OSSMA historians are explorers of the past and trailblazers of the future.
History at OSSMA:
Provides students with a broad range of historical knowledge and understanding, including a sense of chronological development over time discovering their place in the time and space, and an appreciation of the people, culture, events and attitudes of societies other than their own.
Gives students power over their own knowledge allowing them to evaluate critically the significance and usefulness of a large body of material, including evidence from contemporary sources and interpretations of historians; encouraging curiosity, fascination and a drama of the past, learning the mistakes of the past and providing them with transferable skills for future life.
Enables students to engage directly with questions and present independent opinions about them in arguments that are well-written, clearly expressed, coherently organized and effectively supported by relevant evidence, through regular opportunities for guided and structured extended writing.
Encourages students to come together as a community to commemorate key historical events, such as Remembrance Day, Holocaust Memorial Day and VE Day. This is equally important in shaping the citizens of the future, by giving students an opportunity to consider why we commemorate certain events and what we can do to prevent future injustice.
What sets us apart:
We are incredibly proud of the curriculum we offer our students.
It is a representative curriculum, where all students should be able to feel that we are teaching their history, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, class or other factors. We aim to tell a realistic story of the past. For example, when studying Victorian Britain we focus on ‘The Five,’ the women who were traditionally classed as victims of the Ripper, as if their own individual stories are unimportant. We feel it is important to give a voice to those who have often been overlooked in a more traditional history curriculum.
We go beyond the National Curriculum, ensuring students have access to recent historical scholarship and encouraging students to broaden their horizons. We do this through the ‘Digging Deeper’ resources and the use of a virtual library to pinpoint key resources for further research, as well as through our ‘Meanwhile Elsewhere’ projects that encourage students to look at what was happening in other parts of the work during the time period we are studying. For example, when studying English medieval monarchs in class they are encouraged to research Genghis Khan ruling the Mongol Empire at home. This both challenges our students and gives them a contextual understanding of world history so that they can make links and comparisons.
Our young historians are encouraged to articulate their learning, growing in confidence and resilience as they use oracy in the classroom, through policies such as our ‘Lead Learner’ starters.
We also teach our curriculum through ‘big questions’ to help make sense of the story of the past. In each block, student's work towards an extended piece of writing that allows them to synthesise the knowledge they have gained as they answer these ‘big questions’.
Our young historians are encouraged to participate in an Extra Credit Project, where they can take an aspect of a topic studied in class and look at it from a different perspective, allowing them to explore their own creativity as to how they present their findings. In addition, work has to be academically referenced with a bibliography, setting students up with the habits they will need as they progress to further and higher education.
We believe history should be experienced through visits and visitors. Every year we visit places linked to our curriculum, such as the slavery museum in Liverpool and the World War One Battlefields. We are currently adding new visits for next year.
During remote learning, we have continued to promote our ethos of History being a living subject, by organising experiences for the students in place of our usual visits. We have spoken to Holocaust survivors via Zoom, we have “visited” Parliament for a virtual tour with their education department and we have participated in a live workshop from within Windsor Castle, to learn the history of both the castle and the wider Middle Ages. We organised and coordinated events for VE Day, we incorporated the recent Black Lives Matter campaign into our work to ensure students had relevant background knowledge of Civil Rights history, and we participated in the engagement activities to help with the morale of our students when we couldn’t be together in school.
We also won the “Most Inspirational Subject’ competition, voted for by the community!
In each year group, students study
Women through time
African Kingdoms and impact of slavery
Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War
USA in the 20th Century
Russia in the 20th Century
World War One
World War Two
Migration through time
Germany before World War One
Germany after World War One
The rise of the Nazis
Life in Nazi Germany
Power and the People: The Middle Ages, Challenging Feudalism
Power and the People: The Early Modern Period, Challenging Royal Authority
Power and the People: The 19th Century, Reform and Reformers
Power and the People: The 20th Century, Equal Rights