in a test environment. This will help your child feel more comfortable with exams. They will also do lots of practice of the skills they need to do well in the test, such as spelling and times tables.
5.So why do SATs seem so stressful?
Some children do become stressed over the tests but they don’t involve a pass or fail, they just reflect how well the child has understood what they're learning at school. The more relaxed you are, the better your child will be able to tackle the test. So don’t make a big thing of it at home.
6.What level should my child achieve in their SATs?
The national standard score for KS1 SATs and KS2 SATs is 100. In 2017, 61 per cent of children reached it in all subjects.
For more details of SATs results in KS1 and KS2 read our parents' guide.
7.When will I know the results?
Individual schools communicate SATs results to parents in different ways, so it is possible that (particularly at KS1) you won't your child's actual SATs scores unless you ask for them.
8.What does all the SATs jargon mean?
Here are some common phrases your child’s teacher might use decoded:
- SATs: Short for Standard Assessment Tests
- National curriculum tests: The real name for SATs, but many people still refer to them as SATs
- Raw score: the number of marks your child gets on the tests
- Scaled score: a converted score that allows overall SATs results to be compared from one year to the next
- National standard: the level that children are expected to reach (set at 100 for both KS1 and KS2 SATs)
- Age-standardised test scores: refers to the system used to inform parents how their child did compared with other children born in the same month